Charged with Possession of Root Beer with the Intent to Smile

Don’t walk down the street carrying a bottle of Virgil’s Root Beer. No matter how delicious and enticing it may be to take a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk at night sipping on that magical cola, resist it. It’s a trap. The police in Savannah, GA look down on drinking root beer in public.


They’ll never understand our love.

OK, I understand that it looks like a beer bottle, but when I walked past the police station on Bull Street on my way to the bus stop at Arnold Hall I found it hard not to laugh as the tough guy policeman barked at me “Pour it out, dude.”

I’ve never been in a situation where a police officer seemed angry with me. Our exchanges have always been pleasant. Mostly revolving around me holding the door open for him/her at Starbucks.

Mr. Tough Guy Policeman, however, did not understand my peaceful relationship with the law and decided to really crack down on me for possession of a cola that looks vaguely like an alcoholic beverage.  Sadly, I could not obey his demands. The bottle was empty long before our run-in and I was only carrying it while I searched for a trash can and to protect myself from imaginary muggers.

I calmly tipped the bottle to the side to show that it was empty and informed him that it was only root beer. To which this crack detective responded, “It doesn’t look like root beer.”

“Yeah well you look more like a frat boy with a badge than a cop,” I wanted to say, but decided against it. A billy-club to the head is not worth the two dollars I paid for that stupid drink. So instead I just sort of stammered, “But…um…it is root beer.”


Come for the parties. Stay for the Criminal Justice Degree.

“Whatever, man. Just get rid of it.”

I kinda laughed at that point. Once again a dangerous move. Why should I get rid of my soft drink just because you had the hunch that it was an actual beer?

“I’m just looking for a trash can,” I said.

He pointed rather threateningly at the wall of the police station where a small trash can sat. “There. Throw it away.”

“Yes sir. Thank you for your help.” I smiled and threw the bottle away, slightly sad that I now had no line of defense against my imaginary attackers.

Mr. Tough Guy Policeman turned back to his frat-cop friends with a smug look of victory that I resented. Yeah, you showed me. I found it funny that he didn’t stop me for being underage and seemingly in the possession of alcohol. It was either a nice little boost to the ego (yay I don’t look like a child!) or crack detective work on his part.

I left Mr. Tough Guy Policeman to reminisce about that wicked kegger at the Sigma Chi House and went on my way, sad and disillusioned. My innocence torn away. You just can’t enjoy a cola in peace these days.


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