On my 21st birthday I broke the cup holders in my SUV limo, chased my camera batteries all over the dance floor and made out with one of my brother’s best friends.
Hopefully everyone’s 21st is a night they will remember for the rest of their lives. Whether you took the infamous 21 shots for your 21st birthday, woke up next to a stripper or got wasted with your mom, something a little crazy is bound to happen the night you’re finally legal.
Everyone is familiar with the notorious dare of taking 21 shots. And while the safety of consuming that much alcohol is questionable, it didn’t matter the night senior health professions major Laura Alminde turned 21.
“I took 21 shots of all different stuff on my birthday. I wrote down every shot and who bought it for me on a piece of paper so I could read it the next day, but then I put it in my jeans and washed them so I ruined it,” she said.
Despite her 21 shots and a jumbo jug of jungle juice from Tiki Bob’s, Alminde survived her birthday and is able to share her story today.
Temple alumna and Hahnemann Hospital emergency room doctor Crystal Sauers said that taking 21 shots on your birthday won’t necessarily kill you.
“Everyone’s body breaks down alcohol differently. It will obviously affect some people more than others,” she said.
Regardless of whether or not you actually take 21, excessive alcohol can result in alcohol poisoning.
“Alcohol is a CNS depressant, meaning it affects your central nervous system. It affects the chemical balance in your body and even your vital organs, especially the brain and liver,” Sauers
said. “It can also impair your gag reflex which can lead to suffocation if you choke, which is why you should always put a drunk person to sleep on their side and not on their back.”
“Alcohol also slows down your brain activity, which is why you tend to get tired and pass out,” she said. That’s exactly what happened to Steve Siliani,
a broadcast journalism major, who didn’t even make it to midnight for his birthday because he passed out in the back of a van while his friends continued to party at the bars.
Art education major Nicole Roche passed out while peeing on the sidewalk the night of her 21st.
“I decided I wanted to pee on the sidewalk so my two friends turned around to give me my privacy. When they turned back around I was passed out with my pants down,” Roche said. “Then when they tried to get me in the car I fell and lodged my head between the car and the curb.”
Passing out and alcohol poisoning don’t necessarily constitute a rockin’ 21st, but neither does getting your car window smashed in while you’re still in the car.
Advertising major Alison Fehn was driving around with friends last June after drinking at the bars the night of her 21st.
“We were riding around with the windows down because it was summer. We were probably being extra loud and obnoxious and we noticed there was a car following
us,” Fehn said. They were right – a car was following them, and it was filled with young male delinquents. Passengers of both vehicles exchanged words and soon enough, the verbal altercation turned physical.
“I remember everyone yelling and then the next thing you know, my friend’s back window got smashed in with a bat,” she said.
Fighting, in general, seems commonplace when people have been drinking. For some, an appropriate side order to beer is a few strippers. A Maxi’s bartender and senior broadcasting major at Temple who wishes to be referred to as “Tom Rizzo” got more than he bargained for when he went to a gentlemen’s club the night of his 21st.
“On my 21st we went to Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. Me and five of my friends killed a bottle of Jaeger and probably two cases of beer before heading down to the casino,” Rizzo said. He said he won close to $1,500 that night, and decided to take that money straight to the strip club.
“It was called Bare Exposures. It was really raunchy. It’s one of those places that has like sex shows and stuff,” he said. “It got pretty blurry after that though. God only knows what happened.”
The next thing Rizzo remembers is waking up in a bathtub full of ice with a naked stripper asleep beside him. He was fully clothed, and awoke with a dime bag stuck to his lip. “The stripper was hot. I don’t know what was in the dime bag though, but it wasn’t pot,” Rizzo said. “Blacking out,” in the medical world, is better
known as syncope.
“Syncope is just a change in your level of consciousness due to excessive alcohol. You never exactly lose your memory, you just are in a state of unconsciousness so your mind doesn’t process what is going on,” Sauers said. Senior magazine journalism major Ryan Buchanan blacked out the night of his 21st, and somehow managed to make it to three bars – all of which he was booted from.
“I was at Finnigans for most of the night, but we pre-gamed pretty hard and I was only drinking half Jaeger and half Red Bulls at the bar,” he said. “The bartender gave me a glass of water, which I ended up spiking to the floor and it shattered. Because I had no balance, I fell on top of all the glass and got thrown out. “We went to Tiki Bob’s after that, but I fell on my face the second we walked in so they kicked us out of there, too,” he continued. “And McFadden’s wanted nothing to do with me and my friends, so I was home around midnight.”
When we went to Cavanaugh’s the next night, I kept seeing people who were like ‘There’s that guy from last night,’ and even got a few handshakes,” Buchanan added.
Of course there are the 21st birthday stories that go above and beyond the call of drunkenness.
Christy, a pre-pharmacy major at Temple who asked that her last name not be used, celebrated her 21st in Atlantic City with her best friend. The two stayed at the Caesar’s Hotel.
“We started drinking at Blue Martini and then the Irish Pub. We then went to some scary dance club, and believe me, I don’t dance,” she said. “I stepped on broken glass when I took off my shoes to dance and started screaming that the club was dirty and that I was going to get a disease, so we had to leave before we got beat up,” Christy said. They left the club and took a bicycle cart back to the hotel on the boardwalk.
“When we got back, I licked the guy’s face who rode us back to the hotel,” she said. Christy then went on to lose almost $300 playing blackjack, so being drunk and broke she headed back up to her room where she decided to take a bath – with all her clothes on, including a pair of red suede shoes.
“I guess I was in there a while because my friend came in to check on me and there was red water pouring over the sides of the tub. She thought I hit my head and was bleeding or something. So I got out and went to bed,” she said. The next morning, Christy awoke in a new room and was told by her friend that security had switched their rooms in the middle of the night because of water damage from her bath the night before.
Water spilled onto the floor from the bathtub had ruined her previous hotel room as well as the hotel gift shop below. “There was a sign on the door that said ‘Closed Due to Water Damage,'” she said about the hotel gift shop.
“You’re lucky I didn’t have to buy them a new gift shop,” Carrie’s father said the next morning.
Temple may not have the most studious individuals, but those students definitely know how to party on their 21st birthdays.
Caitlin Murphy can be reached at cmurph33@temple.