Sunday, February 06, 2005


I spent two days last week watching a bunch of different motivational speakers trying to convince my students that drugs are, in fact, bad.

Those are not the exact words they choose. Since they've apparently done some research into the matter, they've discovered that actually "drugs are bad" is ineffective. Instead, they use the phrase "make good choices."

As a result of this, the anti-drug speakers usually take the time to discuss how kids make all sorts of bad choices, like getting pregnant or burning houses down - both of which were discussed during this two days of drug free education/propaganda.

The arson thing was particularly cool. This college football player discussed how, as a kid, he made a "bad choice" and burned down a person's house. He was convicted of felony arson. He had a hard time finding a school that would let him play football when he got out of jail, but he finally did. Now, he has turned his life around by - ready? - not committing any more acts of arson.

See kids? Making a good choice is easy! If this guy can choose to hold back his urge to burn down houses, surely you can choose not to have sex unless God says it is ok.

We had an hour-long motivational talk on "garbage in, garbage out." During this one, the speaker explained how when you listen to Eminem or watch a movie with bad values, it changes the way you think and behave. Thus, if you would be careful to only listen to and watch nice, good things, you will never do a bad thing in your life, like swear or smoke ice.

Immediately after this, we had a speaker who explained that one good way to keep yourself from doing ice when you get the urge is to listen to an album you like or to watch a film you like. He said, "for example, if you like Eminem, you should listen to Eminem."

I was hoping that he and the previous motivational speaker would get into a fistfight, but apparently I was the only one who noticed that the programs were starting to send the kids mixed messages because the previous motivational speaker kept nodding in enthusiastic agreement. It was almost like watching stand up comedians supporting each other - like the guy was saying, "I don't agree with a word you are saying, but I will enthusiastically support your right to contradict everything I just said because you, like me, ended up as a motivational speaker."

We had a kid - probably about 20 - come in to speak to the students about the dangers of drunk driving. He had severe brain damage from - yes - drunk driving. Apparently, he had gotten really drunk and slammed into a tree while driving. He walked on crutches and spoke with a stutter. The problem was, when he spoke about his accident, for some reason, he kept talking about how much he had liked drinking and how great drinking was and how many beers he would drink and how much fun he would have when he was drunk. He concluded by talking about how some of his friends drank and drove as much as he did and had never gotten so much as a ticket.

I could see some of the kids in the audience thinking about this. One said to me afterwards, "Mr. Michaels, I figure he was probably 1 out 20 people in his group of friends who drank regularly, and he is the only one who this happened to. That means that there is really only a 5% chance that that will happen to me. I figure the odds are in my favor. So why shouldn't I drink and drive?"

All I could say was what I was taught which was, "drinking is bad."

"Oh, all right. In that case, I won't do it."

He rolled his eye and walked away, but at least if he does die in a car accident, I can say "I told him drinking was bad... and the whole school told him that good choices are better than bad choices."

We might not be saving any kids, but, damn, our asses are covered. Yes!


Blogger Christoph said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Christoph said...

You have a one-eyed student?


This post has been approved by its author. Kay?

10:45 AM  
Blogger J. Michaels said...

He has a lazy eye.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still here.

6:46 PM  

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