As a 16 year old entering the final stages of my education, many of life's milestones lay ahead for me in the coming years.
Soon I'll be on my way out of high school to - what?
Work? Maybe, or perhaps college or university are on my mind. But whatever path in life I and many others around my age choose, the rewards of maturity are bound to one day cross it.
Soon my government will label me mature enough to drink myself into a blind stupor and spend half my days
skunk drunk and the other half hung over and weak.
But maybe I've drunk alcohol before that time. Maybe I'm taking a swig of Fireball right now while I'm desperately trying to complete this assignment before the deadline that I thought was days away instead of a day away.
After all, it's only my life I'm doing harm to.
So what will happen when my good old government heaps some more lives onto my responsibility, like say everyone I drive near in my cheap, pre-owned, older-than-I-am car? Well then of course I must be educated about the dangers of drunk driving whether I'm 19 or not!
Yes, we MUST make sure that this bright young mind is well aware that a state of inebriation behind the wheel could land him some serious jail time or get him killed! Can you imagine that, parents?
Getting the call that your little pride and joy has become nothing more than a tick on death's
scoreboard for drinking and driving?
But maybe I wasn't so moved by the plight of M.A.D.D. Maybe I skipped out on my school's mock car crash and subsequent safety assembly because it was during my off block and I wanted to go hang out with my friends; and about a year later I graduate without a care on the matter. I can already imagine the nonchalant reassurance I would be giving my anxious parents about the matter.
"Relax mom, I'm not going to drive drunk; that's stupid.
Why would I do something so stupid? Do you think I'm stupid or something?"
And, indeed, I wouldn't normally do anything of the sort.
But what if a chill session with some close compadres turns into a full blown party, and by the end my belligerent friends are certain that I'm the guy to drive them home because I brought the only car? So maybe I sheepishly fold and my buddies pile into my car while I follow, dropping my keys twice, but after some fumbling starting the ignition and driving off.
Pretty soon we're barrelling down Mara Drive, drunkenly unaware of the speed we're going at, drunkenly unaware that we're driving over half of the sidewalk. And by the time I become aware of the bus stop with seven people at it in front of us, it's too late for anything but that split second of horror that leads death on a tight leash.
Throughout the world tales like this are disgustingly common. In fact, an intoxicated man really did ram into a bus stop full of people in Moscow just recently. People like me can tell these tragedies over and over again, but when you're standing in front of your car, bottle in hand, it's up to you to think.
Think about the lives you're about to gamble with. Not one is worth the price of losing. Think about the people you'd hurt, not with your car but with the news of your death or the deaths you've caused.
It's not a hard decision to make, even for someone as liquored up as me . maybe.
Kevin Funk is a Grade 12 student at Dr. Charles Best Secondary in Coquitlam.