Point: A letter from mom

by Amy Davis | 11/7/08 4:40am

I'm once again in the middle of midterms. I've got a cold; there's laundry piled up on my floor; I have no idea what classes I want to take next term and no time to write for The Mirror this week. I cried to my mom, and besides telling her that my nose was running and I had too much to do, I also told her this week's theme -- smoking at Dartmouth. This morning I checked my HB, and she had FedEx'd me chicken soup, pudding and what seemed to be a short epistle, written on a series of notepad sheets designed for grocery lists. Apparently she took it upon herself to write Why Telling Your Friend Not to Smoke While You're Both Drinking is Hypocritical. I copied it over here, since I figured both her handwriting and the little ducks on the sides of the notepad would make it difficult to read:

"You guys are so young, you don't even know what you're doing yet. I know you've heard it a million times before, but seriously, this stuff is way more important than how often you wash your underwear. (By the way, although moms do care that you have clean underwear, we'll understand if you wear them inside out for a day. I promise.) Now, I know you think I'm heading in the wrong direction. This article's supposed to be about 'why it's hypocritical to tell your friend to stop smoking when you're both drinking.' So the logical conclusion is for you to keep your mouth shut, right? Of course not! The logical conclusion is that you should both drop the beers, or the wineglasses, or shot glasses, or whatever it is that kids drink these days, and then throw the cigarette right down with them. Before you roll your eyes, let me explain myself.

"So there are some cases in which I'd rather you were drinking than smoking. For example, if you're having a glass of red wine every night, instead of dessert -- that's good for you. Having one cigarette instead of that red wine isn't giving you any health benefits. And in doing my 'mom reading,' I think I've come across studies saying that light to moderate drinkers actually live longer than people who abstain completely. I'm thinking this is akin to people who are five pounds overweight living longer than thin people; people with less stress are happy people, and happy people live longer. I want to see my children live longer. I don't think they're going to come out with a study anytime soon saying light to moderate smokers live longer, too.

"The thing is, I've got eyes on the back of my head, so I know this isn't the way you're drinking. You're going out to those fraternity parties, gulping or chugging or whatever you call it, and your poor liver is puffing up to its full potential and yelling, 'HELP ME!'

"And then you pull out the cigarettes. You might smoke half a pack a day, or you might smoke just a couple when you're being social, but as soon as that smoke enters your lungs, they're calling out for help the same way your liver is. I can tell -- my hearing is as good as my eyesight.

"So is it hypocritical to complain if a friend is smoking at a party? Darn right it is. Or at least it's a step in the right direction. Stop smoking, stop the binge drinking, and most likely you won't be sick half as often as you are. And then you won't be calling and complaining what seems like every week, and I won't have to make chicken soup all the time.

"While you're at it, stop the all-nighters, the over-involvement in extracurricular activities, the dependence on energy drinks, the unhealthy perspective on romantic relationships, the running through closer-than-close friendships like they're tissues and the leaping across Main Street when the light is red, because none of this is good for you either. Maybe you should just stop going to college. It can't possibly be healthy. Oh, also -- don't forget to wear Under Armor when it gets cold, and don't even think about wearing heels in the snow. And call your grandmother. It's her birthday next week."