Memories of the fake I.D.
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A lot of teens are obsessed with getting a fake I.D. so they can get into bars or buy alcohol for house or dorm parties. Some youngsters go to great extremes to secure an altered form of identification, or to try and pass for a legal drinker even if the I.D. photo -- or the height and weight -- is laughable.
The OnMilwaukee.com staff has been legal for a while now, but not for so long that they forgot what it was like to be underage and willing to bend the law for a case of cheap beer. Here are their stories.
Molly Snyder Edler
I used my roommate's driver license a lot when I was 19 and 20. We looked enough alike in the face that I could pass for her, as long as the bouncer didn't notice that the I.D. stated I was five inches shorter than I really was. Somehow, the fake worked like a charm, and I used it to hang out in North Avenue bars and buy wine coolers at festivals. These days, I do my best to adhere to the law. For the most part, anyway.
I was 19 by the time I got my hands on my first and only fake ID. I couldn't tell you its source, but it was being circulated through my dorm's suite and somehow I was the lucky under-ager who most accurately matched this woman's profile. I've long since forgotten her name, but the physical details of this then 33-year-old Oak Lawn, Ill., resident couldn't have been much further from my own. She was 5'9"; I barely break 5'4". She weighed close to 150 lbs,; I, especially as a teenager, was nowhere close to that. She had brown eyes; mine are stark blue. Our most common feature was our shoulder-length brunette hair, the depiction of which was nearly indecipherable thanks to the severe peeling of the card's old-school laminate.
Nevertheless, the card worked. Briefly. The first place I tried it was at the no-longer-existent Reed Street Station. A friend's band was playing there and I played it calm and cool with the door guy as I attempted to walk in with my of-age companions. He took a long look, first at the card, then at me. He did it again. "I know this isn't you," he said with a straight face. "But I'm gonna let you in anyway."
A few months later I was descending the carpeted stairs to the Landmark Lanes, a place I'd gotten in to on numerous occasions. I handed the guy at the table the ID -- it was before they got those light boxes. But this time he didn't give it back. "I'm confiscating this," he said. "You can go in, but this will be your last time."
Seriously, that happened. It was not, however, my last time.
The first and only time I ventured into a bar with a fake I.D. was memorable, to say the least. I was 17 years old. The drinking age in Wisconsin at the time was 18, so as long as you looked like you were 16 and carried yourself with an air of confidence, a lot of places would let you imbibe.
My sister was a student at Marquette University and (shockingly, in retrospect) invited me to hang out with her for a weekend at Schroeder Hall. Since the evening's festivities included going to bars, they searched the hallway to find a girl with short brown hair and gave me her Wisconsin state I.D. to use. Since my sister and her friends already were regulars, I didn't get as much as a second glance from any bartenders or bouncers during the night.
I think I was asked for I.D. at one bar, showed the girl's ID -- I think her name may have been "Wendy," but this was a long time ago -- and the dude let me pass by. A few weeks later, I hooked up with a men's basketball team in the Land O' Lakes league and we played a tournament in Howard's Grove. On the way home from hoops, we stopped at a local pub. One of my "teammates" was a teacher in my school system. Someone was pouring beers from a pitcher and paused to ask if I was 18. I was about six weeks shy of being "legal," so the guy pouring told the teacher on our team to look the other way while I quenched my thirst with the rest of the group. It was just a quick stop on the way home. Nobody got hammered, or anything. But, I remember thinking that it was great that I didn't have to wait out in the car in 20-degree weather.
When I finally got my state I.D. card, I liked being able to go see bands and check out bars that I had heard about from radio commercials or word of mouth, but drinking legally didn't have the same "buzz" (pardon the pun) as my initial forays.
I had the fake I.D. of a friend's cousin's girlfriend. The resemblance was a stretch; basically we were both females with brown hair. I don't really remember when I got it or how often I used it, but I do remember losing it. It was in Madison at Ken's Bar, a now-defunct dumpy hole in the wall where we went for beers and live bluegrass every Wednesday. I was already in the bar that was approaching capacity when the pregnant owner asked to see I.D.s and then asked us to recite addresses and birthdates. Obviously, I hadn't prepped myself enough to even know my own address, so I was tossed out and my I.D. was gone forever.
I was lucky to rarely have to resort to a fake I.D., but one incident sticks in my head. My friend Mark and I went to Zappa's in Brooklyn to see a band -- sorry, can't remember who -- and we were carded. I didn't have an I.D. so Mark said that since he drove, he'd run home and grab mine. Instead he went home and grabbed a fake. While he was gone, the savvy doorman and the not-savvy young me chatted. He said, how far does he have to go? Where do you guys live? I responded truthfully ... East 15th Street. When Mark came back with my I.D. the guy took one look at it and said, "nope. This says you live on Ocean Avenue. Nice try."
Doh! I walked home and Mark stayed for the show. Only fair since he tried and I messed up.
i had mine back in the summer of '86. i was 17 & the name i used was bobby dahl. used it to get into the strip clubs that used to line the indiana & illinois border. good times.
If you old enough to serve your country, you oughtta be old enough to have a beer.
I'm assuming that since co-founders Andy and Jeff didn't chime in for this article means that they were arc-angels in high school/college?
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