Your parents lied to you.
Not just yours, though. Mine too. So did my teachers, and the nice cop who used to come to school with bumper stickers and free t-shirts that said D.A.R.E.
Children are told all sort of lies in an effort to steer their transition into moral and productive adults through elaborate fear tactics. Because well, most of the time it works. We all learn at a very young age that you need to behave in the month of December or Santa Claus won’t come to town. We learn to not kiss that boy under the bleachers or you’ll get herpes and die. Those of us who were unfortunately raised Catholic bear a special kind of fear mixed with guilt that makes almost makes you afraid of washing too thoroughly in the shower or ye shall behold the wrath of the old testament God.
So this is probably somewhat controversial, but true so I’m just going to come out and say it. Drugs don’t always kill you kids. But what makes this lie particularly hypocritical of your Baby Boomer parents is that literally almost every icon they had, admired and introduced to your young impressionable mind was (or is) a drug addict or a raging alcoholic … and still alive. Actually not only are they still alive, they’re still on fucking tour.
Now don’t get me wrong, drugs can and very well might actually kill you. Throughout history, many great artist died way before their time regardless on genre due to drug and alcohol related causes. Marilyn, Elvis, Belushi – just to name a few. But if you’re anything like me, when you were a kid you had a Say No To Drugs talk with your father in a car while listening to old Rolling Stone’s CDs and saw old pictures from their old bell bottom hippy days with a bong hidden in the corner. A generation who idolized the words “I hope I die before I get old” is now watching their idols perform in diabetic shoes. True story. My parents saw one of Fleetwood Mac’s reunion tours a couple years ago and lets just say although Stevie Nicks is still pretty fabulous, she isn’t wearing the same attire from the good old days. Mick and Keith have grandkids, but still run around stage dancing like roosters.
When you take the number of people who died long before their time, it’s sort of astounding when compared to who is most likely going to die of old age. The obvious choices are Keith and Mick from the gold old Stones, but you can probably add Steven Tyler, Whitney Houston, Iggy Pop and Bob Dylan to the list as well. All alive.
I’m a pretentious hipster so I’m going to make more underground reference (although they’re icons and you should really get on the ball here) but it astounds me Leonard Cohen and Mark E. Smith from the Fall are still alive. I’m going to take it up a notch. The late great Hunter S. Thompson, who not only made a living writing about his drug related exploits, but took it to epic proportions, died of a shotgun to his head after officially surpassing the age qualifying him to be a senior citizen. The great literary poet Charles Bukowski, who probably could have won a drinking contest with an elephant, still managed to die at the age of 74. I’m willing to bet every single person I named here looks at Charlie Sheen’s recent exploits and laughs at his amateurish antics. Hell, even everyone’s favorite founding father, Benjamin Franklin, loved opium and french hookers and died at the ripe old age of 84.
The threat of death clearly hasn’t hindered the practices of fearless youth throughout the ages or the war on drugs would have been won decades ago. When not only your parents experimented with drugs, but many of your parents idols lived long prosperous lives doing the same, how do you prevent kids from playing a chemical version of Russian roulette?
Show them this:
(Shane McGowan- Genius and legendary front man of the Pogues.)