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‘No’ is always the best answer to one question

By Rick Jacobs
Columnist

Rick Jacobs

Rick Jacobs

Not long ago I posed a question to Google. How many words, I asked, are in the English language?

The answer was 250,000, give or take a noun or two, not counting technical and slang.

That’s a quarter of a million words. Given that, I challenge any English professor to find any two words with more impact or consequence than the simple “yes” or “no.”

For example:

Joe is a young, bright college student. He attends a party one evening. The music’s loud, the drinks are cold and he’s feeling no pain. He’s invited into a room where some of the others have gathered. They’re all seated around a table and are snorting a white powder. “What’s that?” he asks.

“It’s heroin,” someone says. “It’s fantastic. Try some.”

Joe says no and immediately leaves the party. He later graduates, marries a beautiful girl he met in his biology class, gets a good job and raises four children. They eventually retire, move to Florida and play golf for many, many years.

Or:

Joe is a young, bright college student. He attends a party one evening. The music’s loud, the drinks are cold and he’s feeling no pain. He’s invited into a room where some of the others have gathered. They’re all seated around a table and are snorting a white powder. “What’s that?” he asks.

“It’s heroin,” someone says. “It’s fantastic. Try some.”

Joe says yes. It is fantastic. It makes him feel better than he’s ever felt. He never knew anything could feel this good.

He awakens the next day and decides he wants to feel that way again. He calls one of the guys who was at the party. “Sure,” his friend says, “I can hook you up.”

They meet, and Joe gives him $40. Joe uses the heroin. He feels good again, but it doesn’t seem quite as good. He goes to class but can’t pay attention. As soon as the class is over, he calls his friend again.

“You just need a little more,” his friend says. “Bring me $40 and I guarantee this will do it.”

But Joe doesn’t have $40, so he borrows it from his roommate. He buys the heroin and, sure enough, he feels just as he did at the party. But it doesn’t last as long.

Within a month, Joe can’t function without his fix. He’s borrowed from everyone he knows and no one will loan him anymore. He steals from his roommate when he’s asleep. His grades plummet. When he’s not high he’s irritable and hard to be around. Eventually he drops out of college and returns home.

He then notices one very frightening aspect of the drug. When he first started, he felt he had no more than a mental addiction to heroin. Now, he discovers whenever he tries to quit there is a very real physical addiction. Within a few short hours of his last use, his body screams for relief. Painful stomach cramps, back pain, a sensation of needles sticking him all over and an incessant cough are just some of the symptoms. After just two days of this he steals his father’s ATM card and gets cash.

It works immediately.

His family tries to help him but the drug is just too strong. Finally, they kick him out and Joe is on the streets. He robs a liquor store. He buys enough of the drug to kill a person.

And that’s exactly what it does.

There is no college graduation. No family. No retirement. No Florida. Just a funeral where everyone in attendance knew this is exactly what would eventually happen.

“Poor Joe,” they all say, “it was only a matter of time.”

And all he had to do was say “no.”

Parents, heroin is everywhere. It’s cheap, at least at first, and astronomically addictive. It grabs sweet, innocent kids by the throat and eventually owns them. It consumes them to the point where any means to find money is not only acceptable, but necessary.

No matter how strong your kids are, heroin is stronger. Getting off the drug has a better than 90-percent failure rate. They’re more likely to die from it than beat it.

Or they can just say no.


Rick Jacobs is a process server for ShelbyCounty and a longtime resident of Bartlett. Contact him at rick45@aol.com.

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