Saturday, March 19, 2005

Smack, Shit, and Yay: A Dialogue 

If you've watched television in that last five years or so, you've surely seen those spots from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America about talking to kids about drug use. They show a parent and child doing sundry things in silence - eating breakfast, riding in the car, or whatever - in total silence. This is followed by the text "Another missed opportunity to talk to your child about drugs". These ads kill me...it's as if every moment of precious silence between parents and their kids should be spent with the parent preaching at the kid about not using drugs. But instead of ranting at length about this topic, I've decided to write a short dialogue, in a vague screenplay format.

Smack, Shit, and Yay

Setting: The front seat of a car driving down a stereotypical upper-middle class suburban road.

M - A mother
S - Her son
IJ - Indiana Jones, world famous adventurer and archaeologist

(Fade in. A gold Toyota Camry with a stick on Jesus fish on the trunk lid and a lot of beads and fake flowers hanging from the mirror is driving down a tree-lined road through the suburbs. All houses are two-story, all lawns are a perfect emerald color with every blade of grass the exact same length. A mother is driving. She is a typical television housewife: Blonde, 35 years old, wearing clothes from J.C. Penny, and completely devoid of any sexuality. Her son is next to her. He has a large white guy 'fro that makes his hair look vaguely like a huge brown brain. His clothes are from Old Navy. He's a stereotypical "teen slouch" in the passenger's seat, and is staring absently out the passenger's window.

M: So...how's school?
S: It sucks.
M: (laughing) Of course.
S: My first period teacher is a dick.
M: Don't use that word.
S: Sorry, ma.
(There is a long pause.)
M: You know...you shouldn't use drugs.
(He looks over at her, dumbfounded. She's still staring at the road ahead.)
S: ...huh?
M: You shouldn't use drugs.
S: I don't. Except that ritalin you've had me on since I was eight.
M: Ritalin isn't a drug.
S: It isn't?
M: No. It's legal. Drugs are illegal. And bad.
S: Well in that case, I don't use any drugs.
M: That's not the issue.
S: Then why'd you bring it up?
M: Because I'm supposed to.
S: Because you saw it in a commercial?
M: (defensively) It was from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
S: Exactly. Ma, you are aware that that organization is just a political lobbying arm of the American pharmaceutical industry, right? And that they only exist to keep illegal drugs illegal because they're more effective than the swill that Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline unloads on an unsuspecting public every day? Come on, do you seriously think anyone would take Prozac is marijuana was legal?
M: (looking surprised, then upset) You've been reading Newsweek again, haven't you?
S: (sighs and rolls eyes) No...
M: Yes you have. Kids your age are too stupid to think up things like that on your own. And you know I've warned you about the liberal media...
S: Christ, Ma...
M: Don't take the Lord's name in vain.
S: Jesus...
M: I mean it. Stop it!
S: Damn Ma, you pull this shit all the time. I know you think you're doing this for my own good, but stop taking parenting lessons from TV ads. I understand the effects of illegal substances thanks to the holdover Reagan-era preaching against them in the public schools, and even more so I know of the legal ramifications of taking, selling, or just carrying contraband. All I have to do is flip on the news and hear about the next celebrity getting 300 years in jail for having a bong.
(During this whole speech, his mother has been looking shocked. She finally clears her throat and speaks.)
M: You said "shit"...
S: (staring at her incredulously) You didn't hear a word I said, did you?
M: Oh yes I did, mister! I heard "shit"! That's it! No X-BOX for a week!
S: (quietly, while looking out the window again) Okay.
M: Oh, that's not enough, huh? No TV for a month!
S: I don't live off TV the way you do.
M: No cell phone for a month, either, Mr. Back-Talk!
S: I don't have a cell-phone. I'm not into mindless fads.
M: You're confined to your room for the next year!
S: (Looks back at her as if hit by an epiphany) You're waiting for it, aren't you?
M: Waiting for what?
S: Waiting for me to say "That's not fair".
(Mother still stares straight ahead at the road, but her expression reads that he's just figured her out.)
S: ...because, you know, that's what they always say on TV...
M: Well you just think you know it all, don't you?
S: So just because I've butted heads with you on this issue, the assumption is that I think I'm smarter than you?
M: Well you do. All you teens are the same. Well, it doesn't matter. We're here.
(Mother makes a right turn. Son is looking out the windows, confused.)
S: Um...where are we, anyway?
M: This is Narconon Arrowhead.
S: (eyes grow wide) Narc....you're sending me to rehab!?!?
M: That's right. Be strong.
S: Christ Ma, I already told you I don't even use drugs!
M: You all do. You teens with your "smack" and your "shit" and your "yay". And stop taking the Lord's name in vain. I'll have to send you to church after you're cured to break you of that habit.
(Men in white coats open the passenger's door and start to drag the son out. He's screaming and fighting them the whole time.)
M: If you say that when you come back, I'll believe you. And you're still grounded. Bye.
(Panning overhead shot. Car tires screech as the mother rapidly accelerates out of the parking lot. Three white-coated men are dragging the still screaming teenager into a large white building. Fade out.


Production Note: Indiana Jones could not appear in this production as previously scheduled. Harrison Ford has come down with the flu, and Tom Selleck can't play him now because no one remembers who he is anymore.

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