Carded vs Proofed

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Fri May 25 02:13:56 UTC 2001

Mark Odegard said:
>The 26th Amendment (18-year-old vote) was ratified in 1971. Shortly
>thereafter, there was a general lowering of the drinking age to 18 (which
>has since been undone). This was when something like half the country was
>under 25 if I recall correctly; we were exporting huge numbers of teenagers
>to stop bullets in 'Nam.

At this point, there was variation among states in drinking age. When I was
in high school in the late 60s, the drinking age was 18 in New York State
and 21 in Connecticut. The back roads across the state line were reputed to
be rather dangerous at closing time, as 18-21 year olds made their way back
to CT.
>I first heard 'to card', 'carding' about the time most states experimented
>with letting 18-year-olds drink.
>As I think about it, an under-18 is harder to tell from an under-21, if only
>because of they way they dress. At 21, you can graduated from college,
>working, starting a family; at 18, you're still a party-animal wannabe.
>This is about the time we needed the verb 'card'.
>I still think it came from 'draft card', coined then by those who remembered
>times when lots of under-21 males still lacked a drivers license. It could
>also have derived from asking 18-year-olds for their draft card to buy
>tobacco, which perhaps makes it more recent. But this is just speculation.

Hardly. Like approximately half the population, I was never required to
register for the draft, and certainly never had a draft card. That didn't
stop bartenders and liquor store clerks who were so inclined from carding
Alice Faber                                       tel. (203) 865-6163
Haskins Laboratories                              fax  (203) 865-8963
270 Crown St                                   faber at
New Haven, CT 06511                               afaber at

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