To my slightly used brain it doesn’t appear that there is any real sanity in the world today, much less in the hallways of our schools. Kids today are not really a lot different from the ones I knew back in my high school years, except they have a few more challenges than I did when I was a teen.
While we had alcohol, we didn’t have to deal with it because we knew our parents would deal with us if they found that we were even in the presence of the devil’s brew. Growing up a good Southern Baptist, my mother believed that imbibing in beer, wine or whiskey was a mortal sin. As a result, the kids of my crowd in high school didn’t have much contact with drinking.
Drugs definitely were not a problem at our old high school, probably because most of us didn’t know anything about them. All we knew about heroin was what we saw on the huge screen at the drive-in and judging from the hell addicts on the screen were enduring, it didn’t seem to be worth the effort to even experiment with such a thing.
We wouldn’t have known where to find it even if we’d wanted to give it a try. Drugs, to us, were something the doctor gave you when you broke your arm or when the dentist was going to pull a tooth. We weren’t bombarded every day with television programming depicting dopers and drugs.
School violence today is a very scary concern for students and parents alike. There are many reasons for young people to kill each other today, but most of them have to do with drugs. In the high school years of my past, there was only one reason for a fight, always with fists and never with a gun or knife. Girls!
If violence had erupted in school yards back then, it would have been because of a girl! A guy’s honor had to be avenged if there had been a perceived encroachment into the vows of “going steady.” There was a lot of posturing back then, but I can’t remember a single fight. I would have remembered one, if only for the entertainment value.
The same thing happens today, just as it has since the beginning of time. But girls today are different. They’re all movie stars! Girls back then simply didn’t look as they do today. If today’s girls had appeared on our school yards, we would have thought they’d gotten there by way of a time machine! Violence is certainly more serious than it was at my old high school.
I can’t remember there ever being a serious fight from the time I was in the first grade until I graduated from high school. Sure, there was a certain amount of posturing by boys during that time, but I can’t recall a single punch being thrown. Maybe there was violence, but since it wasn’t scattered all over television, we never knew about it.
There was a menacing collection of characters that was called the rock gang, assumingly because they sat on a rock wall on the edge of the school ground, jeering and taunting anyone who walked within shouting distance. After a while they became more of a joke than a threat.
Today’s’ school shootings appear to have much darker motives than someone’s love life being toyed with by an outsider. Reasons for these atrocities range from someone emptying a shotgun into a crowded classroom because they were failing algebra, to slaughtering classmates in the hallway because the devil told them to do it!
A lot has been written about our “troubled teens”, but I can only recall one guy that you could classify as “troubled”. His nickname was Nickel Nelson because everyone he approached he shouted at them to “Gimme a nickel!” He would then roll his eyes, shake maniacally, then spit on the ground and shriek, “Gimme a nickel!” Everyone gave him a nickel! Twenty years later I heard that he owned a large Chevy dealership in Kentucky, an AA baseball team, hockey team and a Division II Arena football team. He was our most “Troubled Teen”. Who knew?