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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Past Tense

posted by on November 2 at 10:45 AM


Having “the talk” about drugs with your teenager can be pretty darn stressful—particularly for parents who used to do drugs themselves. So take a Xanax a half an hour or so before the talk. But check with your doctor first to make sure that Xanax doesn’t have any negative interactions with the Zoloft you’re taking for your depression. And wait until after lunch, so that you’re head is clear of the lingering aftereffects of the Ambien you took to get to sleep last night. And if you still have an erection—one that’s lasted four hours or more—from the Viagra you took this morning before the kids got up, postpone the talk for now and go to an emergency room right away. You can have that talk with your kids about how you used to drugs some other time.

But make sure your kids take their Ritalin before you leave for the ER.

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Word. I didn't smoke pot or drink until I was twenty, anyway, probably because my parents didn't have a talk with me. Although I remember being super pissed at age 17 when they *thought* I had been smoking pot and showed up at my pizza job and paid for a pizza in cash that had *420* written all over it and giggled. They were probably high.

Posted by Glasses | November 2, 2008 10:59 AM

That is a brilliant post, Dan. People are fucking hypocrites. Most people huff and puff on their cigarettes, smugly looking down on "potheads," and never see the irony.

Posted by Tracy | November 2, 2008 11:20 AM

Dan the talk can't be done today, it's Sunday and after church we're going to the "Save Marriage from the Homos" rally. We're taking a little something to give us that awake feeling, it should kick in soon.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 2, 2008 11:47 AM

And make sure you know how to spell "Ritalin" before you give it to your kids.

Posted by Andy Niable | November 2, 2008 12:03 PM

Damn. I even tried to look it up.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 2, 2008 12:31 PM

great post. I'm 29 and having the same debate with my parents. They're doped up on all of the above yet give me a hard time for getting baked when I'm stressed out. Go figure, they keep drinking the republican kool aid but won't acknoledge the hypocracy of there stance considering they do more drugs than I do...

Posted by random poster | November 2, 2008 12:51 PM

It's okay, Dan--it's the (drug that starts and ends with X--your spam filter won't let me use it's name).

All drugs should be palindromes, if only so it's easier to remember the spelling.

Posted by Andy Niable | November 2, 2008 1:25 PM

My parents already had the talk with me. My mother was smoking a joint when her water broke (two months early)...and she and Dad finished it on the way to the hospital. There's a reason I love my parents. Also, my dad warned me a lot, "don't buy pot from people you don't know."

Posted by Leslie N. | November 2, 2008 3:46 PM

My mother told me in high school that she'd rather have my brother and myself smoking pot in the basement than going somewhere and drinking, because then she'd know where we were. And also that we wouldn't be getting into any trouble, because when you smoke pot you tend to be peaceful and not wanting to go anywhere. We wouldn't be doing the dangerous, stupid things kids do when they're drunk. Mom just wanted us to be safe.

Posted by Abby | November 2, 2008 3:52 PM

I think telling teens about drinking is a bit late, as most kids actually start between 8 and 12.


What you do matters more than what you say. You guys see me drinking, but that's when I'm at a drinking location, so your perception may vary.

Traveling to the UK, France, Germany etc when I was a teen made me realize it's better to realize at an earlier age that other places don't make such a deal about this stuff.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 2, 2008 4:55 PM

The knee-jerk vocabulary and assumptions of the "just say no" juggernaut are so ingrained in society that even people nominally capable of thinking for themselves often fail at giving a credible talk to their kids.

I recommend Andrew Weil and Winifred Rosen's From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs.

Posted by rob | November 2, 2008 5:59 PM

i've had the talk. it consisted of "don't get caught by the police. don't do it when you're at school. don't fuck up your grades. don't drive drunk. stay where you are or call & we'll get you. any time. use judgement. did i mention not geting caught by the police?"

Posted by maxsolomon@home | November 2, 2008 6:01 PM

I live in Europe about half the time. People do not make a big deal about public use of alcohol (people drinking beer, and even harder stuff on the subway is common) or weed (not so much in public).

What they ARE intolerant about is driving the slightest bit buzzed or otherwise fucked up. Do this, and you will be smacked down HARD.

So, despite the USA boosting its hollow image of the land of personal freedom, in foofie Europe one finds personal freedom, with the flip side of the expectation of responsibility. Get fucked up on anything you want, we don't care. Just don't endanger anyone else.

Having great public transit, and ubiquitous taxis helps a lot, too.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | November 2, 2008 6:57 PM

your header could have been "this life on drugs" in humorous reference to dominic holden's fine weekly post.

anyway, point taken. most of my family is on some kind of daily scrip to keep them (and those around them) from slow corrosive meltdown. it's a wonderful life.

a hit of pot is the least of anyone's problems. fucking neurotic puritans writing the rules, the rest of us pretending to follow them.

Posted by ellarosa | November 2, 2008 7:22 PM

Ha Ha. It's all fun and games until your kid is going to a middle school where more than 1 in 10 kids is stoned by noon 3 out of 5 days a week. You all really think they are ALL going to be able to keep up their grades doing that? You are really going to tell your kids "Just don't get caught!" What percentage of kids who start smoking dope in middle school are going to be keeping up their grades right on through high school and having the focus to stick with activities they were formerly passionate about during that time? What percentage of kids not keeping up and/or losing passion about what they love is acceptable, and what percentage should be an acceptable risk to a parent?

"Just don't get caught by the police" ain't the risk it once was. Now getting caught can lose you a chance a scholarships or student aid!

Dan, you made a flip post about a serous issue. It reminded me again about how much you wanted the Iraq war after a long period of amnesia.

I think the problem with the "just say no" DARE campaign isn't the "just say no" part , its the lying, the demonization, and the crappy job they do.

Posted by mirror | November 2, 2008 11:22 PM

I did a 2-page comic called "How D'Ya Talk About Drugs With Your Kid?" for the Stranger in 2002. It goes into all of this stuff. I have it posted on my site:

(It was a follow-up to the infamous "How D'Ya Smoke Pot and Stay Out of Jail?", which inspired an outraged sixth-grade teacher to get his entire class to write to me about how I should have my hands chopped off.)

Posted by Ellen Forney | November 3, 2008 12:10 AM

@16- Did the school teacher ever write back to explain WHY he showed that article to his students? Did he also show them the massage ads at the back of the paper, and did they write adorably-outraged letters to "Hot TS Toni"?

Posted by ams | November 3, 2008 2:28 AM

As far as grades and pot go, my husband smoked pot through middle school and until he went into the Marines (as an officer candidate and potential pilot of military aircraft - he did quit several months before so all the chemicals were out of his system).
He also graduated from both middle school and high school in the top 5% of his wealthy neighborhood California school classes and was pretty high up on his college grades as well.
He now flies for a major US air carrier and hasn't touched pot in over 35 years. The SECOND he is retired he's lighting up.
I think there is more to the lack of motivation in kids who smoke pot than just the pot.

Posted by Gindy | November 3, 2008 3:43 AM

I wish pot would be legalized just so that the stoners who can't shut up about pot would finally shut up about pot.

Posted by Sleestak | November 3, 2008 10:09 AM

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