I'm Just Tired, Mom. Really.
every day isn't a day off for Ann Landers, but Monday's
syndicated column was utterly ridiculous. In what must be
a quarterly tradition, Ms. Landers published tips to help
parents identify and prevent drug use by their children.
Three quarters of the column was provided by Donnie R. Marshall,
the administrator of the DEA. He wants parents to recognize
the "warning signs of Ecstasy," namely the possession
of "pacifiers, Vicks VapoRub, surgical masks and glowsticks."
(The remainder of column was a pitch for Ann's booklet,
The Lowdown on Dope, which "now includes the bottom
line on club drugs such as Ecstasy, PMA, Ketamine, Rohypnol
and GHB." New & Improved -- Now with Ecstasy!)
I won't deny that such "strange paraphernalia"
is enjoyed by kids tripping on E, but isn't this just another
excuse for lazy parents to feel as if they're making a difference?
That they're doing their best to keep the kids off drugs
by keeping tabs on the Vicks in the medicine cabinet? What
a load of self-congratulatory, self-comforting bullshit.
Out in the wasteland that is the American suburbs, parents
raise their children while dosed on Valium, shove Ritalin
down the randy ones' throats to keep the grades steady and
accept lazy doctors' prescriptions for Prozac when their
teenage daughters are diagnosed as "clinically depressed."
Why, one could argue, should other drugs be considered off
Kids experiment with drugs because kids experiment with
drugs. Today's parents shouldn't waste their time searching
bedrooms for pacifiers, for the same reason their parents
were wasting their time being suspicious of long hair, tie-dyes
and headbands. Accessories to a supposed lifestyle are not
necessarily indicators of that lifestyle being lived. Sometimes
they're just fashion, or even affectation, or pretension.
And if they aren't, it's a little late to prevent your child's
drug use when you finally, accidentally find the bong. Where
the fuck were you in the years before the kid started using
drugs? Watching tv? Reading soundbite advice columns to
learn what your kid was doing after school?
One can't deny the importance of parents being educated
about drugs, but those who fall into the drug escalation
argument are either lied to, or lying to themselves. Take,
for instance: Today's pot is so much stronger than it was
in the 60s. What a load of crap. That's just an excuse for
grownup potheads to try to prevent their children from doing
exactly what they did as teenagers.
Some kids will always experiment with whatever is available
to them, just as some of their parents smoked dope and took
acid, just as some of their parents drank and ate whatever
stimulants were available to them 40 years prior. Such useless
advice as that from Ann Landers smacks of the quaint antimarijuana
film strips of years past. What are concerned parents expected
to do about the VapoRub? Mark it off like my parents with
the vodka? You know how crafty kids can be: they'll just
fill out the jar with Vaseline.
A more useful guide for concerned parents can be found at
the Drug Test USA website, which has a handy chart explaining
the various types of drugs, symptoms of their use, side
effects and potential damage. The chart is offered free
of charge (unlike Ann's booklet), presumably with the hopes
that, should a parent recognize some symptoms, they'll rush
to order a testing kit.
Just don't let your kids see the chart -- they'll probably
turn it into a shopping list.