In Sunday’s Post Magazine, Liza Mundy takes on the age-old question of what parents should tell their children about their youthful indiscretion. Mundy thinks her generation of new moms, who grew up in the 1970s, may have more shocking tales than previous cadres of ‘rents. Having grown up in the 1980s, raised by radicals who still put my rebellion to shame, I can tell you that’s just plain wrong. (And what if your parents were Dadaists? Sheesh!)
Mundy also exposes her own vanilla transgressions. These days, groan, she says we know so much more about how scary drugs and alcohol can be. Weed is stronger, addiction runs in families. And: “there are other drugs — ecstasy, crack, crystal meth — that are totally terrifying.” Wah? First of all, crack is way scarier than ecstasy. Way. It’s not nearly as habit forming and isn’t linked to nearly as much violence. And also, meth was plenty available in the 1970s when Mundy was playing foosball in the rec room. Just read all the freaked out New York Times stories sounding the alarm about speed freaks in San Francisco and Greenwich Village. Her own mom might have finished all the housework with the help of Dexedrine, aka, Mama’s Little Helper.
I think Mundy sort of whiffs on her ending. She says, “For the most part, though — let’s face it — anything we did occurred so long ago that it wasn’t really us who did it.” Bull! It was you just as much as it’s going to be your daughter tripping on ecstasy in her dorm room. Maybe next time she’ll try crack, since Mom thought it was the same as X.
That said, I don’t think Mundy’s question is invalid. I used to wish my old man had hidden the truth a bit more. Parents obviously have to make a decision based on how wild they really were, and how open-minded they want their own children to be. My dad’s decision turned me into a bit of a teetotaler at the beginning of high school, right when most of my friends were already crashing keggers. I waited to experiment until I was more mature, during my senior year. I think I turned out okay.