I’ve told you guys this before, perhaps it was several years ago, but I’ve been pretty obsessive in my life when it comes to drugs.
By that I mean that for some reason, from my teens on, I have avoided drugs, excessive alcohol, and even cigarettes like they’re tainted with the frickin’ bubonic plague.
My family has no history of drug or alcohol abuse, so I don’t really know WHY I am the way I am. I bet there are Amish kids reading this on their illicit computers all, “OMG. WHAT A PILGRIM. Pass the jagermeister, Jedediah.”
I’ve never tried a drug that you can’t buy at Target. NyQuil is probably the strongest non-antibiotic med I’ve ever taken. Wait, there’s codeine cough medicine, so that’s special in an I’m so tired I can’t sleep kind of way. I’ve never put a cigarette to my lips (and to prove it’s not my upbringing that made me this way, some of my sisters have smoked before and/or drank at college before they were 21. Oh, my father is going to KILL THEM when he reads this, but not before they KILL ME for telling you this and RIP, Ginny. Remember what I want on my gravemarker, you guys.). My first alcoholic drink outside of my parents’ company was on my 21st birthday and now that I’ve written that I realize what a giant nerd I am.
But, whatever, my point is that I’ve watched enough Intervention on A&E to look at my seven-year-old son on occasion, and then grab him and hug him so hard that he’s all, “WOMAN! STEP OFF!”
Sure I go out with my sisters and get a bit toasted, and by a bit I mean boy am I glad we have a designated driver and it is not me, but I live in fear that drugs or alcohol will touch my family and hurt it, so much so that, and I swear I am NOT MAKING THIS UP, this conversation happened over dinner last night:
My husband, after cracking open a cold beer: I remember my first beer.
Me: “How old were you. Like ten? Ha-ha.”
Me: “GASP! Our son is sitting right there! Don’t tell him this! [turning to my son] How old do you have to be to have alcohol?
Son: [Automatically] Twenty-one.
Me: And if you are seventeen and your friend says, ‘Have a beer,’ what will you say?
Me: How old do you have to be to drive?
Me: And if you are fifteen and your friend says, ‘Hey, drive my car,’ you will say?
Me: And how old do you have to be to smoke a cigarette?
Son: [with a sigh, because he’s been through this with me a bunch of times] I’ll never smoke a cigarette, Mom.
Son: They kill you dead.
The whole time, my husband is smiling, but probably rolling his eyes on the inside, because I sound bonkers. But you see that little glimpse into how I’m regularly drilling into my son the responsibility he needs to have to smoke, drink, whatever. I’m not an idiot. I know there’s a good chance the kid’ll have a drink or try a cigarette when he shouldn’t, but it won’t be for lack of me trying my hardest to make him think twice about it. And if he ever does something wrong, gets caught, and/or hurts other people, HELL WILL RAIN DOWN AND IT WILL BE LACED WITH THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.
[awkward kung fu moves]
So, knowing this about me, how very very naive and pilgrimy and quite possibly Amish in a previous life I am, you must know how incredibly annoyed I get when people act like marijuana is no big deal. I’m looking at YOU, Santonio Holmes.
So many people think smoking marijuana and getting behind the wheel of a car is fine. I mean, hey, it’s not like it’s alcohol, right? I’m not impaired; I’m just happy.
Wrong. SO SO WRONG.
Lisa Styles was the ideal mother, a woman who gathered up her three young kids for picnic lunches in the park and who built her life around them.
Late Monday morning, she had strapped her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter into a double running stroller and gone for a run on Washington Road when an SUV struck her and the stroller, fatally injuring her and knocking the stroller sideways into the street.
Ms. Styles, 36, of Mt. Lebanon, was rushed to UPMC Mercy where she underwent surgery for a severe head injury. She was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m. Tuesday at the hospital, according to the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office.
Mt. Lebanon police say the man behind the wheel of the 2003 Toyota 4Runner, 20-year-old Benjamin T. Cope, now faces charges of driving while impaired and driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. Police said they believe he was high on marijuana. Mr. Cope, of Mt. Lebanon, likely will face additional charges after police confer with the district attorney’s office, Lt. Lauth said.
And now I’m mad, and maybe my anger shouldn’t be projected to where it is, but I can’t help it.
I’m mad at Ben Cope for being high in the middle of the afternoon and blowing the stop sign. Selfish.
I’m mad he didn’t look right and see Lisa and her big, yellow, very easy to see double stroller.
I don’t know that it does, but if that Toyota 4Runner belongs to anyone other than Ben, like say, his parents, I’m going to be mad as hell at them for letting him drive it, considering his record:
Records indicate that Mr. Cope has paid $755 in fines to Mt. Lebanon, South Fayette and Pittsburgh since February 2006 for traffic violations, including speeding, disregarding a traffic control device and driving without a license.
If he still had a drivers license, I’m mad at whatever judge or government office allowed that.
I’m mad at whoever sold him the marijuana.
I’m mad at whoever, if anyone, allowed him to get behind the wheel in his condition.
I’m mad that it doesn’t matter how much you protect your children, sometimes, death comes for you instead and takes away your chance to continue to protect them.
Most of all, I’m mad that so many things, so many, could have prevented this tragedy, and not a one of them came through for Lisa.