Saturday, January 25, 2014

Except for that time when the towels melted...

Rogue Valley Roasting Company
16oz Soy Mocha
Breakfast Burrito

I have never done drugs.

No, seriously.  Except for that one time I took maybe too much Ambien and decided to brush my teeth instead of going straight to bed, I have never watched my hand towels get all melty.  When I told a friend once that I had never even smoked pot, he informed me, flatly, that I was lying.  When I insisted that, though I do occasionally drink, I had never even been drunk, he protested, incredulously, "You're from Santa Cruz!" 

To put that in perspective for those of you who are not familiar with that cradle of hippy/surfer culture, the student body at UC Santa Cruz chose their mascot to be the Fighting Banana Slug.  Yeah, it's a pretty high little town.  And yet, it remains true that, outside of a possible - okay, several possible - contact highs, I have never felt the desire to get baked.  It's just not for me.

I totally support the legalization of marijuana - so long as it's regulated so that I don't have to partake.  I don't judge anyone who smokes it, legally or illegally.  So long as it doesn't affect me, what do I care?  This is not a morality-based abstinence, either.  I don't have any religious doctrine that I am trying to adhere to.  I just evaluated what I knew of myself, what I knew of the way these substances affected people generally, and I came to the conclusion that I just didn't want to go there.  I didn't have to go through the whole process of experimentation to the stereotypical crash and burn-out.  I just recognized that I had real problems and none of that stuff was going to help with with any them.  In fact, they would almost definitely make things worse.

And that brings me to Bieber.

Not because I give a hoot about young Mr. Bieber, pro or con, but he is yet another embodiment of this myth of the misspent youth.  Despite all the hype, despite all the punchlines, there is nothing that says that you have to go crazy when you're young.  Just because you are and should be open to new experiences, that doesn't mean you have to try all of them.  You never in your life have to experience being black-out drunk.  You never have to take a single sip of alcohol if you don't want to.

Partying, promiscuity, and other self-destructive, self-indulgent behaviors, are not, in fact, just part of being young.  You can do those things on your journey to self-discovery.  You just don't have to.  I, for one, don't see how it's fun to destroy or steal other people's property, to endanger yourself and others in these insane pranks that are posted all over the internet.  I don't see the appeal of putting yourself in the situation where you have zero control over yourself and are completely at the mercy of and are a burden to the people around you.  Sorry guys, not for me.

This general assumption that kids are supposed to go crazy pushes people into doing things that aren't safe or, really, normal.  I think of my nieces and nephews, some of whom are starting college soon.  To them, especially, I want to say: you should be open, but you should still be mindful.  Treat yourself and others with respect and without judgement.  You can be centered in yourself without being self-centered.

And to Mr. Bieber and all the other young celebrities to come - settle down, son.  Your life will not be a waste if you don't get wasted all the time.  You don't have to act out, you don't have to buy all the expensive flashy crap your money allows.  None of this will do much to teach you who you are or who you want to be.  You might find your limits, but this is not the only way to figure that out.  Nor is it necessary to.  How will finding out how many beers it takes to get belligerent with the police help you discover that cause that becomes your passion?

Oo - I have an idea.  Shave your head!

Now, hear me out... 

I shaved my head a few years back (and, Bieleb me, my hair was even more impressive than yours) to raise money for St. Baldrick's Foundation.  They are a charity that raises money to fund research into cures for childhood cancers.  Ever since then, I have been fixated on the idea of various celebrities shaving their heads - probably because I could only raise a few hundred dollars.  Imagine how much someone with hair of that notoriety could raise...  What a great way to redeem yourself, Justin...  Wouldn't that feel so much more fulfilling than what you're doing now?

Okay - I want this to happen.  This must be a thing now, peoples.  Help me make it happen!  #ShaveYourHeadJustinBieber!  For the children... ;-)

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