Megan Prewitt and Ayla Burnett, best friends since fifth grade, began planning a vacation to celebrate Ayla's 19th birthday. Neither had been out of the country before, but the Bahamas seemed pretty cool. It was cheap and close to Florida. And the drinking age is 18. "When you're drunk, you can have fun easier," Burnett explained. Prewitt and Burnett's parents lectured them before they left. "Don't get too drunk there," Prewitt's mom said. Her mom also told them not to put down their drinks in a bar - somebody could slip a date-rape drug into the glass - and don't go off with strange guys. Ever. When they arrived, they headed straight for a liquor store, where they bought champagne and a bottle of Bacardi rum. (Too much 'fun, from St. Petersburg Times, 4 July 2005)Throughout this ordeal I have been contemplating the wisdom of youngsters going off to foreign lands, seemingly for the sun and beaches, but in fact for the opportunities to partake of activites that are illegal or morally unacceptable in their home communities. Apparently the trip that Natalee Holloway took was typical of one of these "too much 'fun" holidays, as described and illustrated by today's St. Petersburg Times. It was "sort of" under the auspices of the school she attended, and obviously parents approved of the trip, as some were chaperones, although the meaning of that word has certainly changed. These people were from an affluent area of Alabama, and for such parents to refuse to let their high school graduates go along would be difficult. Nevertheless, what are parents for, if not to give mature guidance? And what about the schools? There are almost limitless opportunities for young people to have good, clean fun or to participate in service to others, that there should be no reason to sanction or encourage such hedonistic behavior by young adults.
A group of fraternity guys from UCLA are at the bar, all over 21, all just graduated. They are appalled. "I would never, ever send my daughter on one of these grad trips," said Joey Famini, 21. "They are way too young." At 1 a.m., Prewitt and Burnett walk in with ... two guys from New York. "We're sober tonight," Prewitt yells over the music. (Too much 'fun, from St. Petersburg Times, 4 July 2005)Is hanging out at "Carlos 'N Charlie's" or "Senor Frog" what Americans want their sons and daughters to do when abroad? Read "Too much 'fun'?" and weep. Weep for Natalee and her family. Weep for young Americans of today who have not had real values instilled into their beings by the time they graduate from high school. Weep for the teenagers who believe such degradations to the human soul are "too much 'fun".
UPDATE: The article in quotes that I have referenced is "Too Much 'Fun'?" from the "St. Petersburg Times", 4 July 2005, by Tamara Lush.Scared Monkeys has more about Carlos 'N Charlie's.