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Column: GET HIGH ON LIFE

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / February 27, 1998

EACH GENERATION IS WORSE THAN THE LAST

I’ve heard it said that what one generation allows in moderation, the next will abuse in excess. I think that we can all agree that we’ve seen theprogression of vulgarity and lewdness in all fields of entertainment in the past three decades.

Over the years, prior to Mardi Gras, I’ve written about my dislike for the holiday. I’m against everything for which it stands. Please remember thatthis is an opinion column and I have the right to my opinion. I certainly canrespect the people who disagree with my stand.

This year, as Mardi Gras approached, I was tempted, but decided not to write anything about the tradition. Certain things changed my mind – onething being that Monday I received a phone call from a couple in Jefferson Parish whom I didn’t know and who needed some help. They told me thattheir 15-year-old son was in the hospital because Sunday, while attending a parade, he almost went into an alcoholic coma for trying to down a fifth of Crown Royal.

I arranged to meet with them the next day, which was Mardi Gras. Theirson was present because he was now out of the hospital. The sad part isthat the boy, after almost dying from alcohol poisoning, didn’t think the incident was a big thing. In fact, if he had his way, he would have gone to aparade Tuesday.

As I looked at the news on Mardi Gras, I really felt sorry for the people who were participating on what is called “the biggest free party in the world.”The next day, I was listening to a radio talk show and heard that the old appeal: “Throw me something, mister” had a response from some of the float riders, which was: “Show me something, sister!” This is when many women, young and old, expose their breasts for some beads.

One lady said she was standing next to a teen-age girl who continually exposed her breasts for cheap throws. (I guess that’s a fair exchange -cheap throws for cheap behavior.)The news media said that it was one of the greatest Mardi Gras ever. Oneto be remembered. I’m sure one family from St. Bernard Parish willremember it for life.

The headline read: “Family revelry ends in horror.” A woman and her 13-year-old daughter were killed while walking along the highway in Violet.

The newspaper report said that after a day of Mardi Gras merriment, the mother and daughter wanted to go home and were ready to pack it in for the day, but the husband wanted to continue to party. He was driving apickup. They were arguing and he stopped the truck and left them out towalk home. Minutes later, while walking along the highway, they wereboth struck and killed by a drunken driver who happened to be a family acquaintance. He had a blood-alcohol level 2 1/2 times the legal limit.As the years go by, the Mardi Gras celebration gets more vulgar and lewd.

The people who participate have now accepted all of the behavior, including nudity, as part of the celebration.

Yes, what one generation allows in moderation, the next will abuse in excess. Mardi Gras is living proof.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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