For me, and many of the readers of my Year on the Road, prom night is a half-century in back of us. The luckiest of those folks still see their prom dates every night at dinnertime.
Many have children or grandchildren who are churning with excitement as their own prom nears.
On April 20, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida, there was a dress rehearsal for prom night. Not the dress rehearsal where fathers worry and wonder how their daughter’s dresses stay up. Not the one where the boys need to find out the color of their date’s dress so that the corsage matches. Not the one where I get to reminisce how great Penny Pollock looked in her fiery orange gown that Bridgeton High School night.
Last night’s dress rehearsal was staged by the Trauma Center of Tallahassee Memorial Health Care to raise awareness that prom night has a tragic side.
Somewhere there will be an alcohol-related auto wreck. A real teen will die, another maimed, another sick to death for life for causing the accident. A school will be in shock: kids traumatized, parents crushed, angry, and grieving. Other parents hide their guilty gratitude that it was someone else’s kids. And for an entire class, prom night will not be the fountain of treasured memories and comedic anecdotes.
The Trauma Center with the help of local police and emergency response teams stage an authentic-looking accident. Using teens as actors and a real totaled car, they act out a grisly scene. Sirens screech the arrival of emergency teams, police restrain hysterical parents, and frantic EMT’s attempt resuscitation. Bandages, joke blood, and makeup enhance the reality of the setting.
The simulation does its job. However much, the kids who participate or observe take away a sense of having witnessed a real experience, and are less likely to be prom night statistics. Would that there were some way to measure statistics that never came to pass.
Is there a way a word from you might commence or enhance a program like this? Is there a way a word from you might make a difference to a young person?
And, for my own curiosity, who among you are still going steady with your prom date?