With a blast from his pistol, Blackie blew the bartender through the bottles behind him and left him in a bloody heap.
No problem really. What with open carry laws on the books, all he had to do was explain that he thought the bartender, who was Mexican, had been acting in a threatening manner and he had no choice except to blow him to pieces.
And the best part was that the rest of the people in the bar were so scared of him, they’d all back him up.
“Maybe,” thought Blackie, “I should get a shotgun. That would REALLY show’em.”
“Draw, you mangy dog,” snarled Blackie. No one could face down Blackie. He had the fastest gun west of the Pecos and a really bad temper too. And a bit of a drinking problem, truth be told. When he said draw, you could run, but you could not hide.
“Blackie, I was just funnin’ with ya,” he assured him. “No, really, just messin’ around widya. Puleeze, Blackie. I got a wife. A kid. A farm. I’ll never fun witya agin. No way,” he assured him.
Blackie was having a difficult morning. Charbucks had overburned his coffee and his pumpkin spice donut was stale. His horse had bitten him and he had trouble starting the car, too.
He had a really bad headache (too much hooch?) and he was pretty sure he was already late for work. He really needed to shoot someone, but this guy was so lame.
So he shot the bartender.
Then he went to work — selling stocks and bonds. Some days are just rougher than others.
Since Brett Kavanagh, the Supreme Court nominee, now Justice, has been in the news, so have discussions about excessive drinking among teenagers. Apparently, there are studies that show that rich, privileged teenagers are more likely to abuse alcohol. An article in the Washington Post on September 28, by Suniya S. Luthar, is subtitled “Affluence is a risk factor for dangerous behavior.”
Psychological research seems to support the premise that excessive drinking is more common with affluent teens, like Brett Kavanagh, who went to an élite boarding school in the 1980’s. In fact, students in high-achieving, élite schools are at higher risk for drug abuse, anxiety, and depression as well as casual sexual activity.
Substance abuse in high school is not an isolated phenomenon. It is linked to serious drug and alcohol abuse in later life. This is clearly not only a teenage problem.
The studies show that the key risk factor for these wealthy kids is not money. It’s the extreme pressure they feel to succeed, to be the best and to live up to very high standards of accomplishment. This extreme pressure to excel produces high levels of stress and anxiety.
Another factor in this toxic situation is the attitude of the parents. The parents seem to be more lenient when it comes to transgressions by their kids vis-à-vis drugs and alcohol. They are willing to pay for high-priced lawyers to get their kids out of any legal trouble. However, these same parents would come down hard on their kids if they indulged in behavior such as truancy, academic slacking or inappropriate social behavior to adults.
The article warns that “When adults are sanguine about drunkenness and associated reprehensible behaviors among kids, there are potentially serious consequences for … an entire generation of young people as they form their own values about what is decent, what is excusable and what will simply not be tolerated despite the power and prestige of their parents.”
I don’t believe that all of this is inevitable. But I am biased. I grew up affluent in New York City and went to a high achievement oriented high school in the 1960’s. My school was not residential so we had a different culture and social matrix than a residential boarding school. Dorm life can be a strong influence on kids. I succumbed to the academic pressure and suffered from both anxiety and depression. But neither I, nor anyone else in my class of 120, drank heavily or regularly. (Drugs were not yet readily available so they were not an issue.)
My school was 95% Jewish, and at the time, the stereotype of Jews not drinking much was basically true. My parents never drank. Not even wine at dinner. They only served alcohol at dinner parties. So my experience may have been atypical. The fact remains that teenagers under pressure don’t inevitably turn to alcohol or drugs.
I have a friend whose son now goes to a prestigious, rigorously academic, coed, residential prep school in Connecticut. There is plenty of tolerance and support for homosexuality, gender fluidity, and gender switching. But not for blackout drinking or drug abuse.
The students (at least in my friend’s experience) are serious students into healthy living. His friends are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and racial and there are many kids from underprivileged backgrounds. This melting pot may explain the straight, clean lifestyles.
It’s not all rich, white males, like at Brett Kavanaugh’s single-sex school. The peer pressure there to drink excessively and misbehave may have partially been a cultural phenomenon.
We need to get parents to be vigilant about their privileged children’s drinking and drug habits in high school. If we can’t reach the kids directly, maybe we can reach the parents who tolerate and finance their children’s excesses.
It is the middle of October and it should be the peak of the peak of the color change. Usually, Columbus Day marks the peak of the autumnal glow in New England, but summer lasted longer than usual … like a month longer than usual … and there has been an awful lot of rain.
In fact, it has been raining heavily every morning for a couple of weeks. It usually dries out by evening, but we only get a couple of hours of sunshine and until last night, we have not had a frost.
Now, of course, it’s getting cold very quickly. It was 88 degrees (Fahrenheit which translates to 31.1 Celsius) a few days ago and last night it went down into the 30s … which is a pretty big drop. During the last heavy rains, a lot of trees lost their leaves. Green leaves, falling like autumn leaves. I looked out through the leaves and I realized that even if the leaves finally began to change, there wouldn’t be enough of them left on the trees to make much of a show.
Today, when the rain stopped around noon, we went out and took a few more pictures. Because our autumn is ending before it really began.
Still, it’s pretty. Not glorious. Not heartbreaking with the beauty of the colors … but it’s pretty. And to be fair, we don’t have a glorious autumn every year. It all depends on the weather. If we get a cold snap at the right time and we don’t get huge amounts of rain and wind, our world glows.
On a year like this? Imperfect, but pretty. And along the rivers, at least the yellows are gorgeous.
I need to start out by pointing out I will not wear anything that isn’t comfortable. Gone are the high heels, tight anything (skirts, pants, sweaters, forget it!) and in is anything elastic. Even my jeans are elastic. If it doesn’t stretch, I don’t wear it.
I hate “dressy” events because I don’t own dressy clothing. I did, back when we were both working and Garry had events to which we were required to go, but now? I have some dresses, but I can’t wear shoes to go with them. And pantyhose? Seriously?
We’ve invented telephones that rule the world, but we can’t do better than pantyhose?
In my life? Color is important. Not so much in my clothing, though. I wear grey, black, tan, taupe.
Occasionally red or orange … and navy. Not a thrilling palette. But the house has color — in pictures and statues and pottery.
Q2] What is most favourite colour to wear?
Q3] Is there a colour that you wear that brings the best out in you and in others – in so far as compliments?
Q4] Are you a person who likes to overdress for the day or are you a follower of the credo, less is more?
I don’t OWN fancy clothing anymore. I can’t wear dressy shoes — and I can’t balance on high heels.
So overdressing is unlikely. If it requires that level of dress? I probably won’t go.
PQ5] What are five of your best items of clothing that you simply couldn’t be without? [and l don’t mean underwear/socks]
Sleep tees in the warm weather and flannel nightgowns in the winter. And don’t knock socks. I have the world BEST sock collection.
Q6] Do you dress for the season, as in colour wise, or just throw on whatever is warm and practical?
We live in New England. I have hot weather clothing, warm weather dress, cool and chilly weather clothing, cold weather clothing, very cold weather clothing, brutally cold weather clothing, and arctic-level clothing.
PQ7] If you were going for an evening out and the dress code was ‘smart casual’ what is your ideal outfit and why?
I tell them I was sick and not go.
Garry might go alone, but if he had to wear a tie, I doubt he’d go either.
Q8] If you were having to attend an important meeting or appointment and the dress code was smart – what would your outfit be then?
At my age, I don’t have those meetings or appointments. If they are my age, they are also wearing sweatpants.
Q9] How many pairs of shoes do you own, and what is the breakdown [as in casual, smart, evening, leisure]
I have maybe 20 pairs of shoes, 10 of which are really old and I don’t actually wear them but they aren’t worn out, so I keep them. Mostly, I wear sandals in the summer and Uggs in the winter. In between, I wear SOCKS.
Q10] Do you have classic clothing or classic items in your wardrobe that you have had for years and never go out of fashion if so name three?
I consider it classic. Others might say I’m a slob. Sweatshirts, tee-shirts, and jeans. I’ve been wearing this same clothing since I was a young teenager. Oh, and I have not one but three Navy Peacoats.
Q11] Are you into plain colours, wild colours or outlandish designs or a mixture and which do you favour more?
Plain. Elastic. Washable. Dryable.
PQ12] Do you have a favourite quote with regards fashion or design – if so what is it?
Q13] Knee high socks, ankle socks, shin socks or no socks?
Ankle socks with sticky bits on the bottom when I’m in the house. Knee high in the winter and if that isn’t warm enough, it’s too cold to go out.
Q14] Can you see the connection between colour and music and if so does it influence your dress code for the day in any way?
Not really. I wish I could say yes, but really, no.
PQ15] If you are going out somewhere special and want to listen to some music to put you in the mood whilst getting dressed up, what do you listen to? [Provide link please]
I don’t think I’ve EVER done that.
Q16] How often do you buy new clothing for the season or the year?
When I try to put on the nightgown and my finger goes through the fabric, I figure I probably need a new one. Also, as I get older and everything droops, I have to buy different sizes.
I’m also getting shorter (we shrink with age), so that’s a factor. But otherwise? I have winter and summer clothing. This is New England. It’s all about the weather.
Q17] Remember tie-dye from the 70’s was it a thing you followed, bought into or worse, how do you feel about it now?
Nope. Byt the time tie-dye was in, I was a mother working full time. I missed that whole dressing thing.
Q18] What is the brightest coloured item of clothing you have in your wardrobes/drawers?
I have an orange dress.
Q19] What is the most expensive item of clothing that you have in your wardobe? How often do you actually wear it?
I have a deep winter coat from Land’s End that cost me about $250. I wear it when the temperatures fall significantly below zero (Fahrenheit, NOT Celsius).
PQ20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?
Q21] Is being ‘fashionable’ important to you, or is being comfortably attired more so?
I like not looking like I just crawled out of a ditch, so clean matters. I only wear the hairy, dog-hair covered stuff at home. The dogs do not care. And anyway, Garry is similarly attired.
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