After the Party’s Over

There is a side to partying with alcohol and illicit drugs few have seen. I witnessed this hideous side as a college tutor for the learning impaired and physically challenged in the 1980’s. It was during this time Scott and Cathy became students of mine. Both, once had an excellent chance at success. But in less than a minute it was ripped from them.

Scott’s Story

In high school Scott maintained a “B” average. He enjoyed participating in marching band. And was instrumental in starting the science club.

After high school, Scott planned to attend a leading university majoring in science. With graduation not more than a few nights past, Scott and his friends, Mike, Keith, and Jason were invited to a party in Malibu.

At the party was plenty of food, girls, alcoholic drinks and marijuana. Scott and his friends had never been to such a party! The most they ever drank was a beer. But there was something provocative about the night. The peer pressure was strong! Everyone was drinking and smoking – seemingly having a great time. As the evening wore on, Mike, then Keith and Jason started drinking more. Someone offered them a joint. They tried it, and liked the “good” feeling it provided. Scott was soon persuaded to join them.

In the early hours of the morning, they staggered out to Mike’s pick-up. Mike and Keith climbed into the cab, Scott and Jason clamored into the bed of the truck. Laughing and hollering, they sped down Pacific Coast Highway. Turning sharply at Malibu Canyon Road, the small pick-up fish-tailed from Mike’s failure to slow down.

Mike’s foot rested heavy upon the accelerator. The truck weaved all over the narrow canyon road. The crest of the highway made a sharp U, Mike misjudging the turn crashed through the safety rail plummeting over the side of the steep canyon.

The top of the cab was crushed on the first flip making it impossible for Mike and Keith to survive. Jason jumped from the bed of the truck as it hit the railing . Scott was catapulted through the darkness of night. His body crashed into the dense chaparral with his head striking against the rocky terrain; he lost consciousness.

Jason bruised and cut badly crawled to the road’s edge where he flagged down a highway patrol car.

Scott was rushed to a local hospital with multiple fractures and a serious head injury. For weeks he remained in a coma. He was to become one of many young people to suffer from a condition known as ABI (Acquired Brain Injury).

Scott made steady improvements. In six months everyone was celebrating his recovery. Yet sadly, one never recovers from ABI. Scott had beaten death to find himself in a living hell.

I first met Scott in a human biology class on a local college campus. He sat in the front row, I sat several rows back. He tape recorded the lectures; and tried to sketch the diagrams the professor put on the overhead projector. When he failed to get it down in the more than sufficient time allowed, he became angry with frustration.

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