An Ode To Peer Pressure
Brad Hunt, 15, US
Peer Pressure. If there is a phrase I could definitely do
without hearing for the rest of my life, it's "peer pressure."
From the time we enter grade school, we are taught the perils of
succumbing to the influence of our friends. We are informed that
by associating with the "wrong crowd," we will end up
working the graveyard shift at Kinko's in order to pay for our addiction
to heroine and support our ex-girlfriend and her prematurely born
I think the concept of peer pressure has become a gross exaggeration
of the true consequences of friends. By forcing the idea that the
very people you hang out with are out to destroy you, those responsible
for teaching my generation about life have unintentionally produced
a generation of what I like to call, "instant messengers."
Instead of running the risk of being influenced in a negative way
by other human beings, we sit alone on Friday nights and communicate
with each other via the all-powerful and somewhat-dependable modem.
Not once in my experience with a modem has it leaned over and whispered,
"Hey man, want to try something that'll really mess you up?"
Unlike some of my friends, never once has my laptop insisted,"No,
no. Pot actually makes you smarter!"
But is this really the approach that should be taken? Is the slight
chance that you might be given the opportunity to indulge in some
illegal substance worth the isolation that it seems many expect
us to live in? I have a better idea. Instead of living your life
in a bubble and only responding to people who address you by the
name "kewl_dude643," try learning the one word which seems
to eliminate peer pressure on contact: "No." It actually
works quite simply. If you're not sure of your ability to use this
word, test yourself with the following question: "Hey man,
we're gonna go pound a couple 40s, inhale the freon from my car,
take some random pills from various unmarked prescription bottles,
get high and drive around, then go watch a movie. Wanna come?"
C. Yes, only if the movie is "Dude, Where's My Car?"
D. Mr. President, don't you have work to do?
(For answer see the bottom of the page)
It's hard to appreciate the joys that come from having friends
when you are too afraid to make any. So my challenge to all of you
is to take a risk, unplug your computers, and go do something worthwhile
with some worthwhile people this weekend. If your friends are anything
like mine, then I guarantee you'll have some great people to share
with the boredom and dullness that is life as a teenager (unless,
of course, you'll be spending Friday night working the graveyard
shift at Kinko's in order to feed your family and heroine addiction.
In which case disregard everything you have
(Answers B or D would be acceptable.)