You are standing there, trying to decide what to do. Your brain is telling you one thing, and all of your friends are there telling you another. What do you do? Do you go with your own opinion or listen to your friends? Are you your own person or a mindless sheep? Will you go down as a lily-livered loser or a legendary leader of men? We have all been in this difficult situation where we must overcome peer pressure. And chances are, you have done something, or in my case multiple somethings, that you wish you hadn’t done because you were trying to impress the people around you. This social pressure can be almost impossible to conquer, due to our primal, human need to belong. Every Easter I am reminded of the power of peer pressure, and the potential dangers of succumbing to it, due to the large number of hard boiled eggs that are made. You see, hard boiled eggs lead to deviled eggs, and I cannot even look at a deviled egg without remembering this important lesson.
It was a hot, humid afternoon in July, and I was 6 or 7 years old. It was one of the those perfect, scorching Summer days that are great for swimming in the pool and barbecuing, which is exactly what my family did. My family, my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle were all going to my aunt’s house for a pool party and cook out. It was so much fun. First, I got to spend the whole day splashing around in my aunt’s in-ground pool with my brother and sister. For someone who is disabled with almost no muscle tone, being in water is extremely freeing, because it makes moving so much easier. I could actually get my limbs to do what I wanted, and I cannot even begin to explain how great that taste of freedom feels. Second, it was a feast of food fit for a king. You name it, we had it. There were thick, juicy burgers, barbecue chicken, baked beans with an entire pig’s worth of bacon in them, peach pie, blueberry cobbler, and of course the cook out favorite, deviled eggs. I know I don’t look like it now as I am all of 55lbs, but I was a chunker when I was a kid. I was well passed maximum density, and I could put down some chow. With this smorgasbord in front of me, I went for my personal best too, and it was glorious. Once I had finished swimming, I remember leaning back after I had eaten my fill, and just feeling completely content.
As I was sitting there, enjoying my full belly, and conversing with my uncles and grandfather (who by this point had had a few drinks), they started to put away the left over food. My male relatives, and supposed role models, saw me eyeing the food they were gradually putting away. I was especially drawn to the 3 remaining deviled eggs, and even though I had already had about half a dozen, my uncle said, “Scotty, last chance at those eggs, you want another?” Of course, I said yes. A couple minutes later my uncle says, “Look! The deviled eggs are still out. You want one more?” I was pretty full, but they were so good that I just nodded and chewed. A couple minutes after that, with my stomach full to the brim, I hear my uncle ask, “There is only one left now, you might as well finish them off. Yah?” Now, I was at my limit. I knew I shouldn’t eat any more, but I saw my uncle and grandfather intently nodding at me, as a young boy of that age being seen as a grown man was huge to me, and it was just one little, deviled egg, so down the hatch it went. I gave in to the peer pressure, ate the last deviled egg, and earned the approval of my drunken relatives. Life was good.
Shortly after the last boat of yoke filled yumminess entered my belly, my family said their goodbyes and got in the van for the 90 minute ride home. We were all tired from a day of sun, fun, and food, so it was a pretty quiet ride. I was starting to doze off when I first felt it. My stomach was starting to churn like a washing machine on turbo. I burped once, and I felt a little better. Then, I burped again, and I felt better still. I went to burp a third time, but I got something else instead. Those 9 deviled eggs I had eaten decided to make a return visit to this world, and they were not so enjoyable the second time. I blew chunks everywhere. Warm, egg juice was all over me, my seat, and the van. I was a mess, and in an enclosed van in 90 degree heat, you can imagine how great it smelled for the remaining hour drive home. As I sat there sticky and covered in the feast I had just savored, all I could think was, “Well, at least my stomach feels better now.” Glass half full, right?
This tale of the last deviled egg is one of Drotar lore to this day. No matter how many times we tell it though, it is still the first thing I think of when I am faced with peer pressure. I knew that I should not have eaten that last deviled egg, but thanks to the prodding and coaxing of people who I wanted to impress, I did something I wouldn’t normally do. The social desire to be accepted and belong overpowered my better judgement, and I ended up paying the consequences. This lesson goes even deeper, because it also shows how when the ramifications of my poor decision erupted, the peers I was trying to impress were no where to be found. They helped create the problem, but I was left on my own to clean up the mess. This is exactly how it happens in nearly every situation where you give in to peer pressure. They may be your best friends during the fun part, but when the shit hits the fan, more often than not you’re on your own, covered in egg juice, in a smelly van.
The power of peer pressure is very difficult to overcome in many situations, but it is important to remember to be your own person. Only you know what is best for you. Don’t get talked into doing something you would not normally do, when that voice in your head is saying “Don’t be a sheep!” Instead, cowboy up, put on your big boy pants, and make your own choices. Don’t eat the last deviled egg. Any time you are considering giving in to peer pressure just imagine sitting in a small, metal box, on a 90 degree day, covered in egg vomit, and I guarantee that you will rethink your decision. You won’t eat that last deviled egg, I promise. It’s been working for me for years.