For Adults Only, Again
On My Frequency 1Dec2014
For Adults Only, Again
I first published a version of this in 2006, when my baby girl returned from outer space and turned eighteen. Today my niece, Samantha, hits this milestone and I wanted to see if this advice stood the test of even eight years time. I believe it held up pretty well, but am struck by how much more there is to learn in this life, at any age. Anyway, Sam, here you go. Good luck kiddo.
Something magic happened today. Whereas just yesterday, a mere child in the eyes of the state, now at the kitchen table sits an adult with license to partake of the many new opportunities that society reserves for adults only. It seemed time to seize the chance to offer one last, condensed lecture series….
Congratulations, you can now buy a pack of cigarettes. Don’t. Do not join the future generations of heart disease and stroke victims for a nicotine rush today. Also, just because you can now get a tattoo or body piercing doesn’t make it a good idea. Today’s trends look ridiculous in ten years. If you want proof, let me show you my high school yearbook.
Your country is looking for a few good men and women. You can now enlist without parental consent. Military service is one of the many important ways you can be part of something bigger than yourself. Whatever form it takes, find an avenue of demanding service; in your community, at your church or in the world. Your life of relative affluence and privilege as an American demands this sacrifice, and you will be a better person for it.
You may now receive the death penalty. The lesson here is that you are now completely responsible for your actions. While many dysfunctional folks out there muddle through life, blaming everyone else for the mess they have made of things, in the eyes of the state (and Mom and Dad, I might add), you are fully accountable. This is not a threat, but a statement of enlightened fact. As a child, it was the duty of others to protect you from yourself as you developed values. Now it’s up to you.
You are free to participate any and all forms of “adult entertainment”. This is a euphemism for stuff you don’t want your mom and dad to know about. Reject cultural sewage in whatever shape it takes and do not let anyone masquerade behind free speech and victimless crime nonsense. And that goes for a lot of what is supposed to be mainstream entertainment as well. Bad girls and boys are simply bad, not role models. Take a stand for common decency – it’s easier than you think and you’ll like yourself a lot better in the long run.
You may now vote, and come next November, do so. Youthful voters are legendarily absent at the polls, so be part of the trend reversal. As for party affiliation, don’t sweat it. Use your common sense worldview, remember that government is mostly designed to do for people what they cannot (not will not) do for themselves, and take your best shot. Ignore the ridiculous partisan bickering of your elders.
Of course, you are now of legal age to marry without parental consent. A wise sage once said that 90% of all the happiness or suffering in life comes from your decision of a life partner. Take it easy. A good rule of thumb is to not marry until you’ve made your first million or reached the age of 30. In the meantime, carry yourself around men like you are something valuable and special, because you are, and demand that they act accordingly.
And yet, some things remain beyond your legal grasp. The demon rum must wait another three years. Ask your cousin Brandon, the State Trooper, about the tragedies he sees on the job before you revel in that first drink. Remember, nobody starts out to be a drunk. On a more uplifting note, your run for President must wait another 17 years, plenty of time to get yourself prepared to face the challenges of the next generation. We are handing you a world of problems to solve, so get a great education. You’ll need it.
There’s much more to be said, but this is probably well beyond the attention span of someone who already pretty much knows everything. Remember where you came from, find your own way to God, and no matter what life hands you, reject victimhood. You come from a long line of hard heads and battle-axes, which ought to serve you well. Welcome to the adult world, baby girl…and call your mother, she worries.
Checking the gauges,