Monday, June 12, 2017

A terrible tale

Luckily this post does not have any pictures!

One of the things that happened this home period was that Gustav (14) finished his test exams from 8th grade.
He and his friends all thought that it had been exhaustive, and they wanted to celebrate that it was over and have a get together at our place.

I am fine with that, because they are all nice kids, and an added bonus is that I can keep an eye on them while they are here.
In Denmark it is legal and normal to drink at a fairly young age compared to a lot of other places, and 8th grade is a typical starting point. So this get together involved alcohol.
Each kid brings whatever he wants to drink, usually in cooperation with his parents. That way they will normally get a fitting portion with them, Gustav will normally be issued with 3 beers and a breezer plus perhaps a bit of vodka equivalent to two beers worth of alcohol. He'll consume that during an evening and have a great time.

One of the kids at this party had fairly long hair, and after just one hour or so he exclaimed that he wanted a haircut.
None of them were drunk at that time, and I didn't really think they would go through with it. They found an extension cord and my hair trimmer and headed into the garden to start.

Somehow this kid had managed to sneak a huge portion of rum and coke with him, and he had gulped it all down at once. So within 20 minutes he was regularly drunk. While he was sitting on a garden chair and having his hair cut to a length of 3/8", He lost his balance and pulled the buddy who was controlling the trimmer with him in the fall.
None of them noticed that during the commotion the distance piece of the trimmer had fallen off, so after mounting the chair and restarting, suddenly the trimmer now made a length of 1/16" instead!

I had left the scene for approximately half an hour to tend to the horses, but when I came back he had started getting sick and throwing up. I managed to get a phone number from the kid and called his mother. - She came around and picked him up about 15 minutes later. The time was just half past nine.

The guy who had handled the trimmer must have been inspired, because according to the other kids he had smuggled half a bottle of vodka with him, and he impressed them all by drinking it in one long swallow.
Needless to say, 15 minutes later he was as drunk as he could be, and started throwing up too..

Again I called the parents, and when his mother came to pick him up, she surprised me by saying that: Oh she had noticed that he had smuggled half a bottle of vodka with him. That actually made me kind of irritated. If she knew that he had exceeded the amount of alcohol that they had agreed upon, she should have stopped him from taking more with him. But I wasn't in the mood for discussing that. She was the one who was going to have problems with a drunk 14 year old inside a new car.

A sad thing is that those two kids are not part of the group that normally comes to our house for those parties, they had just been invited because Gustav didn't want to exclude anyone from the celebration. so I felt bad that they couldn't behave as nicely as the others.

The next day we had a little chat about the event, and we agreed that the next time we would just stick with the regular group of 7-8 people.

Mette contacted the mother of the kid with the hair cut the next day, and believe it or not, the kid was real happy about it, and the mother did say that they had discussed the idea of a crew cut for a long time, so at least that wasn't a problem.

Bertha was probably the one who had the best time of them all. Part of the evening involved a bonfire and a bunch of sausages that were to be roasted over the camp fire.
The remaining part of the sausages were left on the plate on the ground, so she kind of helped herself to most of what was left.

19 comments:

  1. Thought it might have been worse when I read the title. Thankfully nobody got hurt - except for their spinning and aching heads the next day.

    Matt

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    1. Hi Matt

      The funny thing was the that major part of the group actually tried to talk some sense into those two, but with no success. So most of them are quite capable of controlling themselves.
      I am pretty sure that they were both incredibly hungover the next day... poor things :-)
      Brgds
      Jonas

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  2. Replies
    1. Those first hangovers are probably the best deterrent for further drinking adventures.
      Cheers
      Jonas

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  3. Really? You left a group of drinking 14 year olds alone for 30 minutes including 2 kids you didn't know very well? How stupid are you? Wait, I'm sorry. I think you answered that in your post.....

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    1. Yup, I left them all right.
      In Denmark it is common to have a lot of faith in kids, even if they are not your own.

      I didn't really have any reasons to distrust them since this was not the first time any of the kids have attended parties / get together's with alcohol.

      I know it may be hard to believe for someone not from Denmark, but my biggest issue was that the mother of one of the boys admitted that she knew her son had brought more alcohol than they had originally agreed on.

      Thanks for commenting
      Brgds
      Jonas

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  4. Crazy stuff! I'm a police officer and have seen some terrible stuff from under-age drinking and adult drinking for that matter.

    I know from my time in the military and being stationed abroad that different countries have some very different laws and social norms especially when it deals with alcohol. I am not stating one country is better than the other I'm just stating a person should view the totality of the circumstance before judging.

    I think most American would benefit from getting out of the US and visiting other countries.

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    1. Thanks for a non judicial comment. It is really appreciated.
      As with most things, it only takes one or two individuals to mess things up for a large group.
      Most of the kids there were annoyed that their friends couldn't keep their act together, so they can easily tell good from bad.

      A funny thing is that most parents in Denmark will roll their eyes when talking about how kids aged 16 are allowed to drive in the USA. But like you say norms and regulations differ wildly from one country to another.

      I work with Norwegians, and in Norway the idea of drinking alcohol is to see how drunk you can get in a very short time.
      I find that approach strange, since we try to teach our children to drink respectfully, and stop well in advance of drunkenness.
      The kids also try not to exert peer pressure to those that do not wish to drink. I know that a couple of those at Gustavs party didn't drink alcohol because they had to attend some football practice the next day.

      Again thanks for a most thoughtful comment.
      Brgds
      Jonas

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    2. In my state a student can get a school driver permit to drive to school on their own. My son started driving to school on his own shortly after he turned 15. This is pretty common here due to the state being sparsely populated.

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    3. I can't tell you how much Gustav would love to be able to get a drivers license at 15.
      That surely also gives the kids a sense of responsibility to be allowed to do that.
      I think that most of Europe is fairly uniform when it comes to driving with 18 being the start.
      In a lot of other countries in Europe, kids at 16 are allowed to drive a 125 cc small motorcycle. But not in Denmark, they have just this year changed the legislation, so now you can drive a moped at the age of 15. It used to be from age 16.
      The moped is a maximum 50 cc engine, and the top speed must not exceed 18 mph (30 km/h). So all the mopeds are restricted in one way or another, and meddling with the restrictions is unlawful.

      I visited Minnesota almost 25 years ago, and I was amazed that you could get a hunting license as 12 year old, with permission to carry a shot gun.
      You have to be minimum 16 in Denmark for a shot gun, and technically you have to be 18 just to own an air gun (bb gun?)
      The weapon law is ridiculously strict in Denmark. for instance there is a law stating that your pocket knife must not exceed 2.75", and the blade must not be lockable, nor may it be possible to open the pocket knife with one hand only. If it does not conform to those regulations and you are stopped carrying it, you will go straight to jail for minimum 14 days.

      Brgds
      Jonas

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    4. I'm from Minnesota and never really thought about your comment until today, but I hunted when I was 12, drove tractors since I was 7,and trucks out the field when I was 10. All those activities are inherently more dangerous to the population as a whole than alcohol which is more harmful to the individual and most kids I grew up with had the same story as me.

      As a father of some fairly young kids your story shocked me that the drinking was allowed but I'd be willing to bet that if I told you my oldest son has had a bb gun since he was 5 and now at 7 is allowed to use it whenever he wants because he has earned my trust and been trained to safely handle the gun. Probably even more shocking for someone from culture is that my youngest son at 2 years of age won a 20 gauge shotgun as a raffle prize. He will probably shoot it long before he is old enough to hunt. The difference in cultural norms is amazing.

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    5. Hi Nathan

      Thanks for your comment.
      It is kind of weird that what is perfectly legal and acceptable in one country is everything but that in another.

      I think that you nail the essence perfectly. It is all about letting your children earn your trust, provided that it isn't 100% illegal.

      I live in the countryside in Denmark, and there is also a cultural difference between our place and say Copenhagen.
      I find it perfectly normal and OK that kids race across harvested fields on motocross bikes, visiting each other, where as I am certain that it would be really frowned upon in Copenhagen.

      I stayed in Mayer in Carver County in Minnesota, and the people I met there were all incredible nice and friendly.
      I remember being a bit envious at the kids who were allowed to go hunting at such early age. And all of them showed great responsibility in the handling of guns, looking at them strictly as a tool that had to be handled with respect in order to not getting hurt.

      Brgds
      Jonas

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  5. We have let our son drink with us and occasionally friends since they were 15/16. And guess what he is smart about alcohol, he is successful in college, and not a bing drinker. At Oxford now and then onto who knows what... Educate, moderate, and educate again.

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    1. Hi Rod

      I think that is a really smart way of doing it.
      Educate, moderate and educate again is a great maxim.
      Thanks for commenting
      Brgds
      Jonas

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  6. I will never forget being 15 and having friends over for a campout, one of whom brought a fifth of tequila. Cured me from getting that drunk ever again.

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    1. Hi Andy.
      Tequila is not something that I would like to get drunk from as a start.
      I try to tell Gustav that beer has the advantage that there is a limit to how much and how fast they can be ingested. And that it is a bit easier to control than if you have to mix your own drink out of some hard liquor.

      Brgds
      Jonas

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  7. Educating kids about anything is never easy, they have to check things out themselves. Sound like for the most part the group is responsible, but you had a couple of bad apples among them. Kudos for the others for not being dragged into it and being annoyed at these two.
    Drinking alcohol, driving, voting, big responsibilities. Age is but one determining factor, but maturity does not come with age...

    Here in Canada drinking age varies between provinces and territories between 18 and 21. When I joined the military, you could joined at 16 with your parents permission, were too young to drink but old enough to die for your country...Go figure! :-)
    Minimum age is now 18, following a Canadian initiative to ban child soldiers around the world.

    Look to me that your kids are being taught to be responsible and it is sticking, good on them

    Bob, who still remember the first time I got drunk... young :-)

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    1. Hi Bob
      You are right about educating kids isn't easy :-)
      16 for joining the military seems a bit young to me, but I guess it too depends a lot on local traditions and norms.

      I think that being allowed to taste alcohol sort of takes the lure out of it.
      We have a decently stocked bar cabinet and always some beers in the cellar, and I never have any doubts or second thoughts about letting any of the kids stay home alone for an evening. They fully respect that it is not like taking a glass of milk from the refrigerator, but something that has to be cleared with either Mette or me.

      I remember the first time I got drunk too. Definitely not a pretty sight..

      Brgds
      Jonas

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