Parents. According to conventional wisdom, they know best. But, as you move out — be it for school, work or marriage — ask yourself this: do you know where they are and what they’re doing right now?
Maybe they’re knitting. Or gardening. Or doing it to DVDs full of people with pubic hair. Or — as it’s turning out to be the case — marijuana.
And if you think it’s not your parents, think again. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), illicit drug use among 50- to 64-year-olds has doubled since 2002.
So, what are you going to do to make sure your parents don’t turn on, tune in and drop out … again?
Learn the signs
The first step to pointing out others’ problems is knowing that they have one and then admitting it to them. People aged 50 and above won’t make this easy for you.
Called the Baby Boomers, this set of precocious young elderly people have devised their own lingo for the drugs we take for granted today. They might use strange terms like “grass,” “weed” or “doobies.” Or even refer to it in archaic measurements like “dimes” from a time when people used solid metal coins for currency.
If you think monitoring them online will help you keep tabs on their activities, forget about it. While Boomers may set up Facebook or Twitter accounts, many of them eat meals — or mushrooms — without posting a single picture online. No, not even on Snapchat.
Instead, you’ll have to watch what they do in a space called “offline.” Keep a watch for strange smells emanating from the garage and Frank Zappa music. Or long, aimless car trips when they “just need to drive.” And if they mention that they’re thinking about trying a “B&B,” that is code for “blunts and Beelzebub,” which is when they smoke marijuana and worship lesser Satanic demons.
What to do
The important thing is to remain calm. Loud emotional outbursts — like sob-yelling, “Hypocrites!” — is exactly the kind of thing that triggers the giggles if they’ve just “baked.”
Wait until your parents have suitably mellowed out, and then calmly explain that you know what they’ve been doing and that, when you were your age, you tried marijuana and other drugs, too.
While you can’t outright forbid your parents from taking drugs, you can make sure they know how to do them safely. Ask to meet their dealer, or if medical marijuana is legal in your state, take them to a medical dispensary so that they can learn the safest ways to obtain and use it.
And then, once that’s over, go visit your grandparents and talk to them about chlamydia.