I had worked at various night clubs in Durban and surrounds since 1993. When I joined the Police the " work" was frowned on so I dropped it off, only working the odd job when money was tight. Well, let's say money is always tight.
One of the main reason I was often hired to " work the door" was not just the size and intimidation factor, other guys had plenty of that, I tended to be mature and calm and knew when to draw the discipline line without resorting to injury. I saw and learned a lot about human beings in those years. My " bullshit" detector became highly tuned. I learned a lot about the proliferation of drugs and alcohol abuse, and I learned a lot about parenting.
The main thing I learned is that many parents talk big about how much they care about their little china cups and more often than not, when their priceless Ming vase messes up, it is everyone else's fault except mommy, daddy or the work of art's.
Many, many times I became a surrogate father to a goofed up teen lying in a gutter. A couple times I was even the " next of kin" to an unknown girl taken away in an ambulance who literally drank herself into a coma. (They will never know my name. Perhaps if they did, they might have got hold of me via the hospital documents and said thank you.) And here I come to the parents.
See, little Lisa certainly does not have a drinking problem. Someone MUST have spiked her drink. Now yes, I do know about Rohypnol and other drugs and the effects they have. But doing a little on site investigation helps me draw some more sensible answers. Little Lisa's vomit is pure liquid meaning she has not eaten anything solid for at least 12 hours. Scratching around for some identity, I was almost guaranteed to find " Thins" in her handbag. (Back when they could be bought.) So our innocent darling has had no food, been fed nothing but ephedrine all day, arrived in time for the " happy hour" and collapsed after a mixture of red wine, tequila and a host of various shooters.
So we fly forward a decade to the photo posted above. I was asked a favour to help chaperone an end-of-year under 18 party. 99% of the reason myself and some other adults were there was to ensure that alcohol was not consumed. This, we attempted to achieve mainly by searching the bags of kids coming in. I was amazed mommies dropped off Pete and Suzie (both aged 15) at an under 18 party, but each of them is carrying a backpack weighing 20 kg and has a crust of frozen condensation on the outside. " It's my makeup bag, " simpered one kiddie with big blue eyes and an innocent smile.
Next operation was to keep tabs on liquor " coming over the fence" . With a colleague we spent four hours walking the dark corners, boundaries and back doors, confiscating everything from beer, cider, vodka, and a good selection of other consumables. The more we took away, the more the partiers were on the phone calling in more drops in ever more creative methods. Kids 14-16 years old were determined to drink. And seemingly, the adults dropping them off either didn't check or didn't give a hoot. You should see the looks when we found a wire-thin 15 year old straining under the weight of two cases of Hunters cider coming through a hedge. The load was bigger than him.
Humour aside we were simply maintaining order ensuring no harm came to innocents. One of the chief rules of protection is: be invisible until you need to be visible. We weren't there to spoil the fun. Then we came across our dear Cathy (Name changed) pictured above.
Cathy's buddies scattered like stabbed rats when we came up to them, except for one faithful young blonde who appeared sincerely concerned for her friend. We picked up Cathy and took her to a lit area to asses her. She was puking properly and started weeping her sorrows. Her friend admitted Cathy had downed the better part of a bottle of Russian Bear. We established she was FOURTEEN years old and managed to find a phone number and get a parent to come get her.
Mommy arrived. And now I start quoting:
" Oh, ja. I gave her the Vodka. Sometimes she does drink too much but….."
That was about the time I started having images involving fish hooks, pliers and a blowtorch.
This is your modern parent, dear readers. Cathy was ONE example of dozens every weekend in this suburb and others around the country. A hell of a lot of modern " parenting" involves dropping the " Cathy's" of the world off somewhere and forgetting about them for a while.
Tell me, who would mommy have blamed if Cathy had ended up unconscious in some dirty corner with her jeans around her knees?
Who would mommy have blamed if Cathy was listed as missing and found a day later in a government hospital with God knows what disease swimming through her veins?
Who would mommy have blamed if we found Cathy a few minutes too late and she had drowned silently on her own vomit?
People better start waking up. This is not a joke. But my intuition is that I will receive a lot of " not my child" and " I know exactly where my daughter goes" but I don't know if all the " Cathy's" mommies will let the message sink in.
I feel sorry for Cathy. In her 14 years she has not had the time to gain enough life experience. Her only reference for morals and ethics is letting her down. I wonder how many nights like that one she has already seen. And how many more until something really goes wrong.
There are PLENTY of Cathy's out there. I've seen them for decades. I still see them today staggering around shopping malls with jeans shorts pulled so high a gynaecological exam is possible at 10 meters. And I see them giggling uncontrollably, reeking of liquor, on the passenger seat next to some 18 year old boy who just learned to drive.
Stop blaming the world, the government, the police and society as a whole. Look at yourself and see what example YOU set for YOUR child. And then you might also know how your child is going to turn out too.