Thursday, December 9, 2010

Age of majority

Recently I was asked by a Quebecois step relative whether Naomi was a major. Huh? He assumed the opposite of a minor was a major and was unclear at what age that occurs in Michigan.

In the year that I was turning 19, the age of majority suddenly shifted to 18 down from 21. The thinking was at the time was that that if we could be shipped off to Viet Nam at 18, we should at least have some privileges. By we, I mean the men my age though as it turned out, no men exactly my age were drafted. Men a year older than me were the last ones: my high school boyfriend who had the lottery number 200 or so based on his birthday must have been the last one. He was shipped to Germany.

Suddenly it was legal to drink although I don't know if that changed my life much. At some point, the law was modified (maybe 10 years later) such that at 18, you are an adult with MOST of its rights and privileges but drinking will not be one of them. This keeps the local police busy as our town has a big lump of population in that 18-21 age range and a big source of revenue. A ticket for 'minor in possession' costs more than possession of marijuana. If one is 19 and wants to drink legally, Canada is not that far away.

Presumably in countries with no drinking ages or ones hovering around 16, there is much less alcohol abuse among the young. I am not sure if there are hard numbers on that. To me, there seemed to be more public drunkenness among the young in England than here making my train rides at night scary. And in Italy where drinking wine starts at a very young age, the students we had from L'Aquila seemed to lose control with alcohol just as often as the American students. As none of them were 'quiet' drunks, this impacted my sleep.

At any rate, if things were up to me, driving would not be allowed until 18 saving much heartache and the age of majority would be shifted back to 21. Turning 18 doesn't automatically imbue the traits one needs to be an adult.

At our cancer cooking class last night (Cooking for Survival), we made holiday food: a colorful broccoli and red pepper salad, mulled cider, black-eyed pea soup, ginger-pear crisp and stuffed spinach mushrooms. The class is becoming quite popular. I was happy to see a lady I made friends with early on in the class. We have missed each other for the past 7 classes. At home I have made several of the recipes that we've made in class. If I was a good cancer survivor really serious about doing everything I could to prevent recurrences, I should adopt all these recipes exclusively but......

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