At twenty-nine years of age, I get annoyed when websites tell me to enter my date of birth before watching a clip or trailer of an M-rated video game. This frequently happens when I surf GameSpot. The drudgery of having my finger point and click, scrolling down the drag boxes for the month, day and year, really vexes me. As an alternative, I visit YouTube, but still, a disclaimer appears saying that the video may be inappropriate, and tells me to sign in with a Google account. I don’t have a Google account, but then again, I can always watch the hundreds of videos that were not uploaded by official copyright holders.
Why do video game websites ask for proof of age, anyway? Every time I see the message “Please enter your date of birth to view this video,” I groan but submit to the demand anyway. According to the Electronic Software Ratings Board, an “M” rating means that the video game’s content is “generally suitable for ages 17 and up.” But kids under 17 will lie anyway when inputting age; all they need is basic arithmetic skills to make themselves old enough.
Deep down, I guess I have conflicting issues about being 29, just on the eve of 30 and a whole new decade of adulthood. I usually buy my weekly Coca-Cola from Walgreens because 1.25 liter bottles are only 99 cents. Before I make my purchase, I visit the liquor section and grab a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. I don’t usually consume alcohol, but when I do, my cocktail of choice is a Jack & Coke. That whiskey bitterness and cola sugary sweetness dazzle my taste buds. However, I only look at the amber nectar lovingly, holding the rectangular glass bottle like an infant. I never buy liquor and beer anymore because clerks always card me. Having suffered severe acne and other forms of awkwardness during adolescence, it annoys me that people still mistake me for a teenager. I am not confident enough to just pull out my wallet and present my ID so the clerk can glance at it. I put back the bottle of Jack on the shelf.
However, people mistaking me for a younger age should be a good thing, right? I sometimes pride myself for my raven black shaggy hair, moderately good complexion, hipster eyewear, and overall boyish good looks – surprising people who had originally thought I was in my late teens or early twenties.
But then reality sets in: I’m not young anymore. And those video verifications constantly remind me of that.