Hey Michael Phelps, Let’s Party!

Everyone does it.  Well, I didn’t.

I never thought I would be able to say that I could do anything that Michael Phelps could not, but today I realize that I can do something that he can never do.  I can say that I have never done drugs.  He, obviously, cannot.

I have made some mistakes I my life.  I remember drinking a few times when I was in high school.  I remember driving recklessly on some occasions, and regrettably I remember doing both on a couple of occasions.  I remember bullying one kid a little, and I regret that also, but for the most part I was a good kid.

I had lots of friends, and tons of acquaintances.  As a result, during my junior and senior years I was invited to several parties.  At these, there would always be alcohol, and occasionally the stakes were higher.

I remember one night several of my friends did something pretty stupid.  There were five of us.  We had just purchased food at the local Taco Bell, and we were about to get into the car to leave when a car full of hot girls pulled up and started to talk to us.  No lie.  It was like a scene out of Porky’s or something.  They were leaning and yelling out of the windows of the car, “Hey, do you guys want to go to a party?”  As God is my witness, it happened just like that.  Of course, if we had taken just a moment to analyze the situation, we would have noticed that: 1) no of us were the studs of our high school (though we were not horribly disfigured), 2) these girls were really nice looking, 3) and they looked a little older than us.  No, we did not consider any of this, because we were 16 year old boys full of hormones.

So, we hopped in the car and followed them.  We drove to an apartment out by Lewisville Lake, and followed them into it.  Several things were instantly apparent.  First, this was no sorority bash.  All of the girls had boyfriends there, and the boyfriends did look older than us.  Second, we were not prepared for a party in any way.  We had no alcohol of any kind, and the partiers were not offering any.  And third, these people were doing a lot more than drinking.  There were several couples engaging in what was sure to become sex at some point, and the smell of pot was in the air.  I was confused at first, not knowing what to do, then a girl offered me a pill.  It was ecstasy.  I was not prepared, but since I had decided long before that I did not want to ever do drugs, I was able to fall back on my default answer, “No thanks.”  A friend and I sat with our backs near the door for a while watching what was going on and feeling uncomfortable.  Finally I suggested that we leave which we did.  Honestly, these kinds of stupid decisions are how people end up in 55 gallon barrels at the bottom of a lake.  We had no idea where these girls were taking us or what would happen when we got there.

On another occasion, I went to a party with some friends at a house where a member of the quasi-successful local area band ESFM (the Electric Sheep Farming Method- no lie) had the house to himself (no parents) for the weekend.  This time I was in a place where I knew all of the people, and they liked me.  I had brought some alcohol, and was drunk before long.

There were about two dozen people at the party, and after a while, I noticed that they were all taking turns stepping out into the backyard.  They were smoking pot, and after a few minutes, one of my friends asked me if I wanted some.  This was my big opportunity, and it was the situation where most kids fall.  I was with friends, and they were having a good time.  All I had to do was say, ‘yes,’ but I was faced with my own reasons that I had determined long before that day.  I knew that some things could limit you and your future possibilities in life, and pot was one of those things.  Since I did not know exactly what I wanted to be in life, I reasoned that I shouldn’t do anything that would limit my possibilities.  So, I said, “No, that’s OK.”

I was expecting a scene out of Reefer Madness or some after school special to unfold in which they all surrounded me and ritualistically ostracized me from the group while baiting me into taking the drugs at the same time.  It did not happen.  In fact, they were extremely nice about it.  Honestly, at the time I believed that they were actually going outside to smoke for my benefit.  In retrospect, it seems more likely that they did not want pot smell to permeate the house for the parents of the guy who lived there to smell when they returned.  I stayed at the party and enjoyed myself with my friend late into the evening.

These little victories were important in a teen ager’s battle not to partake in what everyone else was doing, and they made me feel good about myself, and stronger if I should have had to face the same thing again.  I thought that I was the only one, but I still have a friend that I met about a year later who also says that he never did drugs, and I’m sure that he had opportunities (being in a band well into his late twenties).

This brings me to the Michael Phelps situation.  It’s a real shame.  Here we had a young man that could have been the poster-boy for clean, positive, American achievement, and he lost it all when he put his mouth on a bong like everyone else at the party was doing.  It can’t be undone, and the pictures can’t be unseen.  In so many ways, Michael Phelps proved how different and stronger he was that the average human being.  His discipline can probably be only matched by a few people in the world.  However, he knew what the consequences of smoking pot were for him.  His handlers had warned him over and over, but he chose to do so anyway.  He chose to be just like everyone else, average.  And now, his incredible Olympic legacy will forever be tainted by a picture of him with dumb-face toking on a bong.  Sad.

Like Father…

Jesus Barragan has added a whole new demension to “Take Your Child to Work Day,” but I dod not think this is going to get him any Father of the Year nominations.  Funny,

What is Family Television?

My wife has always been a big ‘family television’ viewer.  She has seen every episode of The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Touched by an Angel, and Highway to Heaven.  She still watches the Hallmark Channel on a daily basis, and if she is already watching one of the shows when I enter the room, I’ll sit and listen as if I am interested, but the whole time I am counting the minutes until it is over.

I, on the other hand, am no goodie-two-shoes when it comes to television, but I may be a nerd.  Most of the programming that I watch is on one of the channels owned by Discovery.  I watch a lot of sports, some reality based TV (Survivor, The Amazing Race, and American Idol), and a lot of the movies that are on the premium channels.  I watch very little scripted television mainly because the writing is usually not very good.  I watched the Sopranos religiously, but the dialogue on a show like CSI, for example, just hurts my head.

7th Heaven:

Several years ago my wife and I started watching 7th Heaven.  For the first few seasons, it was very enjoyable.  However, I remember a specific episode when one of the local elected officials was discovered having an affair.  Surprisingly, there was the reverend with as much angst as his character had ever shown preaching to the audience that it was ‘none of their business’ what the man was doing at home.  It seemed a little coincidental that President Clinton had just gone through the Monica Lewinski scandal.  At the time, I was offended that the writers of a show that purported itself to be a ‘family’ show about a minister and his wife trying to raise good kids, would slap their audience in the face in this manner.  I found myself watching it less and less, and pretty soon it was off my radar.  It was a good thing also, because the show devolved into an opportunity for the liberal writers to get their message out to a conservative audience, and later it devolved into one of the worst written soap operas on television.

The ABC Family Channel:

If you look way up in the numbers on most cable television plans, you will find the ABC Family Channel.  Don’t be fooled.  This is no more of a ‘family’ oriented channel than TLC is a ‘learning’ channel.  I just looked up tonight’s programming and found two episodes of That 70s Show followed by that wholesome movie Mean Girls (please read the last line with appropriate sarcasm).  There is nothing ‘family’ about any of this.  I don’t even give them credit for attempting to socially engineer their audience.  They are simply hoping that parents are letting their children watch this ‘family’ programming in order to get their ratings up.  I personally cannot think of a time when I will feel that slightly disguised sexual innuendos and drug humor are going to be appropriate for my daughter to watch before she is an adult.

This week, I was watching a movie that I can’t even remember the name of, and went to the ‘guide’ on my DVR.  I know I was on HBO, because I noticed one of the programs being offered for my viewing pleasure on the HBO Family Channel.  It was called All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise.  Smelling a rat, I looked at the information on the show.  It said, “Feature-length chronicle of a precedent-setting 2004 cruise, in which Rosie O’Donnell and her family joined hundreds of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight families on a weeklong trip from NYC to the Bahamas and back.”  Holy Crap!  This is what HBO is passing off as ‘family’ programming?

Of course, this is not family programming.  It is a blatant attempt by HBO and the disgusting Rosie O’Donnell at social engineering.  Period.  This would not even be considered programming outside of the gay and lesbian context.  There are no other programs on HBO family chronicling the trips of say the Smith family to the Grand Canyon.  I was appalled.  I don’t mind the gays having their own programming such as Bravo or here! TV (heck, I even watch Top Chef), but this is a clear offensive (and I mean that in the military sense).

They would do well to remember that America does not support this type of thing.  It has already expressed its opinion in several state bans on gay marriage, and with the number of states involved, a national constitutional referendum is a real possibility.  People will simply not put up with this sort of thing, and they will vote with their feet.