I've been trying to remember if we were heavily influenced by our friends at school or college...to do incredibly stupid things I mean...and I don't think we were. The daftest escapade was hauling one of the lecturers Mini cars onto the flat roof of one of the science labs...much muscle and stout ropes were involved. No-one was hurt though...and it was during Rag Week.
We were our own selves...I can't recall any times that we'd have done anything stupid just because our friends egged us on...maybe we were lucky to have had good friends, I don't know. We certainly weren't goody-goody's...not by far...and used to be awful silly sometimes...but it was a joint decision and a group effort.
But I've been reading about the current craze for Neknominate...and people have died as a result of taking part. It involves drinking vast quantities of mixed alcohol...vodka and gin in a pint glass for instance. You are nominated by a friend or friends and they decide on the alcohol mix and provide it...you drink it and vomit or pass out or leap into icy cold rivers and drown.
Good fun is had by all.
The horror of this craze isn't that it is confined to stupid teenagers desperate to keep up with their mates...one man who died was twenty-nine.
The grim reality hit home this morning when Himself saw one of his grand-daughters partners was challenging some of his friends to a Neknominate...they have two small children and a hefty mortgage and he's in his thirties.
A few years ago I used to watch a detective programme on television...in one episode the main detective was faced with interviewing a suspect in a child abuse case...he leaned across the table and shouted one sentence at the pathetic suspect which has always stayed in my mind...'What is it with you people?'
And what is it which is so awfully lacking in people's lives that they feel the need to encourage and persuade their apparent friends to drink huge amounts of potentially lethal mixes of alcohol...and what is missing in the friends lives that they don't simply walk away ?