If you grew up in the late eighties or nineties, you are probably familiar with the show Captain Planet. You may even have collected the plastic rings and used your "powers" against the opposite sex during recess, or in your "fort" that was conveniently located in your mother's flowerbed - right next to the hose, otherwise known as POWER OF WATER!
I love this show. I watched it before going to school most days while I ate my Kix. This was during kindergarten or maybe the first grade. This was also while a person very close to me was doing drugs and a dealer lived across the street. This dealer later was put into prison on several different drug related charges, and later his wife (now ex-wife) and whoever was out of prison got the kids - two of them, one special needs. This is relevant because my sister babysat for them, and sometimes while this couple was fighting the kids would come to my house and my mom would act as a mediator while another neighbor called the cops. Though, the cops were there on a very regular basis, and I remember them parking behind my house, hopping the fence, running through my yard and across the street the night that these neighbors were finally busted. My backyard conveniently ran up to the edge of a major road.
This said, the conversation in my house was always very hush, hush regarding drugs. My parent's never explicitly said to not do them. They did say that alcohol was bad, but I guess they just figured I wasn't the type of kid to do drugs. they were right to a certain degree, I don't make quick decisions for the most part. I usually do research, think things through, and do my best to make educated choices.
Well, there was this one Captain Planet episode. You may have seen it. It's called "Mind Pollution." In the wake of the "Just Say No" campaign, this was created:
And it completely traumatized me.
I smoked pot for the first time in the woods with a tin-foil bowl Thanksgiving weekend of my Junior year of high school. And I didn't like it. It was something that I had read about and been exposed to before, but not something that I associated with "hard" drugs, or even as a gateway drug due to it's lack of everything. People that smoked it weren't generally moody, they didn't "crave" it, and were generally nicer to be around, if not hungry. It wasn't something that destroyed lives. And now it's not something that I do, I have never bought it, I don't own any sort of smoking device, and I really don't have the lung capacity for it to really do much for me.
When it came to all other drugs, this episode always came to mind. All I can think about are zombies who will exchange their possessions for a fix. I have never been interested in "experimenting" and know myself well enough, and my family's medical history well enough, to know that I have an addictive personality, and I'm already border-lined paranoid - drugs would just push me over the edge and I'd land in some mental hospital.
This isn't to say that I don't know people who have experimented, and still do, that are perfectly sane. They have steady jobs. They pay their bills. They're contributing citizens, but they also know that I'm really not down with being in eyesight of someone doing lines, and I'd prefer the acid kids to be in the opposite corner, and I'm only going to worry if I know that you've ever tried crystal meth or heroin.
I am scared of drugs. And owe it all to Captain Planet.
(Even now, I can hardly stand to watch this episode, though I do appreciate how poorly they interpreted DC.)