Vol.VIII No.VII Pg.8
September 1971

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

While waiting to see a doctor I overheard two teenage boys talking about blood tests. One wondered aloud (and pointedly) if the nurse would detect the alcohol in his blood; and the other boasted that there was more alcohol than blood in his veins on a recent Saturday night. He made certain all in the room could hear his remarks, and wished, repeatedly, that he could be in that condition now.

The boys were playing like they were men, and deceiving only themselves. Their very concept of manly conduct was so distorted it was ridiculous, and further emphasized their immaturity.

Then the nurse brought a wheelchair patient into the office for examination and X-Ray. He was another teenager, broken and bloody as the results of an accident. He also had a companion, and when the first two boys began to kid the injured boy about being unable to hold his liquor the fourth boy was very serious. There is nothing funny about acting foolish, he said; and a lot less funny to pull injured children from a wreck you have caused. It isnt funny to break your ribs, nor to destroy a car you have worked hard to buy. Man, youve got a real queer sense of humor. That did it! The first two laughed nervously, then grew quiet as the injured boy was wheeled from the room. But the punch is yet to come. When the room had settled back to normal I could hear the first two boys resume their conversation — but softly now, speaking only to one another.

Is Dick some kind of a religious nut or something? one asked.

Naw, hes just kinda shook up by that wreck, the second replied. I told that kid (evidently the injured boy) he had no business driving home. A guy is crazy to get full of beer and go burning down the road.

I lost several minutes of the conversation here, but when it picked up again the boys were telling one—another how some kids never would grow up — and how some just tried to show-off — and how they knew better!!

And I got a warm feeling for the unknown young man who had spoken up at a critical time, against odds, to effect changes in his fellows.