How hard is it to say â€œnoâ€?
â€œIf all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?â€ My mother said this literally two minutes after I got home. Because she had just had a call from a deputy sheriff who had busted three of my friends and I for â€“ you got it â€“ jumping off a bridge.
Now, in all fairness, it was late July. We had been baling hay all day. The river was a mile down the road â€“ actually, we had to go over it on our way back to the barn. So, when Brent* suggested it, Donny said â€œHell yeah!,â€ and Ryan was also quick to agree. Me … well, I knew it wasnâ€t the BEST idea to jump off that bridge. After all, just the week before, one of our classmate, Brenda J. went off the bridge and was still in the hospital with two broken femurs. But, the other three were like â€œDude. DUDE. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude.â€
After youâ€ve been triple-duded, you just canâ€t not jump. Something Mom didnâ€t understand.
We jumped. More than once. Oh, did it feel good getting the dust, sweat, and chaff washed off. We jumped, swam, and relished in being in our mid-teens, unbreakable and impervious to everything.
Everything but the long arm of the law and the Wrath of the Mothers. Deputy Steward pulled up on the bridge as Ryan was just getting ready to jump, and of course, Ryan ratted us all out…he didnâ€t get the snitches get stitches concept, and the deputy made us get going and then went back to the station and called our momâ€s.
Looking back on that day, I said numerous times that I didnâ€t want to jump. I was called a chicken, coward, and much worse by my friend. I grew up with these guys. And finally, to stop the taunts, I went along with the group. A purer case of peer pressure canâ€t be chronicled.
How hard is it, especially when youâ€re with a group of people who are you friends, to say â€˜noâ€and stick by it? Because, hereâ€s the thing, when itâ€s asked as a question in a format like this, people always want to make themselves out to be impervious to things like peer pressure.
So, I want you to tell me about a time where you succumbed to peer pressure and what you could have done to prevent it from happening. And, please, donâ€t use examples where Iâ€ll be forced to contact the authorities. Heh
*All names have been changed to protect the identities of the other guilty parties.
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