I’ve long thought that anti-drug speeches, “abstinence-only” sex education, and all such “keep teenagers from doing teenager things” education is way too constrained and inside-the-box. They need to shift paradigms if they’re really interested in getting teens onto the path of the straight and narrow. Instead of telling kids to abstain from sex — send a 15-year-old kid on a date with a washed-up streetwalker at the end of her shift. I mean, clean her up enough to get past his initial reservations about an older woman (and make sure she’s at least got a full set of shiny white dentures). Sure, she’ll give great head, but he’ll probably be scared away from sex just based on olfactory memories alone.
For the anti-drug folks : setup a fake suburban family with a rowdy drug-addled teen, who throws fucked-up parties, trashes his own house, and makes enough of a ruckus that the police get involved and the other kids at the party never see the kid again. They’ll be left with nothing but rumors and wild speculation, and that might clean up a few of ’em. It (kinda) worked on me. I’m still not entirely sure the whole thing wasn’t just an enterprising out-of-the-box anti-drug educator genius orchestrating the whole thing.
First, some backstory.
I mentioned before these two kids I knew late in my Sophomore year of high school : Matt and Steve. My recollection was that they both moved to our town, and to our school, at around the same time, and the two of them were close friends — almost like brothers — but I never figured out their backstory or why they arrived mid-schoolyear. Matt was a relatively mild-mannered guy, Steve was an off-the-wall, hyper, spaced-out stoner kid. He laughed, with an audible “ha.. ha.. ha”, at nearly everything. Like I said in the first story about him : I liked feeling really funny, so I hung out with Steve a fair bit. I even slept over at his house, and he at mine, a few times. His parents and I were on a first-name basis. His mom and my mom swapped arts & crafts ideas. Real boring white suburbanite shit. Hell, the first time I was staying the night at his place, we were playing billiards in the game room off to the side of his living room, I said “ohhhh you suck!” to a shot he missed, and his mom said “I’m sorry, Mitcz… we don’t use that word in this house”. She thought “sucks” was a naughty, naughty word. Oh that poor husband of hers1.
It was Spring Break of 1994. I’ve never understood the reasoning behind Spring Break, but g’damn if I didn’t love having an entire week off of school between the holiday week off of school and the 3-months-off of summer. Do you know how much I’d give to have a week off of responsibilities today? Jesus, I’d be so excited I’d probably fly to Canada with a head full of LSD just to trip out on the weirdly-nicest people in the world. But, I digress.
For reasons unknown, many parents decide Spring Break is also their week off of life. My mom (with my not-yet-stepdad, but close enough) left town that week, too. Rather than throw a party at my place, Steve announced he was gonna throw “so many parties” at his place. That was cool by me, as I’m still unsure to this day how to properly throw a party (I’m getting better at it, or at least at helping to throw parties held here at the house where i live). It helped that he and Matt had a suspiciously endless supply of weed at all times, and somehow access to all sorts of alcohol in large quantities.
The first party I went to of his was about 4 days into Spring Break. It started early — like 2-3pm in the afternoon. The music was loud2, the weed was plentiful, and the alcohol flowed like water. Actually more than water, which bummed me out cause I didn’t like alcohol much back then and I just wanted water and soda, which was tough to find at times throughout the party and I had wicked-bad cottonmouth from all the weed. It was a blast, though. I’d walk around and be part of one weed circle for a bit, do some weird impressions (my Ozzy impression was a huge hit with people too high to be critics), make some people giggle, move along to another weed circle, and pretty much rinse-repeat. As time went on, everyone was fucked up in one way or another. Some were so fucking high that all they could manage to do was lie in the grass and hum along to songs — unable to even remember any lyrics, others were getting good and drunk and a few people had already thrown up and gone on to their second wind. All of this happened before the sun even went down.
Around the time of dusk, the party was in full effect. The music got louder, everyone was yelling “wooo!” about every 2nd or 3rd song, there were a few couples gettin’ their handjobs and drunken makeout sessions going in corners of the backyard, and shit was just on-point all around. It was one of those moments where any single person at the party probably stopped whatever they were doing for a minute just to think — or say out loud — “man, this is fucking great”. And, it fucking was.
Until it all came, almost literally, crashing down.
I was standing next to Steven, who was standing near the outside of the main window of his living room. I said “this is fucking awesome, man!” and he responded in the standard manner of : “YEAAAH! PAAAARTAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaayyyy!”. As he said that, he held up his can of beer (probably his 10th or 12th can since the party began) and fell backwards right onto, into, and through the living room window, smashing it all to pieces. Surprisingly, he was mostly just laughing and otherwise completely uninjured.
Not only did everything stop on a dime, but suddenly his parents appeared in the backyard. I mean, right on fucking cue. They appeared. His dad looked down at him, and all Steve could say was “ohhhh-hoh shiiiiiit!” and then, like a fuckin’ spaced-out lunatic stoner, laughed. His dad yelled out to his mom “CALL THE FUCKING COPS! GET NAMES OF THESE KIDS!”.
Teenagers scattered like the place was on fire. Both his mom and dad would briefly try to grab one and yell “WHO ARE YOU? WHAT’S YOUR NAME? WHERE DO YOU LIVE?”, but some other kid would run past and grab them from the clutches of Steve’s parents. I didn’t run, and I don’t know why. I just thought “fuck it, I’m leaving and there’s nothing they can do” and casually walked past his mom. She was on the phone, she looked right at me, said “Mitcz…” and looked disappointed but otherwise made no attempt to subdue me or even berate me.
We ran down the street to Matt’s place, where we pretty well sobered up from that crazy buzzkill. None of us heard from Steve ever again. Sure, there were plenty of rumors about what happened to him, ranging from the cops throwing him in “juvy”3 to being sent to boarding school, to crazy theories like his parents dis-owned him and he became homeless at 15 years old.
There were no other parties in our crew for the remainder of Spring Break, and I never once threw a party at my parents’ house throughout the entirety of the time I lived with them. Hell, no one else I can remember being at that party did, either. Most of the people, myself included, didn’t even touch an illicit substance for at least a month.
Like I said, I’m still not sure that whole thing wasn’t just a weird back-alley “scared straight” program.
…or, maybe she was a filthy little fuck-pig in the bedroom, and their sex games were so depraved that they long ago shot past any sense of decency, so they weren’t even sure where the line was and they just started arbitrarily picking things that might be offensive. But, probably not. That’s likely the kind of parent I would’ve been, though. ↩
and because it was the early-mid 90s, fan-fucking-tastic and don’t you forget it ↩
the “cutesy” name we used for Juvenile Detention ↩