How Did We Live Before iPods?

I came of age in a cultural Dark Age, listening to 80’s music, working dead-end part-time jobs just to put myself through school, driving around in a beat up Mercury Capri with a boombox in the passenger seat because the radio in the car wasn’t working – or wasn’t loud enough.  I swore that CDs were going to be the 8-Tracks of the 90’s.  I read Bloom County.   I hadn’t Googled (at least not with a computer).  For a while, I had taught myself programming with a TI-99, but those days were in the past.  I would futz in the Mac Lab at ASU playing Hunt the Wumpus and other mind-bogglingly complex games.  I had yet to Yahoo!, but then, nobody had.  

I still lived at home, in large part due to an utter lack of imagination or the ability to think much more than one day into the future.  I had friends who lived on-campus, off-campus, and various regions in between.  To the relief of my parents (no doubt), and the chagrin of some of my friends (well, one), I didn’t really drink alcohol until I turned 21.  I’ll let your mind play with images of just how incredibly cool I must have been in High School, let alone most of college!
Partly I didn’t drink because I felt like I should wait until I was legal.  Without a fake ID, I assumed (probably incorrectly) that I would never be able to get into a bar, let alone fool the clever people working at Circle K into believing that I was old enough to buy whatever liquor happened to be most on sale.  
Partly I didn’t drink because, frankly, I lived at home.  And while my parents didn’t know everything, I’m sure they were more than smart enough to figure out if I had come home drunk the night before.  Alcohol has a pretty pungent aroma, and being hung over and having my clothes smell like cheap beer, even if I managed to brush my teeth, probably would have given me away.  Granted, my parents were equally law-abiding folks who would never have tolerated their children drinking before they could legally do so.  If they had found out that I was drinking, there would have been Hell to Pay.  And if I couldn’t afford  to share an apartment with someone, I certainly couldn’t afford any additional payments of the infernal kind.  Additionally, my parents more or less knew where I was going to be, and who I was going to be with.  Not always, but I wasn’t terribly imaginitive, and since I wasn’t cool enough to hang out with the people who did have access to alcohol, it wasn’t too big a deal.
I just didn’t drink.
Apparently though, those techniques that worked pretty well at least on my pea-brain, aren’t of any use any longer.  Children are beyond our ability to influence or control, and the best we can do is try to keep the precocious darlings safe.  Or more accurately, give them the tools to help keep themselves safe, since we have no idea where they are or what they’re  doing.  
Behold, the latest in technological devices to assist kids (and adults) in determining whether or not they have had too much to drink. Because, apparently, their parents are nowhere to be found, and never bother to inquire as to their children’s whereabouts or activities.  I find this quote in particular to be amusing:
“You know how they are — they’re going to sneak it if they can. They don’t listen to their parents, but they listen to their iPods,” Bassler said.
Of course they don’t listen to their parents.  Their parents obviously don’t see an issue.  Because if their parents really had an issue with their underage, high school or college-aged kids drinking, they would actually do something about it.  There would be Hell to Pay, because they would be interested enough to know what their child was doing, and whether or not they had been drinking.  And the child would know that such behavior wouldn’t be tolerated, that there would be Hell to Pay, and that they couldn’t really afford that sort of payment.
Yes, kids are going to try and sneak drinks.  Yes, they will sometimes succeed, even if their parents are doing their duty in keeping track of their kids.  But, if kids know their parents are invested and interested in them enough to keep up on what they’re doing (allegedly or actually), who they’re with (allegedly or actually), and how they look and smell the next day, kids are probably going to think twice about getting loaded the night before.  Maybe they’ll have a beer.  Maybe two.  But I doubt they’re going to get blitzed.  They know there are ramifications to doing so.  They obviously aren’t concerned about legal ramifications, a la the police, etc.  But they could and should be worried about the ramifications of their parents.  
Parents who have decided that their kids aren’t going to listen to them and therefore they shouldn’t bother performing their parental duties are really frightening.   Another reminder of the pendulum swing to the left that says that parents are to be friends, rather than guardians.  That if you have to make a rule or inflict a punishment, you aren’t loving your child.  That you’d hate to damage your child’s psyche with some firm, consistently enforced rules about how to live their lives – at least until they’re old enough to be out and paying for their own lives (and mistakes).  
When my kids are old enough to face that kind of peer pressure (and yes, it starts earlier than high school), I pray that I’ve instilled in them by that point a respect both for the law, as well as an understanding of the risks of certain types of behavior.  But, even if that sort of understanding isn’t shared, I’ll make it crystal clear that – at least as long as they live in my house, and my money is supporting them – they will at the very least follow the house rules for those rather crass reasons.  They may not agree.  They may not be happy about it.  But they will be expected to obey at bare minimum out of respect and love for their parents. 
And if not, I guess I can always just buy them an iBreath and pray for the best.  
Naw.  They can buy that themselves.

2 Responses to “How Did We Live Before iPods?”

  1. location Says:

    How do I subscribe to your blog? I do not see RSS

  2. funnyshirt Says:

    Write more often

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