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Drinking for Drivers

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Burlington -- The sound of honking car horns is rarely welcome -- unless you're a college student kicking back beneath an 8-foot-long banner that reads, "U HONK, WE DRINK." Then it's good times.

Eight students -- five men and three women -- have been playing this drinking game two or three nights a week during rush hour on the porch of a two-story house at the intersection of Colchester and East avenues. "It seems like most people who go by, it puts a smile on their faces," says Matt, the group's spokesman. He says they got the idea from the wildly popular website,

collegehumor.com.

Klatch Members maintain their anonymity on a recent Tuesday afternoon, but agree to pose for a photo. All but one attend local colleges; the other guy says he goes to the University of New Hampshire. Every 20 or 30 seconds or so, a car goes by and the driver honks. Some raise their fists and shout encouragements. The porch sitters raise their cans of Bud Lite, bottles of Smuttynose, and plastic cups full of Southern Comfort. "It's not just the cars that honk," Matt adds after a swig. "We get the Red Cross, fire trucks, UPS, FedEx, the cops. You name it, they love it."

But not everyone loves the sign. "Sometimes people say, 'I'm glad you're not my son,'" Matt admits. Lieutenant Mike Schirling of the Burlington Police Department also confirms that the cops received a noise complaint about the house on Friday, August 26, at 4:30 p.m. But Schirling says the guys weren't fined. "We arrived and it was quiet," he reports.

Schirling explains that the drinkers are well within their rights, as long as they're not causing a riot, making too much noise or allowing underage drinking. He notes that the officers who responded to the noise complaint checked IDs -- everyone was over 21.

Matt says he realizes that some people might think the students are promoting drinking, but he doesn't agree. "We're trying to promote happiness," his friend interjects, beer in hand.

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