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CIGARETTES IN THE SIXTH GRADE

Peer pressure comes in all forms, mostly in the form of an idiot who doesn’t want to be caught alone for doing some thing dumb; so, he pressures you into doing it with him. Peer pressure was never something I let myself succumb to but I have to admit to doing some dumb things with my peers that I thought was cool. What is it about being bad that is so enticing to kids?

Back in sixth grade, my best friend Holly and I would go on vacation with my family to go boating on the Colorado River. On one of our trips, the people in the camp next to us had left behind a hundred beer cans so we collected them for recycling money. We also came across a few unopened cigarette packs. Being the geniuses we were back then, we thought it would be hip and cool to pretend to smoke them when no one was looking. We would sneak smokes around the corner and behind the campground shower house. We didn’t light up, we just pretended to. We thought we were so hot and awesome. That is, until the punishment came. After a few days, my dad had finally found the packs remaining. This is how we learned our lesson.

He confronted us about them, and we were literally backed up against the wall. It was outside the club pool for all the campsites to see. My dad really let us have it too. We pleaded through our tears and horror that we never truly smoked them but he never believed us. He couldn’t believe that two girls, ready to be teenagers, would only pretend to experiment with smoking. Like a drill sergeant from his Marine Core days, he yelled right in our faces and did it loudly with the spit and anger flowing from his mouth. He caused such a commotion that people came out of their RVs to see what the yelling was all about and the scene was two young elementary school girls weeping hysterically while some very angry man yelled at them for an hour. He spent that time reminding us of how stupid we were and anyone within a vicinity of five football fields would know how dumb we truly were. We soon had a circular formation of spectators watching our lecture and the people at the pool were peering through the plexi-glass on the other side.

After balling our eyes out to the extent of dehydration, my dad had finally had his fill of what to say. We were able to calm down afterwards and looked at each other with only one thing to say to one another, “”What were we thinking?”” When you’re a kid in the sixth grade with a father like mine, that type of lecture will cure any bad habit for life; and it did. There are no more cigarettes for me and no more hiding trying to be cool. I’m old enough now to realize that doesn’t even make sense. Holly and I have looked back on that mistake before and still we think, “”How dumb were we?”” Turns out, we were pretty darn dumb. How did we think we were proving our coolness if we are hiding? No one could see us yet we were somehow proving to the world we were growing up and doing the hip thing. Clearly, we were not and we learned that lesson with all of the thanks going to my father, because without him and that very memorable performance of disgust, we never would have learned our lesson. She and I never ever tried to do anything like it again. The people watching thought my dad was a public display of bad parenting for reacting the way that he did, but you know what, we never experimented, or pretended to experiment with drugs and alcohol ever again. We also learned a valuable lesson about looking cool. I would rather learn that lesson then in the same manner, than learn five years later in high school with a juvenile record and expulsion from school because I was trying to be cool with a lighter and all. He did us a favor, so I guess his methods were irrational and borderline bad inappropriate parenting technique but lesson learned and no criminal record. He did his job and we learned if we want to be cool, listen to ‘NSync in the 90’s because that’s what all the other cool girls our age were doing at that time. It’s not as dumb as thinking fake smoking makes you look good.

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Posted on March 29th, 2016 by Anonymous

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