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Los Alamos, I said in my head, in the voice of Antonio Banderas. Tomero. Wandering the wine section of my local liquor store, I tarried among the South American reds. Antonio was really starting to sell me on the Punto Final.

I select wine on the basis of three factors. First and foremost, the attractiveness of the label—it should be very attractive. A close second is the variety of grape—anything red, really, because coffee stains aren’t enough—and third, perhaps most importantly, is price—twelve dollars and under. This last point has been a rule since I could drink legally, an Americanized holdover from my time in Germany, where I was told to pay “at least three Euro for a red, at least five Euro for a white, and no more than two Euro for a blush.” In America, I pay at least eight for a red, at least ten for a white, and won’t drink blush even if it’s free.

In the case of wines that I will drink, the differences between an eight-dollar bottle and a twelve-dollar bottle are remarkable—both to the wine connoisseur and the twenty-something, for whom four dollars is a calculable percentage of his net worth.
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Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

Maggie Brown was the last girl I ever dated. We parted ways probably later than we should have in the summer of 2006, she off to college four hundred miles away and I a rising high school senior with a serious but unacknowledged interest in men. Some things end exactly when they need to.

Fewer than fifty days from now, college will end for the class of 2011—admittedly with more ceremony than my inevitable split with Maggie. The senior class will be coaxed across stage, handed a diploma, and shoved into the world with the flip of a tassel and a photo op. With just six weeks left until that Sunday morning, our college experience—capital C, capital E—is dwindling. And we are starting to freak.
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Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

Getting old is tough. In the course of a week, college seniors juggle the daunting adulthood of targeting resumes with the cheek-reddening adolescence of waking up on the floor feeling like a crumpled can of Keystone. The apparent normalcy of making an impassioned philosophical argument at 8 PM and shotgunning beer at 11 is unique to the maturity limbo of college life. Charged with spending well the last of the so-called best years of our lives and preparing for what I suppose is merely the rest (“real life”) leaves us bouncing across a confusing range of behavior.

The inescapable quotation marks bookending “real life” and “the real world” highlight our all-too-acknowledged sense that life on campus somehow isn’t quite real. Surreal. Unreal. Fake. In fake world, “Dylan passed out in the hall” and “I don’t know where Emily went with that guy” are just good stories, and public drunkenness is a prerequisite for most evenings.

At Saturday’s senior event—the primary selling point of which was free beer—I stood by the wall with a few friends, staring grimly at my Busch Light. What am I doing here? Everything from the tired, cop-out “80’s” theme to the attending senior class whimpered, Same old, same old. My sophomoric homunculus confirmed, You’re not drunk enough to enjoy this.
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