“I want a new drug”- Huey Lewis
That egg always looked pretty tasty to me. You know the one I am talking about.That’s right, the one from the commercial. Yeah, that commercial. It was far too dramatic to forget. The stark white kitchen. The guy in the dress shirt with the rolled up sleeves, who happened to resemble the Dean of Boys at my junior high school. The pan. And the egg. “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” Yeah I have a question. Are you gonna put some butter or oil in that cast iron pan or not? Because that egg is just going to get all stuck to the pan if you don’t and the whole breakfast is going to be ruined. Personally I always thought the fried egg analogy for drug abuse was just too obvious and not quite the deterrent that the lovely people at the Partnership for a Drug Free America thought it would be. First of all, not everybody really likes eggs. Personally, thanks to a specific bout with car sickness while riding through the wastelands of rural South Carolina back when I was 4 on the same morining that I had eaten an egg salad sandwich, I never really cared for eggs. And the first rule for a truly effective analogy is to strike a emotional cord when introducing your analogy. By the way, the second rule of using analogies is always avoid using the word “sphincter”.
Since I don’t like eggs, comparing my brain to one was really rather pointless. Secondly, if you really wanted to drive home the dangers of drugs, use a different cooking method. I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager and we were going out to challenge the amount of toxins our bodies could intake in a single Friday night, we usually talked about going out and getting “fried”. So Mr. Sansa-belt Slacks comes along in his public service announcement and uses a visual manifestation to prove our point. Thanks for that, my now deceased brain cells appreciate it. A far better and clearly more effective warning would be to scrap the whole egg image altogether. Instead, they should have played the bacon card. EVERYBODY LOVES BACON, except for the commies and yeah those guys from P.E.T.A. who never smile( see the connection?) Bacon is love personified in porcine form. And the whole way that bacon is produced and consumed says more about the dangers of drugs than a dozen sunny-side up chicken embryos do. First, while eggs are produced one at a time and are actually part of the reproduction of rather unsanitary creatures, bacon comes in a group. Its called a slab of bacon, look the term “slab” also works as a foreshadowing of the ominiuos world of drugs. You peal off one slice of bacon away from his companions, like being the first guy tossed out of the bar, and he goes into the frying pan alone. But, he doesn’t quietly simmer like ole mr. egg. No sir, he hisses and pops and lets out little audible indications of the destructive power of the hot pan. He also begins to shrivel and brown until all that is left of him is something that resembles stringy leather. Personally, after many a Boys’ Night Out, I have looked and felt exactly the same way. Finally unlike eggs which are less than $2.00 per dozen, a good section of bacon can eat up a large part of your grocery budget.
Despite the weakness in the comparison, the fact that the “brain on drugs” ad was the first to openly identify the need to curtail the increasing intoxication of the youths of America, this warning did have an impact on me. No not back in my heyday when I was 10 feet tall and bulletproof, but years later as I retired my role as “partyboy” and took on a new one as “Dad”. I have previosly mentioned that i had fully intended on telling whatever kids I had all about my wild days and how if they just were honest with me, I would guide them through the mind altering pleasures of an alcohol and THC enriched experience. It was after I saw the delicate creature that was laid in my arms on that late May afternoon, that I saw the folly in thinking that way. And it was the “brain on drugs” ad, that creeped back into my consciousness. Whether it be bacon or eggs, I was not allowing any part of my daughter into that proverbial pan. So we advocated the abstaining from all drugs, including tobacco and alcohol for as long as my child resided under my roof. She is now 16 and we are quite proud of how she has maintained a toxin free life. My wife and I even congratulated ourselves on how well we had appleid the lessons that a public service announcement from our youth had helped us. But beware the mental high five as a parent, because it can cloud your vision.
My kid is drug free and doesn’t smoke and if those are the only things that you think you have to ward off, you are sadly mistaken. The dangers are everywhere and most are not as obvious as a joint or tab of LSD. Oh how I wish they were. There are the dangers of low self esteem. The dangers of a overly sexualized culture. A world where the technological advances have created a class of kids that don’t understand the differences between the online persona they present to strangers on the web and who they really are. Where terms like sexting and online Friends with benefits are a gateway to the kind of behavior that can endanger not just a child’s future happiness but also jeopardize their very lives. It is a world where honesty is immaterial and trust is elusive. It is a world where they grow up too soon and yet mature far too slowly. It is also a world that has so much beauty and goodness and opportunities to excell that you don’t want to shut them off from the world, but are afraid of what one misstep could mean.
You love your kids and hope they love you. You care for them and hope they understand that, because you love them you will never stop snooping or prying or asking them how their day was. It is a world where you second guess every decision you make and are always fearful of that one time when you pushed them too far. You also realize that you are in a world that you cannot control and at times you are just as lost and confused as they are. But you are a parent so you don’t give up. While most of what you do are shots in the dark that you hope find their mark, your intentions are always simple. Keep them safe and keep them happy. But at times you have to sacrifice one of these goals and so you keep them safe. You also search the world for wisdom and guidance and so strongly desire a way to have the kind of clearly planned actions that your own parents did but soon you realize they did what you are doing. Hoping to make the right choices and in the end that’s all you can do. Except there is no end, no finish line, no curtain drawing upon this morality play. There is just today and tomorrow. One minute transforming into the next. So you love your kids and hope they understand……………….
that you are just trying to keep them out of the pan.