From prison to Chuck-E-Cheese

I recently read an article about a drug-resistance program in middle schools. I don’t think I have to mention the name – we’re all familiar with this one.

The article made me think about my own experience in the fifth grade, and how the program gave me a very skewed view of prison life.

Yes, prison life.

My class went on a field trip to Chuck-E-Cheese. To say it was a highlight in my elementary school career would be an understatement. Beating Stephen at that game where you flip the ball into the frog’s mouth made my cool meter go up at least 10 percent.

But we weren’t there just for the games or pizza – we were there to learn to say no to drugs, violence and alcohol.

We had three speakers that day. I honestly don’t remember the first one, but the second and third stick out vividly. The second was a young man who had been a college football star. One day, someone had offered him something to “up” his game. He left it in is school locker, and you can only guess the rest.

The third was a beautiful woman. She wore a very nice business suit – not like anything my teachers ever wore. She donned beautiful makeup – her eyelashes were curled and cheeks blushed. Her crimson lipstick complimented the curls in her hair that looked like the ones my mama only wore to the most special occasions.

Her story was that she’s gotten hooked on drugs and killed someone. It was a very sad story, but she seemed to have faith that she might just help one of us to stay off drugs.

After the speakers, we all went outside to watch a drug dog attack a pretend drug dealer. As we watched, I noticed her standing there, in her suit and beautiful lipstick. Instead of focusing on the dog, I wondered how much makeup you’re allowed in prison, and I reasoned that they must allow you to have hair rollers and hairspray as well. Additionally, they surely must give ladies time to put on their faces and do their hair in the mornings, right?

Heck… if she gets to ride around and go to Chuck-E-Cheese every day, then, well, well, “I wanna go to prison!”

Yep. That was what I got out of it that day. Not to stay off drugs or don’t murder someone, but that prison life is cool.

Now granted, the whole “prison is just neat!” thing wore off after a few days. But as an adult I must say – why was she all dressed up? Maybe she didn’t need to necessarily be in shackles, but an orange jumpsuit certainly would not have made such an impression on me.

Remember – whatever you do – just say no! (To drugs, and prison).


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