Alcohol, Tobacco and Sex Education4 May, 2009
A couple of comments between Chappie and I, over at Postman’s blog, Postcard’s From Gawd, got me thinking about the various sins — especially tobacco and liquor (which really wouldn’t work all that well in hell; heaven would be a heavenly atmosphere for these sins). And it got me thinking about the attitudes of kids back when I was in high school. Last century. Way back in the 80s (no, (((Girl))), the 1980s).
In high school, I began to watch people. Not in a freaky, stalking way, but in an almost sociological way. I began to observe. I tried to figure out why people acted the way they did, behaved the way they did. One of the most fascinating aspects was the disconnect between words and deeds.
Many (not all, but many) of the most religious twice borns had an odd relationship with alcohol and tobacco. Their churches, their pastors and ministers, preached the inherent sinfulness of hard liquor, beer and smoking (oddly, wine and chew seamed (at least somewhat) acceptable). In school, they looked down on those who smoked. They mocked those who drank (yes, high school; hard as it is to believe, underage students drank and smoked).
But (and you knew there would be a ‘but’, right?), at a party? These same kids at a bonfire? at a post-prom party? at a Sweet Sixteen kegger? Ah, the joy of forbidden fruit.
See, my parents pulled a dirty trick on me. If I wanted to try a scotch, or a whiskey sour, or a margherita, or a beer, or some wine (could never drink wine, though; I cannot get the memory of an experience involving some partially fermented grape juice back when I was about ten years old), my parents had no problem with that. My parents also told me, flat out, that if I was at a party and had been drinking, all I needed to do was call them and they would come and get me. Which meant that, when I went to a party, or we bought some beer on a Saturday night at the rafting company, I drank a little bit, but it was no big deal.
The born agains, though. Wow. When some of them had a chance at the forbidden, they drank Southern Comfort until they were sick. Or smoked an entire pack of Marlboro’s in one sitting. Or chugged beer until they couldn’t stand up. Or sucked down a cigar in ten minutes. The fact that their parents and (more important) ministers considered beer and liquor and smoking to be the Protestant equivalent of a cardinal sin.
Today, the religious right pushes abstinence-only-sex-education in public and private schools. I wonder if any of them remember their high school days and the lure of forbidden fruit? alcohol and tobacco especially? Do they really think that forbidding something will make the kids want it less?
Truth in Blogging: When (((Boy))) announced that he liked scotch, I explained that he would not like it, that he was too young to try it, and that he had to wait until he’s twenty-one. (((Wife))) looked at me (wives have a look that they use when husbands are being particularly dense, and that is the look she gave me). She shook her head, turned to (((Boy))) and said, “Here. Try some. But if you spray it, you’ll be cleaning the kitchen with a toothbrush.” He did not spray, but it turned him off liquor for quite a while. And some Keystone Light beer at college has turned him off of beer. Or, at least, cheap tasteless beer.