Over the next couple weeks, area high schools will hold prom, a social highlight for the school year.
Couples will don their finest - with the guys' vests hopefully matching the girls' dresses - arriving in sports cars, convertibles, limos and maybe even a horse-drawn carriage or tractor or two. And it will be a wonderful evening.
Or will it.
Tragically, prom night can end in tragedy, particularly if drinking and driving are involved.
Young people simply do not have the capacity to tolerate large amounts alcohol in any form - and yes, that includes beer. When adults' driving performance is inhibited by alcohol, it's all that much worse for youth who have a hard time handling alcohol to begin with. Put them behind the wheel, and it could be a tragic result.
If they're lucky, they'll get pulled over by the police and get an OWI. That will mean no license, a huge fine, inflated insurance rates for years to come, mandatory classes and a conviction on a person's record. And then a guy has to explain to his girlfriend AND HER PARENTS why he can't pick her up for a date anymore. Oh, that's okay, she'll answer. Joe Blow, that guy you really hate? He has a real nice car and he didn't drink and drive prom night. He'll be able to take me out.
And if a guy's unlucky?
Well, that could end up in a car accident in which someone is maimed for life or killed.
So please, don't drink and drive this prom night. Enjoy the meal. Enjoy the dance. Enjoy the post-prom. But whatever you do, don't enjoy alcohol.
Because there's nothing enjoyable about it.