Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Car Talk without the Tappet Brothers

"We have met the enemy and he is us." 
                              -Pogo by Walt Kelly

Morning commute is morning hell.  Getting my three each at different schools in three different directions is often fraught with yelling, fist pounding and expletives.  And that’s just in the driveway.

But seriously, it is a time when I reconnect with my brood. 

My middle daughter has the longest “car time”.  She shares my odd sense of humor.  It’s either that or perhaps a survival tactic.  Hard to tell.  But the other day she was telling me about her freshman high school course called simply Alcohol, Drugs and Sex. ADS for short. Pretty comprehensive I might say.  But it is taught by exactly the wrong person.  The teacher is a church lady type.  Most of the kids ignore her preaching.  My daughter this week has a choice of going to a rehab center or math class.  Boy is that an easy decision.  I would do geometry over seeing the depths of the human condition any day.

My daughter states that the church lady talks down to the kids. Explaining the subject matter is one thing but the “Just Say no” campaign was kind of corny, unrealistic and went out in the 1980’s. It was promoted by Nancy Reagan and LaToya Jackson: ‘nuff said. People are naturally curious.  You just need to show them when curiosity becomes a bad thing, when bad things become an addiction and when the horrible consequences of that addiction happen.

In other words, you want to scare these kids shitless.  My theory is if you scare them enough they’ll never want to do any of those things or hopefully do some of the things with some foresight and extreme moderation.  It’s not enough to just say they are bad.  You want them to see Harry the Heroin addict with rotted teeth, smelly clothes and blind from talc emboli to his retina.  You want Crystal the crack whore with dentures at age 27 who starts soliciting the young men and the ladies for a “quickie.” That will get them out of their seats in a jiffy. Best of all, bring Al the Alkie with live moonshine demonstrations and side of squirrel -skinning.

Better yet is to do what my medical school did for us much more mature med students (hah!)  It was just a short lecture about the statistics of the problem, blah, blah, prevalence, incidence, blah, blah, blah but it ended with a mild mannered stockbroker.  He was perfectly groomed with an expertly tailored suit. He spoke eloquently on how he has been a heroin addict for the past 10 years despite his education (an alumnus actually), great job, upstanding wife and his one child.  He could have been us.  That was truly scary.

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