Thursday, July 19, 2007

I kid I went to high school with is in the obituaries today. He is the sixth one in my broad circle of friends (in other words, people I associated with in school, but not really outside) to die, and the fifth one in which alcohol played a role.

This kid was brilliant. From talking to people who went to middle school with him, he was probably the brightest kid in our class. However, he has been drinking since he was 12, and by the time he got to high school, he was a serious alcoholic. He was driving drunk.

You know, I see people from my high school still posting about partying, and posting pictures of themselves at nightclubs and bars on myspace and alumni sites, and I don't understand it. Not that I don't go out occassionally, but I'm 36 years old, as are these people. I don't feel the need to act like I'm 23. The focus of my life is not what bar I'm going to go to on Friday night and how wasted I'm going to get.

It makes me sad to see this. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again.

These were not stupid people. Yet they seem to be stunted at the age of 19. What happened that I got beyond that point and they didn't.

Granted, I went away to school, and none of them did. I had to deal with total adult responsibility sooner than they did, as a result of losing both parents by the time I was 24. But surely that can't be all.

Though it is funny to note that all the people I see doing and saying things about drinking and partying now are all people who never left the neighborhood we grew up in. The ones who left, even just to another part of the city or a nearby suburb, seem to be normal, responsible adults. Why the difference?

If I were pursing a graduate degree in sociology, I'd smell a thesis or dissertation there. But I'm not, and it just makes me sad.

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