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Son, I couldn’t help but notice that you’re thirteen and not a complete social outcast. The friends periodically appearing around our house seem well-adjusted, you take an interest in your own hygiene, and the family computer hasn’t popped up with any cookies for arms dealers and their online loopholes. Your grades are pretty good too, so my second-worst fears about you not getting into college are nothing to worry about. That said, my medium-fears are worth discussing.
Purely based on probability, one of these tweens you hang around will have access to drugs. My guess is that it’ll be Tony; he’s a smart-mounted little twerp and I decided from the first day I met him that I didn’t like him. There’s a secondary group of older burnout friends or possibly a futureless sibling in Tony’s mix, I can sense it. Possibly this person or group infiltrates your friend circle and then one day, out of the blue, this individual or group representative—someone far cooler than I or Tony could ever hope to be—passes you a jibber joint, unmarked pill, or USB drive filled with nitrous gas.
I don’t need your false pity, son. I know, I know—bass player in a dad band, officer in the local Audubon Society chapter, voted “Best Eyes” in the office’s annual superlatives—it certainly seems like a recipe for one hip cat.
What? Oh. You said you didn’t say anything?
Anyways, this groovy libertine will pass you the muscle-relaxing topical tar or the hallucinatory suppository. A soft, saccharine smile will creep across their broad, nihilistic face. Comply to take, huff, or insert their offering and they will undoubtedly beam, basking in their own influence and, for that moment, you will feel accepted by this figure or figures. Their prideful eyes will burn—one of us forever. Everything will start feel in perfect balance, though that’s probably just the drugs.
“Sure, I’ll snort, smoke, or spore cultivate whatever,” is the easy answer. These people, though, do not have eyes for you, I’m afraid. Your willingness and will only be used by them in order to rationalized their questionable decisions and further justify that their life is okay. “This kid’s thirteen and already bunghole-ripping whippits laced with hand sanitizer. He’s the mess,” they’ll say. “I have restraint,” they’ll reason, “I waited for that until I was fourteen-and-a-half.”
As your dad, it’s my responsibility to tell you that these interactions never go as they are depicted in movies, or health class, or health class movies. This person offering teenagers drugs is rarely a giant, middle-aged ex-convict with a scar though his face who happens to “bump into you” outside his drug lair or home made of shadows. On a whim, this addict has decided that you seem like the type who should take drugs and spend your life him. I’ve never once heard of this happening, but obviously, if you’re ever approached this way—ominous music or not—run, don’t walk, away.
I’m telling you all this to be prepared. If you want me to throw on some skinny jeans and get a cooler haircut to run scenarios with you, I’m game. Really, you’re a great kid and I want you to be able to get into whichever college you want.
In college, of course, taking drugs is a normal, acceptable, expected practice.