Once, just once, I'd like to be asked for ID when buying a pint or walking into a pub. The last time it happened I must have been 20 in the place that used to be called Drumms.
"Can I see some identification, please?"
"I'm sorry, what?" I laughed in his face. Even then, it had been a couple of years since I'd been required to prove my drinkability.
"Some ID. Please."
"Right, eh, here." And that was that. He produced the liquor and I laughed back to the lads, and it hasn't happened since.
It was doubtless a shit encumberance at the time, but I remember the strategems involved in getting served at 14. I'd be told to walk in with Ronan, he was the oldest and I the baby, and Mick and Kev and Austin would follow us.
"Always make sure you're talking to each other when you walk in."
That was a cracker. As though John P. Beast wouldn't stop us for fear of interrupting an extollation of the virtues of Sartre, or 'Gary Speed v Ryan Giggs: Who's Welsher?'
Sometimes it worked. We did nonchalant as well as we could, and for the rest I had the bum fluff masquerading as serious-grown-up-facial-nonsense.
My first pint was in the place that used to be McGraths. It wasn't known as an underage aleing house, that was Fibbers around the corner, but we fluked our way in. It would have been '93, the autumn of grunge, the summer of Euro Pop.
With 'Mr. Vain' blasting above me I tried to affect to myself that of a serious Guinness drinker, hiding the grimace of porter as a yawn, trying to look cool as fuck in my Pearl Jam t-shirt and hiking boots.
There was no great drama. I didn't fall over, fall asleep, fall in love. Instead we just got the bus home and each pretended we were in a library or a church saying devotions.
My kingdom for such subterfuge, now.