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  • Bill Chastain

Fake ID

Remember having a fake ID?

Obtaining one ranked as a priority back in the day because not having one subjected you to finding an intermediary to buy your beer — often at intermediary handling prices.

Procuring a fake ID did not require a lot of heavy lifting. And once you had one, you faced little scrutiny.

Florida’s drinking age was 18, which meant you didn’t have to look as old, and most forms of identification did not have a photo. Thus, my mail order ID from a place in Reno, Nevada worked even better because of the photo (Class photos were good for something, right?). Little General and 7-Eleven stores knew me as William R. Chandler, 4802 Chessnut St., Savannah, Georgia. “I’m just visiting my cousins, thank you.”

Fake ID

Place the (Old Milwaukee, Busch, PBR, Falstaff, or whatever cost 99 cents a six-pack) on the counter, dazzle the employee with my photo-ID, and I’d be on my way.

Sadly, William R. Chandler met his demise at the hands of the washing machine. He bravely stood up to the suds, only he couldn’t stand up to my mother, who confiscated the ID after innocently emptying my wallet to try and dry the contents. On the bright side, she went through my wallet on a day when the contents were relatively tame.

My other ID belonged to George Raffa, the brother of Tony Raffa, a classmate and a friend at Plant High.

In the 1970s, you received a temporary driver’s license before getting your real one. Neither had a photo. Somehow, I ended up with George’s temporary, which worked well until one night at the Sanchez Lounge.

I ordered a beer and the waitress asked me for my ID. Confidently, I whipped out old George. She examined the ID and shook her head. “I don’t think so.” Then came a dreamy smile. “There’s only one George Raffa.”

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