Sex, drugs and money

Recently, the ex and I had a conversation. The topic: guidance for the kid. The advice we will give our daughter, currently 12, when she hits 18 and begins to make her way on this daffy, desperate and sometimes dangerous planet.

We came up with a list filled mainly with stuff we had to figure out on our own in this world, because our parents were pretty much clueless about things like Norplant, speedballs and genital warts. We boomers have spent the last 30 years using ourselves as lab subjects. There has been an impressive pile of casualties along the way. There’s not a lot of advice I feel comfortable about giving to today’s young adults, but the following, you can take to the bank.

Not that that will keep you from acting like a dang fool.

SEX—If there is one class you should get an A+ in, it’s sex education. Get your chops down with all this baby-makin’ stuff, all the diseases that are associated with baby-makin', and ALL THE WAYS BY WHICH YOU CAN AVOID BABY-MAKIN'. Expertise in contraception will serve you fantastically well in the decades ahead, in which you will be ruled by powerfully persistent baby-makin’ urges. You wouldn’t believe how many “accidents” will be sitting next to you in this class.

DRUGS—If it’s an illegal drug, and it comes in the form of a white powder, forget it. It’s basically a one-way ticket to Loserton, and often, it’s a rather rapid ride. Ole Cokey, Cranky and Horsey are three nasty ‘hos, and chances are real good they’re a lot tougher than your green little tenderfoot ass. Many of our contemporaries thought they could tango with one or more of these bad girls, and two years later, a lot of ’em were flat broke, totally alone and wondering if this was all just a bad dream. It wasn’t.

DRUGS, PART TWO—Watch out with the pot. In your world, intoxication via pot will be almost as common as intoxication by beer. Whatever. Just remember, if you find yourself in a phase where you are getting stoned every day to do everything, try to not let that phase last for 20 years. Try real hard. The Rastafarians are nice guys and all, but getting stoned every day makes about as much sense as getting drunk every day.

DRUGS, PART THREE—A nice little alcohol buzz is one thing. Hangovers, barfing, blacking out and sleeping in bathtubs are another. You’ll experience them a couple of times. Then, avoid. Avoid with extreme prejudice.

MONEY—If you get a job where a 401(k) plan is available, get into it. Don’t even think about it, just do it. Even if you’re 20. Especially if you’re 20. Contribute as much as you can without having to live on baked beans every night. You won’t believe how smart you’ll feel with $156,000 in the bank on your 40th birthday.