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Reliving the shame of being carded in New Orleans

Feb 4, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

This week we asked Jelisa Castrodale to choose a team to root for in the Super Bowl. This of course served to do nothing but dredge up memories of unfortunate haircuts, general drunkeness and regret. Sad, really.
By Jelisa Castrodale
So I’m eagerly awaiting this Sunday night, a three-hour block of Coors Light commercials that will be periodically interrupted by a football game. Since my Arizona Cardinals will all be watching from their own couches, I’ll be more concerned with how to get salsa and Cool Ranch stains out of the throw pillows than by which team just ran a reverse. “But who are you pulling for?” everyone asks and — for the first time ever — I’m not sure.
I don’t want to take New Orleans since they left their cleat marks all over the Cardinals, but I’m terrified that if Indianapolis wins, we’ll be subjected to another round of Peyton Manning commercials, sixty second increments I’ll continue to ignore until they involve him slowly speaking the phrase “Ask your doctor about once daily Valtrex.”

This has to get sorted before Sunday, since there’s an unspoken rule that for primetime sporting events you have to pick a team that you’re willing to gesture wildly or overturn the ottoman for. Well, unless it’s a Duke-North Carolina basketball game, and then it’s OK to spend both halves hoping that the earth’s crust opens up and sucks both schools into a magma pit.
As for the Super Bowl, let’s ignore the teams and look at the cities they’re representing in Miami. I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Indianapolis, but I’ve heard that it’s the prettiest shade of grey. I have introduced myself to New Orleans on a couple of occasions and regardless of how bright eyed and well-rested I am when I get there, I always leave looking like a less hepatitis-y Amy Winehouse.
When I was in college, some friends and I made an obligatory Mardi Gras trip, where we learned about the rich traditions of the Lenten season, the jazz-infused history of the French Quarter and also that Winn-Dixie shopping carts will comfortably seat two semi-conscious sophomores. Predictably, we spent our time subsisting on pastel-colored chunks of King Cake and drinking souvenir-sized Hurricanes, the only alcoholic beverage that can give you a hangover and adult-onset diabetes.
For most of the week, I was a 27-year-old Asian woman named Lee Maureen Harvey, at least according to my handmade Wisconsin drivers’ license. Thanks to a university-issued Thinkpad and a pre-Google search for “drivers’ license templates”, my GapKids wallet contained the least-authentic looking fake ID in history, one that even the people at Weekly World News would call bullshit on, right before they went back to their photoshop of John F. Kennedy making out with Mothra.
But it worked! We’d gotten into every club, either because the overworked doormen were too distracted to notice that I’d mistakenly referred to Wisconsin as “The Land of Enchantment” or they were more concerned with the naked guy who was about to do something unspeakable to a parked Miata.
Our trip had gone well — if “consuming enough rum to forget how to read” can be considered well — and shortly before midnight on Fat Tuesday, we were trying to get into one last overstuffed bar on Bourbon Street. My friends had been more than willing to flash some skin for beads and were carrying enough trinkets to buy Manhattan. The two of them — along with their childs’ sized t-shirts — were waved inside without an issue.
I was not.
I had zero beads, an unfortunate haircut and a shirt with a trout on it. It’s not that I was morally opposed to flashing strangers, it’s just that when I peel off my 100% Cotton, I look less like an exotic dancer and more like E.T. Until anyone — ANYONE — utters the phrase “Check out the ribcage on that one!” I’m destined to get carded.
The bouncer grunted and held his hand out. I dropped a slightly damp Lee Maureen Harvey into his palm. He picked it up, scanned my birthdate and ran a finger across its poorly laminated edges before putting it in his shirt pocket “Nope. You need a better ID.”
“No, I need a better printer,” I said. “Please can I go in? I think you’re very handsome.”
He shook his oversized bald head. “Sorry. Next.” I had to step aside as he waved in a pair of girls wearing enough glitter to choke David Bowie.
It was a new low in nineteen years of new lows. Getting busted for underage drinking in New Orleans is like being yelled at for turning up the thermostat in Hell. I stood on the sidewalk for an excruciatingly long time until my friends noticed that I hadn’t made it in. They stumbled outside, downing the last of their red, sticky to-go cups just as the cops started riding in to shut down the party.
So New Orleans confiscated my ID, killed my overpriced buzz and left me beadless, crossing my arms over my concave chest. I think that’s enough to make me a Colts fan for the weekend. Now pass the Doritos, put the Spray N Wash on the table and don’t forget to ask your doctor if Valtrex is right for you.
Jelisa Castrodale is a writer and comedian who has learned a lot about life by making a mess of her own. She chronicles her failures at The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy, covers music for London’s BitchBuzz and twitters while she waits at stoplights. Castrodale was featured in the book Twitter Wit and was named one of Mashable’s 10 Funniest Twitterers.
Also by Jelisa Castrodale

  1. Jim Guida - Feb 4, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    The last time the Superbowl played in New Orleans, I was able to attend. That day, walking down Bourbon Street, I realized I wanted to bring some beads back to my adolescent daughter. So, heeding the cries of “Show us your tits!,” I lowered my shirt to expose my manly moobs. From a balcony across the street came a string of plastic beads, hitting me squarely where the hair would be on my chest, if I had hair or a chest.
    In other words, Jelisa, it seems that, with enough alcohol consumption, I am more of a woman than you are. I’m not proud of it, but there you go. You are still the better writer of the two of us, and I’d change places with you on that score, if I could.

  2. Roger Craig - Sep 26, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    I read this when I got back from LA. I just had to smile. :)