Friday, January 22, 2010

An Open Letter to the Minor I Told Off in Scipio


Dear Misguided Youth of America (well, not all the youth... just you, that kid that asked me to buy you cigarettes at the "Eagle's Landing" gas station on our way to St. George last night.)

You approached me as I was picking out a water bottle (since the H2O I packed had spilled all over the car. I know I know..."30 minutes on a treadmill, forever in a landfill.")

"Uh Ma'am?" You began. "Can you do me a favor? I left my ID back home, could you buy me some cigarettes?"

Oh wayward youth: you asked the wrong person to help you break the law.

"Absolutely not." I shook my head, and your eyes widened with confusion. "It's a terrible habit and it can kill you and..."

But you interjected "It's only killing me... it's only affecting me." Though I didn't let you finish...

"It's not only killing you, it puts toxins in the air and the second hand smoke affects me and my baby."

Your eyes looked as if they were going to pop out of your head...incredulous, your mouth dropped open wide and you starred at me as if I was crazy; then looked at your friends for some sort of validation regarding my sanity (or lack there of.) But I continued:

"It's a disgusting and terrible habit. It drains resources from our already depleted health care system, it's a burden on health care and it can give you cancer AND it can kill you. It's a selfish habit and you need to stop."

(Like most of America, I've apparently got Health Care on the mind.)

You mumbled something to your friends about 'picking the wrong person to ask' and probably added some derogatory comment about me... wasn't quite sure, didn't really care...

I paid for my water and let the ladies at the counter know you were a minor and trying to have someone buy you cigarettes illegally.

And I felt high and mighty, like I had stopped some sort of scandal...but then karma (and my conscience) caught up to me ...and I'd wished instead that I had told you that you were too young, with too much ahead of you to be wasting your time with something as ridiculous and habit forming as 'smokes.' That there are little kids -- your cousins, or maybe nieces and nephews that look up to you... and that your example (or lack there of) could make the difference in more lives than you know.

I wish, instead, that I would've reinforced that your whole life is ahead of you... and if you're asking your buddy (brother?) if you can get a PopTart for 89 cents (and he says, 'we really can't be spending a lot of money'), that smoking is probably not the most prudent financial decision at this juncture in your life. Maybe I wish I would've said that...

Or maybe I wish I just would've said, "No, I'm sorry. I care about you too much."

And left it at that.

8 comments:

Alicia said...

LOL...nice work!!! I would have not had the guts to tell him exactly what he needed to hear like you did and for that I am glad it was you not me. Mike said, "Did that kid even get a look at Sabrena? She does not even look like the kind of person that would break the law." That was a compliment :). Good luck on your run!!!

Melanie said...

I hope what you said made him think! Not everyone would have even cared that much or have let them know if they did.

Quentin & Christie Nelson said...

If it wasn't for you Sabrena little kids would be buying cigarettes illegally and old people would be butting in line at the conference center. Gotta love ya.

Cicely said...

Amen.

Spencer Davis said...

Nark!!! When did you become such a buzzkill?

Allison said...

RAD

Meesh said...

We are just too much alike. I went up to a young man who was hanging on top of his friends moving car in a parking lot and begged him, for the sake of his mother, to promise me never, ever do that again. I told him how much his mother loved him and does not want to bury him at 17. He actually was sweet and agreed with me. I think telling them the truth is a good thing, it is what i hope someone would do for me if they saw Thomas doing somthing stupid!

Marie {Make and Takes} said...

I loved hearing this. I wonder what I would have said. Thanks for sharing your after thoughts, I loved that last line!