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ISSUE 118 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/6/2005

Underage drinking can be solved creatively

By Jonathan Graef
Opinion Editor


Friday, May 6, 2005

In the past few weeks, there have been quite a few stories in the press about high schools that using Breathalyzers to test students’ blood alcohol levels. This is an obvious effort by the schools to deter underage drinking.

Based on reading an article on CNN.com, I would say that they need all the help they can get.

The article explores, in detail, drunken fights (NOT drunken shenanigans, which are entirely acceptable and should be encouraged when the participants are of legal age), alcohol poisonings, arrests, drama, heartache, unrequited love, sexual frustration and coming-to-grips with adoles … wait, that’s an episode of “The O.C.” I was reading about on a blog. My apologies, I get confused very easily.

In all seriousness though, it sounds as if high schools nationwide are struggling to resolve this issue in a manner which both reduces the presence of underage drinking but also respects students’ privacy.

One student, Jason Speakman, from a Boston high school that has just begun to implement Breathalyzers, is quoted as saying, “I just feel like it’s a violation of privacy.”

However, an administrator from an Indianapolis high school, where Breathalyzer tests have been the standard for 10 years, states in the same article that he has never had a student test positive.

He feels that this is proof that the tests are getting the point across to those who may potentially arrive intoxicated to school-sponsored events.

First and obviously foremost, underage drinking should be prevented – it is after all, against the law. However, if we start to curtail any civil liberties of the students, we could be approaching a dangerous slippery-slope. What’s the solution, then, to this seemingly insolvable problem?

The answer is simple, and I have it: To abate underage drinking, we must simply remind the high-school students how dumb and obnoxious drunk people can be. What is the most effective way to do so? That’s an even simpler question to answer.

I am going to stop writing my article, go to an off-campus bar (worry not, I am of legal age and have been for quite some time), get horribly, obscenely drunk and try to transcribe my social interactions.

I trust that my editors will edit out anything truly embarrassing, and with any luck, underage readers will become so annoyed that they will never, ever consider appearing at a school event drunk. Alright, here we go. Wish me luck:

“The thing with the underage drunking is … HEY!! HEY! HEY! YOU GUY! You’re that guy! I totally know you! Who’s … Who’s? Whose?

“OH MY GOD, I LOVE THIS SONG! I BELIEVE IN A THING RUB NUB! JUST LISTEN TO THE BOTTLE FULL OF BUB! What? What? WHAT? I have my songs con … YOUR MOM HAS THEIR SONGS CONFUSED!

“Oh, man, I got you bad! Soooooooooooooooooooo bad! Arrrrrrrrrr ................... Whoa. Whooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

“What’s up, bro? Dude, are you having a good time? Are you having a good time? I’m having a good time, but are you having a good time? Dude …. Dude … I know! I’m having a good time, but what about you? Are you having a good time? Are you?

“Who’s the lady? Oh, Man, you are so gonna tap that (Arctic National Wildlife Reserve! Hey, is that the fight song? Sweet! We come from St. Olaf, we sure like the raff rough, we come from the college’s shim-sham prostrate!

“We fight fast and furious, our team is injur … inj … uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh … UM YA YA! UM YA YA! YA NUM NA! La de dad ah! WOO! WOO! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Oh, man, I don’t feel so good …. uh oh … to the bathroom, ahoy!”

With that, my not-so-merry escapade ended in what can be politely described as “worshipping the porcelain goddess.”

But, if I am successful, I will have singlehandedly prevented underage drinking by the sheer power of being very irritating. Not only that, but I will have assured that civil liberties and security can co-exist peacefully with one another.

It just goes to show you that, while Breathalyzers may be helpful, they are nothing compared to learning from a real-life example.


Opinions editor Jonathan Graef is a senior from Glenview, Ill. He majors in English and political science.


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