It's our birthday

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

Feb. 22 is a big day for this newspaper. From one angle, it's the 20th anniversary of the first issue of the Reno News & Review. I was here for that day in 1995. My name was also on the masthead of the first Nevada Weekly, Nov. 17, 1993, which became the RN&R. People have been bugging me about what we were going to do for our anniversary for a year now. “Nothing,” I'd always say, “nobody cares about a 20th birthday party.”

That's true, right? People are excited to turn 18, so they're a “legal adult.” But then they're stuck in the doldrums of 19 and 20 (when you're an adult with the rights of a child). And by that I mean, you have the responsibilities of being able to sign contracts, vote, or join the military without your parents' permission. I think most states will allow you to get married without parental permission.

But it's really about 21. I mean, I never heard of anyone going out to rent a car just because they turned 25. And by their 30th birthday, I think most people begin to put quotation marks around “celebrate.”

I was living in Houston when I turned 20. I'd been drinking legally there for a year. I'd been drinking 3.2 beer in Kansas legally since I turned 18. But I couldn't drink in Nebraska until I was 21, and if I couldn't drink with my friends in Nebraska, well, I'd drink with them in Kansas—and drive home. Nowadays, every state has the 21-and-over law.

Do you feel me? The Reno News & Review has been nothing if not precocious. I remember those toddler years when everything was a challenge. We had people around here who wouldn't know a deadline if it knocked them down and “made love” to them. We had people who showed up whenever they wanted. Lots of very committed people. A couple should have been committed. It's actually amazing to me that we never have really changed from those crazy early days.

You probably know the new science suggests that people don't become real adults—as opposed to the legal fiction—until they turn 25. Well, I'm not waiting for us to get mature before I start celebrating. Get ready for something.