I guess I've been in the mood lately for lighter stories, and as I've told all my friends, I don't do anything on this blog I'm not in the mood for, since I'm not really actively cultivating an audience.
And this flap over George W. talking about smoking dope in his riotous youth fits in the "light" category. C'mon, the guy was a partier back then -- did anybody seriously think for a moment he *didn't* smoke marijuana? It wouldn't surprise me a bit to find out that he dabbled in more serious drugs.
Just about everybody I know that is now between the ages of 40 and 60 smoked marijuana at one time or another; it was part of the culture at the time. Even cocaine wasn't a big deal (outside of it being expensive and the "rich man's high"); in my drug education as a kid, I was told that it wasn't addictive. I never tried it, but I might have if I'd had the opportunity. I was never really into partying that much -- there were other things I wanted to do with my life, but like most people who were teenagers in the 70s, I did dabble a bit.
Now, that all of us are grown up and have kids of our own, we have collective amnesia. Somewhere around 1985, everything flip-flopped and the world turned Puritan. Sex was dangerous because of AIDS, and we earnestly warn our kids about "gateway drugs", which is just an updated version of the "if you smoke marijuana, you'll end up addicted to heroin" argument we used to laugh at when we were young. And, unlike our own parents, we include tobacco and alcohol in the mix. And, unlike ourselves, our own kids listen to the message.
Is this hypocritical? Yeah, just a bit. But even though this amuses me, as a parent I understand it. My own kids seem incredibly naive compared to my friends and I at the same age -- and I'm glad that they are. I don't want them doing what I did, because some of the things I did were really stupid and it's only by sheer luck that I didn't end up in trouble -- and all of those in our age group knew people that did. So, that's what I emphasize when I talk to my kids. My son has no interest in partying, being a pretty straight, rule-following kind of kid generally. My daughter has more curiosity, which usually takes the form of "What would you do if I did that?", and my answers are far more strict than I would have received at the same age.
While it seems prudent to be on the strict side when it comes to our kids, it seems just a little silly to act shocked about what any of our peers did before the world went Puritan.