site stats WhizGidget Wonders...
Monday, June 09, 2008
Something Is Clearly Bass-Ackwards Here...
...I was reading the paper recently and found an article that was headlined "Teen Drinking Could Become Costly - For {town name removed} Parents". The headline alone made me raise an eyebrow; first because it's where my ILs live and secondly because it's a strange headline.

In reading the article I find that the code is going to change in the town with regards to teenage drinking. What? A change needs to happen? Apparently it needs to be brought up to date and in line with surrounding communities.

Color me naive, but apparently teenagers *can* drink. The new language says that parents are responsible for supervision of minors if they're drinking and says you cannot have a party that has alcohol, minors and no parents. It also says now that police who are called to the party a second time, or who return a second time without a report from someone can recoup costs. Costs can start at $500.

This is a rather affluent town we're speaking about, so $500 is going to be a small sting, but one nonetheless. Perhaps I'm stereotyping about wealthy people.

But that aside, we're talking about underage drinking here. Apparently we *can* let our teenagers get drunk in our homes at a party as long as we're there and keeping it under control (meaning no neighbors call the cops). Excuse me?

That's a lot different than offering your teen a glass of wine at a private family dinner, or a beer during the SuperBowl. We're talking a party, with other kids. No wonder all the stereotypical teen movies of the 80s existed - "let's go to Bobby's house, he's got a keg!".

Perhaps I'm naive, but I never knew any such code existed. Underage drinking is a no-no. Teens aren't supposed to drink, that's why there's a legal drinking age. Yes, it's a guideline for many, as I mentioned above that some will offer a glass of wine or a beer to their teenager in their own home on a special occasion. I find that significantly different than a party atmosphere.

These codes are a direct conflict to the supplying alcohol to a minor offense. It's not clear if there's a first call by an officer that they can ticket the adult present for such an offense. They *should* because that's what it is. But this code is contradictory and implies that it's OK to have a party with alcohol present and minors drinking.

What kind of example does this set? I know teenage drinking hasn't been a hot button for years now, as those who think they're in charge of social mores have been more focused on teenage sex and drug problems. And literacy (after all, no child left behind, right?). But here we have opportunity for teenagers, whose common sense occasionally goes dormant during the teen years, to start drinking. For parents to throw parties and provide the alcohol.

I remember when I was in high school someone used to brag about how their parents were cool and they'd have parties and drink. I never thought it true until I went to the high school graduation party at their house (the whole class was invited, thus the reason I was actually invited to this person's house). There were big plastic tubs, cans of beer and soda available to anyone who walked through. That was the first time I picked up a beer (I was already acquainted with harder liquor and I won't get into why or how).

Coors. Terrible stuff.

A friend noticed that I wasn't happy and offered me a sip of his Bud. Even worse. Clearly I was not a beer drinker and held onto that for years. Apparently I've come to be a beer snob. Coors and Bud are horse piss. Give me Boddington's (an ale), Weinhard's, Gordon Biersch, Widmer, and the granddaddy of them all - Guiness. I have, on occasion, pulled a Corona and survived without saying 'ew' in polite company - actually, I thought it to be pretty good. But I digress...

Parents can throw parties with alcohol and minors can drink said alcohol and it's OK. Because they're being supervised. What's next? Legalizing drugs and saying drug parties are OK if they're supervised? I know, that's a real reach but it would fall into the same category.

What really gets me is this - there are going to be parents who are going to look at the fine and say "eh, we just have to make sure they behave themselves" while they're tapping the keg. There are parents who are going to say it's OK if the kids are supervised. There are going to be other parents who might not know or realize that their teenager is going to a party where alcohol will be served. To tell the truth, I'm not really worried about teenagers developing a drinking problem from something like this...

...I'm more worried about the 'thinking problem' that they're going to learn from their parents.