I was seventeen and a hotshot visiting the “City” where friends knew where in the “Village” to buy some fake IDs.
We flipped through a binder of laminated samples. Instead of working in the far more popular and lucrative medium of state licenses, this craftsman focused his talent solely on university IDs.
All were identical except for the name of the college and color. So, if you chose Duke, it was blue. If you chose Cornell, it was red. I chose Brown, and it was brown.
The proprietor also walked us through the nitty-gritty of best fake ID practices. Firstly, don’t change your first name. If your ID says Betty and your drunk friend calls you Sarah in front of the bouncer, you ain’t… getting’… in.
He did recommend changing your last name. You are, after all, breaking the law and best not to put your legal name on the illegal document.
I had to make a split-second decision on what my ID, nay, whole existence in the of-age universe would be. I could pass as a Latina. Maybe fake-ID Tracey is spicy like that. But maybe I wanted something WASPY like Smythe or Rothschild.
Since I was pretending to be older, I could pretend to be married. What about to a hottie from another ethnicity? “Why yes, my name is Tracey Wu. So nice to meet you.”
I chose Jacobson upon counsel from a friend also getting an ID. It was her boyfriend’s surname. She chose the University of Pennsylvania. I was going to miss her when I went back to Brown.
We were also advised to keep the month and day of your real birthday so you wouldn’t forget it in case a bouncer asked. Bouncers like to do that. Ask your birthday while holding your fake ID. I wouldn’t joke about bouncers being stupid. That’s some real MENSA type trickery right there.
Most importantly, we had to choose our new age. Our Jedi Master warned us of the pitfalls of choosing the wrong number. The obvious choice is twenty-one. But that’s the problem, that’s obvious. By default, the best is twenty-two. You look like you’ve been around the block a few times. You knew how this whole life thing worked. No one would question your seniority.
Sadly, twenty-two only worked if you looked older. I still get carded at forty. As a result, thirty dollars and a snap of a lens later, I was reborn a twenty-one-year-old Jewish co-ed at Brown University.
Time to party.