Eric D. Snider

No De-fence against Drunk Driving

Lake Elsinore News #38

"No De-fence against Drunk Driving"

by Eric D. Snider

Published in The Lake Elsinore News on May 15, 1991

Some people think that you cannot have fun at a party without drugs and alcohol, but this is not even remotely the case. You need loud music too.

Ha ha ha! Just a little joke there, designed to make the veins in my editor's forehead pop out. Actually, we Elsinore High students recently had an assembly that proved that idea to be false.

One of the major disadvantages of being a reporter on a school newspaper is that, unless you happen to be the editor and can get away with doing nothing, you have to cover high school assemblies.

High school assemblies generally fall into two categories:

1. Pep rallies. These are usually held on the day of some major sporting event. Sports, of course, are the most important reason to attend high school and therefore warrant the shortening of all classes to a length that renders them worthless, thus providing enough time at the end of the school day to have a pep rally. The major activities at EHS pep rallies typically involve either a "Let's See Who Can Belch the Loudest" Contest, or a "Let's Tie Balloons to Everyone's Ankles and Have Everybody Try to Pop Everybody Else's Before Theirs Get Popped" Contest. Pep rallies, fortunately, are not mandatory.

2. Assemblies designed to Motivate and/or Inspire us and/or Beat an Idea into Our Heads.

The drug/alcohol one fell under category 2. It was sponsored by the local chapter of the nationwide "Friday Night Live" club, whose primary purposes are:

1. to show the nation's youth how to have fun without drugs or alcohol, and

2. to put on an assembly everytime you turn around.

One of the many interesting facts presented at this assembly was that out of 100 students, either one or 99 of them (I forget which, exactly) will be involved in an alcohol-related accident sometime before next Thursday. This particular interesting fact really hit home with me because I was recently involved in an alcohol-related accident.

I was out driving one afternoon, and I came to a rather enormous curve in the road. In the interest of preserving my brake pads, I decided not to slow down as I rounded the curve, which would have been fine, except that all of a sudden, a drunken chain-link fence leaped out from the embankment and struck my car, adding to my already extensive collection of car problems the new difficulty of not being able to turn left.

I managed to drive the car home safely (although it took much longer, since I could only turn right), but just think of what could have happened. We could have been killed! This is why I am so grateful to Friday Night Live for presenting this informative assembly. I only wish there had been more chain-link fences present to hear the message, since there seems to be an alcohol problem prevalent in the fence community.

Stumble It!

Notes:

This column doesn't really get funny until I start talking about my car at the end. I freely admit that now. Also, you'll notice how this column has two beginnings, one right after the other. This is because I couldn't decide which one I wanted to use, and because I am a lazy writer.

The car involved in the accident was a 1978 Grenada named Felipe. I had a love/hate relationship with Felipe, but overall he was a good car. He got 13.1 miles to the gallon, and he was practically indestructible. Hitting the chain link fence did no damage to him at all -- it was hitting the cement curb first that damage the wheel alignment. Felipe also had a gear shift lever that would come off in your hand, and if you tried to put the emergency brake on, it would scrape loudly across the speaker cover. Also, I had gone through a major puddle a few times for fun, and water had come in through the not-airtight doors, and it was mildewing in the back seat. The car always smelled like either mildew or french fries, or both. Felipe leaked everything from transmission fluid to gasoline, and I was constantly putting new fluids in him. He finally broke down beyond repair, and we sold him to the guy next door for $100. He was sure he could get $150 for it at an auto wrecking yard, because $150 is the minimum they ever paid. Well, Felipe was in such bad shape they only gave him $75, and in anger, this man took the money and then smashed all the windows out of Felipe before he left. I don't know what lesson we can learn from this, but I'm sure there is one.

Notice my childish refusal, in this column, to accept responsibility for my own reckless driving. This is an attitude which would serve me well in the future.


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