The new SAT is the final step in the coddling of America's children, which is ruining society. It started with allowing snowboarders at Vail and continued with the acceptance of ridiculous baggy pants -- the ones with crotches hanging around the knees, making kids look like clown-school rejects or young porn stars -- as well as the subsequent approval of baseball caps worn backward, boy bands, Honda Civics with spoilers and Smirnoff Ice.
Gone are wonderful analogies like "Humorous is to discharge as shoe is to flatulence."
How many hours did we torture individual hair follicles trying to decipher the Martian logic of the College Board? And after our brains were thoroughly short-circuited, we were decimated by even more obscure "word problems." For example: "If two trains are traveling toward each other, one at 70 km/h and the other at 1.5 hectares per milliliter, which one will have the better bar car?"
3242 East Colfax Avenue
But that was what my generation had to suffer through in the hope of gaining admission to a college better than Ottumwa Community College and School of Taxidermy. That single Saturday was a big day for juniors and seniors all over America. We prepared for the SATs with years of mindless exercises during high school classes where we were supposed to study things like algebra and "trigonometry" (which is not a real mathematic discipline, but rather a cult of kids who got their lunch money stolen daily and grew up into adults who never had a date). Despite the importance of Test Day, most of us in fairly rural Minnesota showed up with a death-defying hangover.
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That's because we'd all discovered beer at a young age. And that was because there was nothing else to do if you ruled out eating yellow snow or getting frostbite in the winter, and donating blood to the local mosquito population in the summer. To ward off the insect world, we spent most summer nights drinking, hoping that our blood-alcohol content would reach a level that no mosquito could survive. We'd park a keg or two of cheap beer near a raging bonfire, sell glasses at $3 a head and drink as fast as we could before the cops showed up. Sometimes we would get lucky, and some poor sap's parents would be out of town, and we would invade his house like a horde of Mongols. Ideally, this kid's house would have multiple bedrooms (pubescent teens can turn any gathering into a near-orgy) and a basement loaded with toys like a big TV, a pool table, a pinball machine, a stereo and a well-stocked bar.
So when I walked into Goosetown Tavern (3242 East Colfax Avenue) to knock back a few well-earned Guinnesses after several bottles of free, well-earned wine, I felt like I had walked into one of my high school buddy's basements. The bar had the same smoky air, pool table and Lynyrd Skynyrd soundtrack -- although the Goosetown's beer selection certainly surpassed that of our adolescence. We didn't have quite the discriminating palate back then that we do now. One of the greatest days of my life was when Miller introduced Miller Genuine Draft during my sophomore year in high school; we waited months to taste that wonderful, cold-filtered brew. And thanks to the ingenuity of American marketing, we actually believed it was better. Now, of course, I wouldn't use MGD to strip my skis. And while I'm on this subject (I would have made a perfect score on the alcohol SATs), I want to tell every bar owner and employee of Miller "We Call It Beer" Corporation that you cannot have MGD on tap. The whole premise of MGD was to put the taste of draft High Life (The Champagne of Beers) in a bottle. But if you sell High Life in a bar, then what you pour from the tap is technically Genuine Draft, right? Right? So what the hell are you putting in the mug and calling "draft" Genuine Draft? I think we should all contact Mayor John Hickenlooper (who apparently knows a good beer) and ask that he establish a blue-ribbon commission to answer this question.
Today if you want an alternative to beer that isn't wine or hard liquor, you have to go with something like Zima -- and you can only do that if you're a woman. But it used to be that guys could get away with drinking wine coolers without having their masculinity questioned, particularly if the cooler contained pulp (White Mountain Wine Cooler) or had a cool polar bear for its mascot (Sun Country) or showed commercials with two funny old guys sitting on a porch who were rumored to be Ernest and Julio Gallo (Bartles and Jaymes). To ensure your status in the cool-jock clique, you could partake of these lesser beverages via beer bong. The best one we ever had held a six-pack of beer or a two-liter bottle of Sun Country cooler; the runner-up was made from one of those lawn flamingos.
So if you're one of those guys (or girls) who think that kids today are stupid and snotty and spoiled as hell and you long to return to a simpler time, head to Goosetown. For the full experience, bring your bong.