Chapter 21 – Parents Watch the Clock. For the clock spider?
As has been said over and over, EveryTeen, you’re growing up and taking on responsibilities; you might even be starting to earn your own money – as a pimp, perhaps. Your parents see these changes in you, and recognize the fact that you are no longer a child. However, they still want to protect you from injury, both physical and emotional. They want to steer you away from dumb decisions that could spoil your future, or cause you to drop out. Which would spoil your future. Which is redundant.
So, what sorts of things are your parents concerned about? It’s a big, bad world out there, and the further you venture out from home base, EveryTeen, the more influence others have on you. Your parents worry about automobile safety, whether it’s you or someone else behind the wheel. Many teens get involved in accidents, whether or not there is alcohol involved. (According to this book, in 1968, 4.4 million persons under 20 years of age were involved in accidents. Think of it; this is long before texting and even CD players)! So, they will definitely warn you against participation in Lifestyles of the Drunk and Reckless.
I’m sure you’ve gotten lectures against smoking. Now, cigarettes can cause cancer and heart disease, despite all the advertisements telling society the opposite not too long ago. And, once you start, being without your smokes takes a lot of getting used to! It’s a hard habit to break.
Not only tobacco, but cannabis, too?! Oh, my stars and garters! No wonder parents are peeking out the curtains every five minutes . . . they’ve seen Reefer Madness. Remember, EveryTeen, don’t try a drug just for kicks, only if you’re serious about gettin’ high. It all starts with airplane glue. Soon enough, you will be smoking pot, tripping out on LSD, and turning tricks to feed your heroin habit – all in the span of a month! So, drugs are bad, mmmkay?
Movies have certainly changed in recent years; now there is a ratings system to help your parents decide if certain movies are suitable for your eyes and ears. These ratings are G, M. R. and X. G, for general audiences, is probably the only rating you are allowed at this point, EveryTeen. M is for mature, and you’re not quite at that point yet. What is the difference between M and R? No one knows for sure. What IS know is that X is only for pervy old men in those special theatres, and no one better EVER catch you there!
Speaking of sex, this is another thing your parents worry about, although they would probably never open their prudish mouths and actually voice this. Well, what’s the danger, exactly? How about venereal diseases? There are only two to really concern yourself with – gonorrhea and syphilis (which were both on quite the rise in 1967). These are sexual diseases, so of course, they are spread sexually. Kissing can also spread disease, but the book does not clarify what disease they are specifically referring to; my money is on herpes, which isn’t even mentioned, but obviously was around at this point. Don’t worry; you cannot catch these things from the air, a toilet seat, or public drinking fountains.
And, of course, we would be remiss if we failed to mention the worst sexual disease of all – pregnancy. Remember, girls, a pregnancy will ruin your entire life. One night of unbridled, rubber-less passion could change your life in an instant! If you get pregnant, there’s no way out, so forget about finishing school or going on to college, as now your career has been chosen for you – teen mom.
[Sidebar: In a way, I wish we could get a little bit of the stigma back about teenage pregnancy. I am not advocating making the girl a social pariah; however, in recent times, the media has had a tendency to almost glorify an unfortunate situation, and this, coupled with rampant abstinence-only sex education, is really hurting society as a whole].
In short, responsibility is a two-way street. Trust in your parents and they will trust you. Or something. Phone home at all times. And don’t smoke that reefer!