My daughter has her high school prom tonight. She’s super-excited and I’m happy for her. The prom is a huge event in the life of a high school teenage girl. I think for many, this is a day that they dream about for years…the chance to live out a Cinderella-like fantasy before the clock strikes midnight and Daddy’s SUV turns back into a pumpkin.
Yet, in this PC, ultra-conservative age we live in where everyone gets a participation trophy, I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed with how the whole prom system operates these days. No, make that incredibly outraged and furious! Students at my daughter’s high school are required (REQUIRED!!!) to attend the post-prom party that the school sponsors at the high school. It’s mandatory fun, people. Sound familiar in this era of “big government”? I thought so.
The school’s post-prom “party” consists of different events, movies, games, and sports to keep the kids busy from midnight to 5 AM. They even have a raffle for a free, used car that they give away at the end of the night. Yippee!!! A used 2001 Saturn Ion!!! Awesome!!! The school is so serious about this that they force the students to submit a form signed by their parents when they buy their tickets as proof that all involved know they’ll be attending. And get this…if the student doesn’t show up to the post-prom party by a certain time after the prom is over, the school will call the kid’s parents and rat him or her out. What the fuck, over?
I get it, we’re trying to protect the kids from themselves. We don’t want them out there getting wasted and making bad choices, but this is the fucking prom, for Christ’s sake. The whole entire prom universe is based on making bad choices. How’s a kid going to experience life and learn from their mistakes if they can’t enjoy all the benefits that comes from attending their high school prom? It’s an essential part of that transition from childhood to adulthood, both good and bad.
What happened to the days when a kid can dress up like an asshole (or Lloyd Christmas), steal a bottle of Seagrams 7 and Peppermint Schnapps from their father’s liquor cabinet, and tie one on before showing up at the prom? What happened to sneaking in a flask of cheap vodka to dump in the punch bowl while your friends run interference? How are kids going to learn the experience of masking the smell of alcohol on their breath while adults are on high alert? And do we think that having some bullshit school-sponsored post-prom party makes up for the fact that kids can’t have that awesome keg party/rager experience out in the woods where half the kids prove they’re inexperienced drinkers who spend all night telling people they don’t know that well that they love them, while the other half is trying to lose their virginity in the least romantic setting ever? Come on.
Why can’t we just let kids be kids? Let’s let them ride their bike without a helmet for once. Let’s tell them they can stay at home unsupervised for longer than 30 seconds. Let’s watch them climb a tree and swing from branch to branch without yelling at them to get down. Let’s not call their college professor’s cell phone to complain about the “B” they got in Underwater Basket-weaving. We all need to relax with this shit. Let’s all just take a chill-pill and let them have a real prom experience, warts and all, dammit. It’s the only way they’re going to learn. Heaven knows, our country’s education system isn’t all that good right now at learning kids. As Spandau Ballet said, “You know this much is true.”
I guess the best that I can hope for tonight is that my daughter wins a free car. If she does, I hope the seat belts work. I wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt…by this awful piece of satire.
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