“If you’re going to get stoned, go to Taco Bell first.”
Every person at some time or another feels the need to blow off a little steam and have some fun. Get rowdy, crazy, out of their mind. Turns out that is a natural part of the human condition. Dr. Andrew Weil, in his book “The Natural Mind,” describes the phenomenon as it often manifests itself in children. They spin themselves in circles, hang upside down from monkey bars, roll down hills, etc. All done with the promise of a tiny window into an altered consciousness.
I truly believe this desire is innate – we’re born this way (yes, Lady Gaga is right sometimes.) I even noticed it in my own child no long after becoming a mom. At the ripe old age of two months, my daughter loved to lie on my lap, then push herself away from me just enough to allow her to hang her head off my knees and see the world upside down. It was such a common occurrence that I would warn people holding her for the first time about her propensity to jettison herself off a lap. The warning was an attempt to protect both my child and my friend from a mishap.
There is no doubt in my mind that this impulse stays with us throughout our lives. And we all succumb to it in one way or another. Some use substances, others meditate, still others seek the adrenaline rush known as the “runner’s high.” There are myriad ways to alter ones consciousness in the world today. Furthermore, as technology increases our access to everything under the sun, the options continue to expand.
Perhaps at no time in our lives are we more susceptible to the temptation to give into this desire than during adolescence. New experiences, paired with the natural rebellious nature of teens and the allure of taboo substances is often too good to pass up. I can tell you from experience that, for some kids, no lectures, education, etc., will keep them from choosing to alter their consciousness with the use of drugs and/or alcohol.
Armed with this knowledge, I needed a way to make it clear to my kids that if they are going to make a decision like that, it behooves them to be as safe as possible about it. Akin to a lesson on safe sex, this is a lesson on safe, for lack of a better word, partying.
“If you’re going to get stoned, stop at Taco Bell first.” After all, pot leads to munchies, which leads to the need to consume large amounts of junk food. What a bummer it would be to smoke a blunt and then not have any food to eat, right? Talk about harshing a mellow!
Seriously though, the point is to make sure you have made your environment as safe as possible if you intend to imbibe. Secure a ride/driver, make sure you know and trust your companions, be sure you’re in a safe place, not some crack house down the street. Make no mistake, as hyperbolic as this may sound, even kids with the best upbringing occasionally make poor choices. I just wanted mine armed with the knowledge of how to protect themselves as best as possible. . A metaphorical condom for substance use, if you will. Thankfully, this condom comes with a reminder on many street corners in our nation; after all Taco Bell is a national chain.
Looking back, I guess I could have used the age old “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But what fun is that?