One of the proudest accomplishments I have ever done in my lifetime, is that I have never taken illegal drugs! In February, 2009 I will be 64 years young, and I have lived through the drug culture of the 1960's and survied it all, etc. A few years ago, I heard a band member of one of the top bands of the 60's say, "If you remember the 1960's...you were not there!
Well...I've got news for this dope-head, who probably doesn't have a brain in his head...I was there in the 60's, and I remember everything that happened, because I wasn't all screwed up like so many people back then!
During that time, and since that time, I have never taken a marijuana cigarette; LSD; yellows; reds; uppers; downers...none of it! I'm not a sociologist, but I think a lot of these people get involved in this type of activity because of peer-pressure, etc.
Confidence: For me, it starts with self-confidence, which I think are two of the most important words in the dictionary. I've been in the humor business most of my life, and I've never had any problem making friends. As soon as I make somebody laugh...I have a friend. But, in attracting the good, the bad and the ugly...I then have to get rid of the bad and the ugly, etc.
Drugs: The confidence I have gives me the ability to say NO and show these people the door! When I was in the Air Force, some of my firends got discharged before I did, and at that time, they headed to and enrolled in college, and got into the drug culture of the 1960's. At that time, I had to decide if I wanted to keep them as friends...or go my seperate way...and I decided to go my seperate way! I made new friends right away, and continued on my way, etc.
Alcohol: Over the past decade or so, I have been laid off from SIX jobs, for legitimate reasons such as defense cuts; companies closing, and so forth. During this time, I have had a lot of stress and depression in my life. So, how was I going to fix the problems in my life and my mental state? Were the answers in a bottle? Was the answer in a snort up the nose? Was the answer in a smoke? All these things just make matters worse, in my view. So, I said NO and stayed away from them! Why do I need to ruin my life?
After my sixth job loss, I was down in the dumps, and needed help, so I went to live at the VA Medical Center in town, as they had a program there to help veterans get back on their feet. There were 15 veterans in the program, and all were there because of substance abuse except me.
One day, during a general discussion around the table, I told the group that, when it came to alcohol, I've had a "one beer" policy for a long time. At any function, I drink only one beer...and then I switch to something else. That statement raised a few eye-brows! "Jerry...how can you drink just one beer?"
I was asked. Because I know the dangers of alcohol...as I have two alcoholic brothers and one alcoholic sister, and between them, they managed to ruin the entire family!
You don't have to be a rocket scientist or brain surgeon, or to look at the news, to see that somebody in the nation, is ruining their lives because of drugs and/or alcohol, etc. Do I need drugs or alcohol to have fun? NO! Do I need a shot of "courage" to get out on the dance floor? NO! Do I need a little "courage" to ask a woman to dance? No! Are drugs and alcohol going to solve my problems? A BIG FAT NO!
Peer-pressure: There is regular old-fashion peer-pressure that comes from others...and then there is plain old peer-pressure that comes within family members, etc. Example: One of my friends in the Air Force, was having trouble with his family because after he was discharged from the military, one side of his family, wanted him to go to law school and become a lawyer, like the rest of the family, etc.
The other side of the family wanted him to stay with the family business, which was the lumber business! He wanted neither! He wanted to be a biologist with the Forest Service, or a Park Ranger, and he liked the outdoors. This pressure was from the family!
When President Kennedy was assassinated, I was a freshman in college. And, I remember the cute little kids in the White House...John-John and Caroline. During the past years, all the Kennedy's had gone to Harvard University, which was a tradition in the family. But, when John-John grew up, he chose to go to Brown Universtiy...breaking with the tradition. So, what's wrong with that? This showed me indpendent thinking on John-John's part. He said good-bye to all that so-called "traditional" way of thinking and went on and did what he thought was good for HIM! (He died in a plane crash a few years later)
One of the best movies I've ever seen, was "Dead Poets Society" with Robin Williams. The movie is set in the late 1950's, when America was immature and naive! (stupid is more like it!) During that time, we all looked like a bunch of penguins...clones of each other...and that's the way it was in true life at that time! Robin Williams played the part of a schood teacher, and he wanted to try to change all that in society...by teaching his students independent thinking!
The school administrators looked down on his teaching ways, and fired Robin Williams! He would go to the next school and get fired again...and then again...independent thinking at the time, was unheard of!
Later in the 1960's...the cry was to "do your own thing!" And today, in 2008 people are "doing their own thing," because they are, in fact, thinking independently...something that has taken a long time to evolve! "Do your own thing"...when you see a man over there with a shaved head...and you see a man over there with long hair..."do your own thing!"
For me...I take care of the problem of peer-pressure, with confidence and independent thinking, which I think is crucial to stay on the right track! Since I'm the most important person in the world...and if I don't take care of ME...who's going to do it?
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