According to the law of the United States, at 18, you can vote; you can have consensual sex and your partner won’t be accused of statutory rape; you can die for your country; and you can buy cigarettes, which will possibly help you die sooner than otherwise, but for one of your country’s strongest lobbies rather than for your country itself—but hey, dulce et decorum anyway.
But you can’t legally have a beer.
Here’s another interesting alcohol-related anomaly.
I went to the supermarket this evening and bought, among other things, a bottle of wine. The cashier set aside the wine and scanned and bagged everything else. Then she scanned and bagged the wine, after which, she picked up her intercom phone and called for a manager. “Sorry to keep you waiting, ma’am,” she said to me and, by extension, the people behind me, “but I’m not 21. I can’t ring up alcohol.”
A manager eventually arrived and pressed the key that rings up the entire sale.
So the under-21 cashier can handle the bottle of wine, she can scan it, she can put it in the shopping bag—but she can’t press the key that actually rings it up. In other words, she can’t technically sell it to me, though after someone else has facilitated the sale, she can accept my payment.
How silly is that?