Higher Education

The Rant D’Jour is about winning. And losers.

Well, don’t be too sure that winning the big money always brings happiness. Here are a few examples…more


Blog Post for Thursday 3/17/11 – St. Patrick’s Day. 30 degrees and dark.

Schoolwork Thursday

Another assignment from my feature writing class from last semester. We were to write about a place.

College in Boston.
First time away from home. 17 years old and in full teen-age rebellion. I made an amazing discovery my first week at school.

Kenmore Square Liquors.

The fact that I was only 17 made no discernible difference to the clerks at the booze store. The first time I placed my bottle of Boone’s Farm Apple wine on the counter with false bravado I was beyond nervous.

Mixed with ginger ale it could explode your brain

“4.99.” was the only thing the clerk said. Yes! I was ecstatic. Serious drinking ensued.

Drinking in college is a cliche. Of course you drink in college. For some it’s the ability to suck down as much as they can without parental interference or admonishment. For some it’s literally the first time they have a drink. For me it was the beginning of a life long struggle with demon rum.

I never got into the bar scene while I was in college. Although there were several bars within staggering distance of my dorm for some reason they cared enough to card me and so I rarely got in. I did my drinking in my room.

The dorm floor I lived on was the “fraternity” floor. Why the college put me there was a mystery to both me and the brothers of Kappa Sigma Delta. We hated each other on sight. Our only commonality was our level of alcohol consumption. One drunken night I attacked the white walls of the dorms with a black magic marker, inscribing “KSD” randomly. Of course not being a brother and being drunk I failed to use the Greek symbol for sigma and so betrayed the fact that the fraternity wasn’t to blame.

Kenmore Square Liquors was midway between the men’s dorm I lived in and the coed dorm a block down the street. Both dorms were moldering former hotels re-purposed for college students. Not far away were the mega dorms for Boston University. The liquor store did a brisk college trade.

The store took up the basement level of a brownstone which was devoted on other floors to commercial enterprises such as a jewelry store and a consignment clothing store. I never went in any other store. The booze place was my only destination.

I quickly became a regular at Kenmore Square Liquors owing somewhat to the fact that I could actually buy booze whereas most of my college mates were turned down cold. Thinking back on it I wonder if the clerks designated me as the buyer for my group.

The store’s inventory was not exactly high end. It was a small space with only room for what was going to sell in quantity. Cheap booze for college students and the brown paper bag winos would be the business model, if the owners had one.

Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill or Apple wine was a staple. As it turns out the stuff isn’t even wine but a flavored malt beverage. With 7.5% alcohol by volume it packed more punch then beer. I tasted some recently. Although I don’t really know what embalming fluid would taste like I imagine Boone’s Farm would be it.


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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