For the record I’m not a teetotaler and I enjoy a gin and tonic on occasion. But, maybe because I’m old and my brain is fully developed and unlike a teenager, I understand that I’m not invincible and I know that one drink is good and that 8 are not. It’s one of the benefits of being older. Teenagers, no matter how intelligent, don’t have this advantage and even those at the top of the class don't have the ability to see the long-term consequences that drinking can bring. With that in mind, the PHS 2014 graduation ceremony scheduled for tomorrow and with the long standing tradition of alcohol at graduation parties, I offer two things: a column on the same topic, originally titled No, Mom, I Don't Want A Glass Of Chardonnay, first printed in the Post in 2010 and a few sobering thoughts.
The sobering thoughts:
*According to the Center for Disease Control 62% of high school seniors admit to binge drinking.
*A California Highway Patrol study has shown that “by far, the highest number of teen drunk driving fatalities happen on graduation night.”
* A young person's brain is still developing well into the twenties and can be harmed by excessive drinking. Studies have shown that alcohol can cause long-term damage to the brain and impair memory, coordination, and movement.
And, the column:
Ahhhh, high school graduation. Our talented young fledglings leaving the nest, flying high on to their bright and promising futures. Filled with dreams and optimism about the adventures they’ll soon embark upon. So scholarly in their cap and gown often draped with a colorful flower lei for a touch of whimsy. The weather cooperates fully in deference to the significance of the day and the stands are filled to capacity with adoring relatives. Yes indeed, this is the stuff of which dreams are made. Wait…whatha..why is that child vomiting? Come to think of it, all of these promising young graduates look a little green around the gills. Oh, for corn sakes! Is it possible that the little Einsteins are hungover?!? Well, pick your chin up off the floor, what did you expect? Most of them are coming from an all-nighter that one of the families hosted to honor the young darlings. I know, I know, the legal drinking age is 21 in the state of California but apparently in Piedmont this law is open to interpretation. So, fast forward and here we are with hungover high school graduates because somebody’s parent had the bright idea that the best way to be popular in their child’s eyes would be to host the teenage cocktail party. And yes, Mrs. Takeyourbrainoutofyourass, wine and champagne are, in fact, still considered alcohol. And no, serving it in pretty little glasses doesn’t change that. Being drunk after 17 crystal flutes of champagne served in someone’s beautifully landscaped yard is no different than being drunk from 7 shots of Tequilla served up at the local bar. Seriously guys, what’s the deal with this? #1 It’s illegal. #2 It’s dangerous. #3 No, none of the kids think you’re cool, in fact they find you downright immature and creepy and if the alcohol doesn’t make them vomit, being served a drink by someone’s scantily clad mom definitely will. Yep…”pathetic” is the word one student used to summarize their opinion of the parents at a few of such gatherings. Well, for heaven’s sake, that’s sad. To put all that time and energy into planning the perfect party, the countless hours deciding between Merlot or Cabernet, Margarita or Cosmopolitan, Corona or Trumer Pilsner and then to be thought of as merely pathetic. Gee, that’s…well…pathetic! Tip: Six words a high school student never wants to hear muttered from his parents lips while at a party..”Sweetheart, would you like a beer?” Uh..no, mom. Actually, what I was hoping for was a positive role model, love and guidance and for you to be my rock in this rough and unpredictable river of life. And while you’re at it, could you please stop trying to be cool in front of my friends? You already had your turn at being a kid and it’s our turn, now. We’ll secretly get our own beer if we want it and there are way more important things you could be helping us with. Seriously, that’s what they’re saying. Congrats class of 2014! Yes, most of you really are smarter than your parents!
Send 'em off safely, folks..they'll have plenty of irresponsible drinking opportunities when they're in college and it's .ok. to give them other options at home. Fruit Punch comes to mind! Try the old classic made with frozen lemonade, Hawaiian Punch, ginger-ale and rainbow sherbet..they'll love it!! It's never too late to set a good example.