This time of year always makes me reminiscent of my college days. I went to Murray State University...a beautiful campus sent in Western Kentucky just 20 minutes north of the Tennessee state line. That geographic explanation is crucial to understanding the culture of the campus...the "dry" alcohol free campus.
Murray was smack dab in the center of a dry county and that meant no seedy bars, no liquor sales at the corner Shell gas station and no beer in the coolers at Wal-Mart. Alcohol was not sold and not available at any restaurant in the county. When I moved onto campus and begin meeting girls in the all freshmen dorm, I kept getting the same question from new dorm mates..."what county are you from?"
This was the typical way of identifying where your hometown was in an area that was peppered with consolidated schools and tiny towns, but it was new to me. In my hometown in Southern Illinois we rarely heard about counties, unless we were under a tornado watch and our eyes were glued to the ticker on the bottom of the TV screen!
I was also completely taken off guard by the concept of a "dry county". I had never heard of this and really didn't get why my parents thought this was such a great concept for their only daughter's new home-away-from-home. However, after going through sorority rush and attending my first fraternity party as a freshmen, it all began to make sense to me.
Any facade that my parents may have bought into about the "alcohol-free utopia" was a joke. When it came to fraternity parties, Murray was the "wettest" dry county around and the only boundary the alcohol free restrictions enforced was that students had to plan ahead for parties, allowing a 45 minute round trip drive "south" to gather supplies. It was a ritual that usually began for students on Thursday after class, driving to the Tennessee line to bring back cases of Milwaukee's Best to start an evening of revelry.
Who was being fooled by this "dry county" business? Did the locals not see the cars heading out of town at the end of the week and weren't they suspicious when the same line cars paraded back through town 30 minutes later? It was as though the whole county had a giant FAKE ID; a desire to present itself as something that it wasn't by restricting the sale of liquor.
Now before we get sidetracked and begin condemning a body of municipal leaders for their rules and regulations, let's examine our own reflection. What are you presenting yourself as that might not be accurate? Are you wearing clothing that would allow others to assume you are available for a tumble in the backseat of the nearest car? Are your conversations filled with judgement about others and a critical spirit, but in your mind you just long to find friends who will like you? Are you watching movies and listening to music with lyrics that you would never verbalize if they weren't set to a tune, but you know in your heart God is leading you in a different direction?
God longs to buy your FAKE ID! He wants you to leave those facades with Him. If you are working harder to memorize the stats on your fake ID card than you are walking in the truth of who you were created to be, you will never find happiness.
Nearly 20 years after I graduated from MSU, (REALLY?) the laws have changed. Packaged liquor is not readily available, but they do sell alcohol by the drink at restaurants. I have no idea whether those shacks across the Tennessee line are still selling cases of beer, but I have no doubt that as parents of incoming freshmen dropped off their students for the Fall semester, they were not lulled into a false sense of security by believing that a "dry campus" was something that it was not. Are you still carrying a FAKE ID?