To borrow from Ecclesiastes, it is a time to laugh...and a time to dance. Prom season. Unfortunately it is also often a time to weep...a time to mourn. Too much revelry after proms and graduations. It isn't supposed to work that way.
Recently we were having dinner in Idaho Falls. The restaurant was packed with young couples. The young men were freshly shaven and shorn sporting tuxedos no one past high school would think of wearing. And loving it. The girls radiated with fancy dos, flowers and formals. Hoop skirts seemed to be the fashion of the evening and it was wonderfully entertaining to watch the young ladies negotiate them. The dining room literally glowed with excitement and good humor. It brought back a flood of wonderful memories. That's what it's supposed to be about.
The first of the local headlines on the other end of the spectrum hit the paper this week end. Kids crammed into an SUV. Drinking. At least one dead. Fifteen years old. Other than senseless war, this time of year probably takes more of our young than any other. I could see the pain in the face of one mother being interviewed. In essence she said you can tell them, warn them until you're blue in the face and there will be times when they still make the wrong decision.
One dead. The seventeen year old driver at fault and facing life long consequences. Not only from the legal penalties he will have to pay but having to live with the consequences of his actions.
I think back on our accident and a comment my physical therapist made while discussing the beating my body took. You put a mass of soft tissue, bone and muscle into a steel cage, send it hurtling down the highway at speeds you cannot run and when something intervenes it crumples like tin foil. What do you expect?
It's a sense of invulnerability the young have. Even the idea "it can't happen to me" is hard to shake even as you mature. But, oh, yes it can.
I think of this bunch of youngsters out to have a good time, drinking with no thought of the consequences. I doubt the recent tribulations of Paris Hilton even entered their minds. For her sake part of her punishment should probably include having to face the parents and friends of these kids and make restitution for having been a lousy role model.
Sometimes, too, the parents bear a large part of the responsibility. They buy the booze for the kids. Don't buy booze for the kids. It's illegal for crying out loud. If you do, you may well be crying out loud!