Let's face it: When you're 10 years old, your options for where, when, and how to catch a buzz are pretty much limited to spinning in a circle until you're dizzy or, if you're an aspiring delinquent, maybe jacking a few loose Carlton Ultra Lights from your step dad's glove compartment. Unless of course you're poised to be in state custody, in which case you probably have access to more drugs and alcohol than you should.
That's why I found it completely hilarious to watch three 10 year-old boys, all of whom looked very well cared for and NOT on the verge of being placed into foster care, be denied service for Red Bull spritzers at a local coffee shop near the elementary school in downtown Juneau this afternoon.
One of two teenage girl baristas was about to ring up the boys' order, when the other leaned over and whispered something in her ear. "We're not supposed to sell those to you," the first barista reported back to the tallest and chubbiest of the three. "Okay," he said agreeably. "I'll just get a cookie instead."
"Wait a minute," the ringleader interrupted. I could tell he was not content to accept this verdict and an argument was imminent. The kid was sharply dressed with a snappy haircut and all the swagger of a little Napoleon. I was with my 8 year-old daughter and not looking forward to the example that was clearly about to be set.
"We got them last time," Napoleon protested, referring to the forbidden beverage. "We get them ALL the time. We're just gonna go next door and get them ANYWAY," Napoleon sneered snidely. I could easily imagine this same child, seven years later, having the exact same argument with the proprietor of a liquor store over a six pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade.
"Sorry, it's not my shop. I don't make the rules," the barista replied, rather meekly I thought. If I were her, I would have leaned over the counter and spat menacingly two inches from Napoleon's face: "Do you want me to call your parents you little shit? This is Juneau and you can bet a gallon of that greasy hair product in your wannabe Justin Bieber hair that I know where they live. (Side bar: I don't). Let THEM buy you a fucking Red Bull spritzer! Now piss off!"
But that's not what happened, and this personality flaw is why I'm a lawyer instead of a barista. Better her than me.
"Let me talk to the bald guy," Napoleon demanded, referring to my friend who owns the shop. Several people in line snickered. "Forget it," said the third boy, who up until now had been scowling silently behind the chubby one and Napoleon. "We don't wanna get kicked outta this place!" As he said this, all three headed for the door.
I almost ran after them to point out how stupid it was to worry about getting kicked out when you're leaving anyway, but then I remembered that leaving an establishment before you get kicked out of it is always a pro move.
Man, I'm sure glad I'm not 10 years old anymore and jonesing for a Jolt Cola, the Red Bull of the '80s. But I must confess I'm a little worried about my own son in five years.
That's for damn sure.