|My birthday wasn't quite this exciting, but it was fun nonetheless.|
I'm twenty-one now. As such I'm legally old enough for almost everything anyone else is other than senior citizen-types of discounts and privileges. Some rental car companies will not allow a person under twenty-five to operate their vehicles. If I ever need a rental car, I'll find out what companies rent to individuals under the age of twenty-five. Otherwise, I don't really care. The other obvious exceptions are the right to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives, for which I would need to be twenty-five, and the right to serve in the U. S. Senate, for which I'd need to be thirty. Another notable exception is that to run for or to serve as a U. S. president or vice-president, I'd need to be thirty-five. The minimum ages for the various U. S. state governor positions vary by state. I have no intention whatsoever of aspiring to fill any of these positions or, for that matter, any other political office, so the point is essentially moot where I am concerned.
In terms of minimum ages for political positions, even though it doesn't pertain to me, I'm not without misgivings about the premise. If the voting public knows how old a candidate is and chooses to elect him or her anyway, it should, in theory, be the right of the public to make a collective decision via the voting process regarding his or her fitness to hold a given office. My mom and I discussed this recently, and she doesn't agree with me. She believes that in today's world, with a level of media coverage [that could never have been anticipated by Madison and the other founding fathers as they were drafting the pertinent statutes of our nation's constitution] and with the tendency of a large segment of our society to venerate the qualities of youth and physical attractiveness, a highly unqualified candidate could potentially be forced upon us by a voting public, the majority of which might very well be too ignorant to look beyond a candidate's glowing physical attributes. A similar case could be made in regard to candidates with other blatant deficits in qualification for our nation's highest office, but such an objective across-the-board disqualifier would be far more elusive to implement than was the simple age requirement. We all still may eventually be doomed by the public's stupidity in voting in a wildly unqualified presidential candidate, but the candidate will not be the rough equivalent of perhaps a thirty-year-old Brad Pitt, voted in primarily for his unprecedentedly telegenic advantages. Maybe my mom has a point, but enough with political pontification.
My big day came and went without major incident. I did go to a bar to celebrate along with many of my cohort mates, many of whom actively look for any reason to get wasted. My brother came along to serve as my designated driver. While it sounds like a highly selfless act on his part, he wouldn't have had anything to drink anyway because he never drinks during the week when school is in session. Medical school is challenging enough for him even if he's not drunk or hung over. Matthew has also had far more opportunities to party than I have had. He looks older than I do, and hardly anyone has thought twice about passing a beer to him for the past couple of years.
I drank the two mixed drinks I had planned to consume on my twenty-first birthday: one mai tai and one strawberry daiquiri. My alcohol consumption left me reasonably wasted but not to the degree that I was impaired the next morning. My conclusion regarding drinking is that while it might be something to do once in awhile for major celebrations when circumstances are such that my drinking would not place me in any sort of perilous situation, neither is drinking something I feel compelled to do. After consuming the two alcoholic beverages, I ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri. I liked it every bit as much as I liked the one with booze in it. I don't feel driven to drink.
I'm in the midst of finals. It's rather intense -- something to which only other medical students can really relate, although law students and engineering students have tough programs with difficult exams as well. I've finished three tests and have four more to go. I should do well on them because I'm well-prepared, although I will study independently and with my groups until all of the exams have been completed. My school has a pass-fail system for the first two years. Some of my cohort mates benefit from this policy. It isn't particularly helpful to me. I'm too obsessive to be content simply with passing, and I know the powers that be are tracking all of our actual scores and not merely whether we've passed or failed. This is still probably the best school for me for other reasons, but the pass-fail system is essentially lost on me.
This quarter will conclude for me just past noon on Friday, at which point I will be able to breathe comfortably for the fist time in over four months.
This video -- the official video for the song -- doesn't belong to me, obviously. I played the song for a wedding awhile ago. The singer needed the song to be done in the key of C. I didn't really like the song then. Then I paid more attention to Christina Perry's recording, in which the song is sung in B-flat. It's just a full step, or an interval of a major second, in difference between this version and the song as I played it at the wedding of which I wrote, but it makes all the difference in the world in terms of how the song sounds. Sometimes subtle differences can be huge. That's how I feel about grades in medical school. Not everyone thinks there's a difference between a 100% and a 72% as long as one receives a passing score. I couldn't adopt that mindset even if I tried. I cannot escape the feeling that it may someday matter in the lives of our patients.