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I was born precisely five days before The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered via drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, California. That means that, for just over one month now, I have been 21 years old.
It’s been a fun month.
I have legally purchased the fuck out of some adult beverages, absolutely decimated my checking account, ruined three perfectly good pairs of slim-tapered khakis, and shouted “blackjack, motherfucker!” at one or several bouncers/liquor store clerks.
But – most importantly – I have taken enough time away from this celebratory bender to reflect upon the events of my formative underage years. Specifically, the time that I almost went to jail for using someone else’s fake ID on a police officer. That seems like an appropriate place to start.
Back in the Fall of 2016, I went to visit a good friend of mine at his small liberal arts college in the icy tundra that is upstate New York. A place where the overindulgent consumption of alcoholic refreshments is done more out of necessity than enjoyment. When it’s -20 degrees outside, you have to throw on your liquor jacket.
The incident in question occurred, obviously, on the night of my arrival. After a surprisingly rowdy pregame in the basement of my friend’s fraternity house, he and I decided that it was time to make our way down the street to the bars.
If I had to guess, I’d say that we probably made it a solid 20 yards down the sidewalk before being accosted by a police officer, demanding to see our IDs. I swear this cop just materialized out of the bushes. There’s no way he wasn’t just hiding there, waiting for two drunk idiots to slip up and break some minor laws on their way from frat row to the bars. That’s profiling!
This cop also had braces, which is in no way relevant to the story. I just feel like you should know that he had braces.
Officer Dental Coverage was on us before we had time to conceal our glaringly obvious road sodas. And, due to our possession of these open containers, we were obliged to show him our IDs. There was no pulling the old “Oh, these? We just found them on the sidewalk, officer – are they beers?” trick. I’m honestly still kicking myself for deciding to bring an open road pop on a half-mile walk down the street.
My friend and I had some serious game time decisions to make, and not a lot of functioning brain cells with which to make them.
As we contemplated our next move, the cop (with braces) called for backup, which I still believe was a bit much considering that the crime in question was two drunk frat boys holding one open container each.
My friend immediately handed the officer his real driver’s license, which was clearly the responsible thing to do. The cop saw that he was 19, promptly handcuffed him, forgot to read him his rights, and put him in the back of a squad car.
At this point, I just decided to roll the dice. I reached into my pocket and handed the officer a fake ID which was given to me for temporary usage at the bars by one of my friend’s fraternity brothers named Alejandro. Alejandro is 6’2″, tan as hell, and has luscious mane of thick, black hair. I, on the other hand, am none of those things. I am muy, muy blanco, as Alejandro would say.
Somehow, my contrasting physical appearance didn’t seem to register with the officer. He just called in the number on my borrowed fake, handed it back to me, and said “get rid of that open container, Alejandro.” Leaving me to stand baffled on the sidewalk as my friend was sped off to the station in handcuffs.
The police eventually realized that I had used a fake ID on them, which they were less than pleased about. They grilled my friend pretty hard with questions regarding my real identity. For days after the incident, the police called him on the phone asking where I was and how they could reach me. Fortunately, he didn’t give them anything. What a guy.
I mentioned this incident in passing to an attorney a few months ago. He told me that if I had been caught, I would have been charged with a class D felony. Apparently, cops in New York really don’t play that fake ID shit. He also told me that I probably would have done some “light time.” I’m not kidding, he literally said the phrase “light time,” which is a hilariously casual way of saying “fucking incarcerated.” Anyway, I suppose the lesson here is that you should never use a fake ID on an officer of the law, unless you’re feeling very lucky and he has braces..