Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
The first few weekends of any university’s fall semester is fraught with risk. It is a time when freshmen, in particular, participate in age-old college rituals that take some to the emergency room and result in a few lying in the morgue. There is sometimes an attitude of tossing care and good judgement to the wind. Leaving home and being on one’s own means the freedom to do what one wants, when one wants, until the moment when payment comes due.
The national headlines in autumn over the last few years have shouted in large font about toxic reactions at parties serving Four Loko, about students gone missing, about fatal falls off overloaded balconies, and this week about the devastating effects of alcohol enemas. There never seems to be an end to ways students can experiment with stretching and possibly breaking the slender thread between life and death, in the name of fun and games.
A helpful rule of thumb has always been what our grandmothers said: “Don’t ever do anything you’d be embarrassed to see on the front page of the newspaper.”
In this day and age of social media, as newspapers become less relevant, the new rule of thumb should be: “Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to see on FaceBook, YouTube or going viral in a matter of hours.” Unfortunately, in the twisted way modern society works for some, that is all the more incentive.
Jonathan Edwards, writing almost 300 years ago, had it right. We need to live each hour as if it were our last, considering what that hour might mean for eternity.