It's Hard Being Dead This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   As the bell rang, I realized it was time. I entered the bathroom, taking my time. I realized that my teacher wouldn't mind if I was late. This was a special day. I changed into my clothes - my black velvet pants and black shirt. I smeared on the white makeup, trying to use as little as possible. My little white bottle had to last everyone the whole day. Then, the final touch, my little sign. I wrote in red, "SUZY - KILLED BY A TRACTOR TRAILER DRIVEN BY A DRUNK DRIVER."

Today was Dead Day. One person is killed every 21 minutes by a drunk driver. In order to make that statistic real, 17 of us became "dead" for the day. We weren't allowed to talk, just keep a somber expression on our faces. I, of course, had volunteered to go first. Big mistake.

My first class was Physics, and there were only three students in the class, and this particular day we had a sub, so we had no work to do. That left two students to try to make the third, me, laugh. With 84-minute classes and persistent friends, I had a hard time. I started writing in my notebook to give myself something to concentrate on, rather than my melting makeup that itched.

I managed to make it through the day by either yawning or sticking my fist in my mouth every time I had the urge to laugh. Even the teachers made it difficult, with discussions about embalming and necrophilia. Still, most admired us for our message, or at least our ability to keep our mouths shut.

I hope the day affected someone. By the end, everyone was hugging each other like they had been separated for months. A hall monitor had heard the announcement about my "death" and had become hysterical because she thought it was true. Some of the dead people had been so realistic that they scared their friends. If just one person decided not to drink and drive because of what we did, we accomplished something.

I learned a lot. I would make a lousy ghost because I laugh at everything. Calculus goes a lot faster when you know you won't be called on for any answers. One also gets to thinking when they can't talk. The one thing that hit me the hardest was something that I had said in the parking lot on the way into school. "I have a lot of things to take care of before I die today." Would I really be worrying about loose ends if I were? The important thing to remember is, at the end of the day, I could still think about such things. I wasn't really dead. There were others who weren't as lucky - and that was the point. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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whatever... said...
Sept. 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm
I really enjoyed this article. THANK YOU! I agree completely! People should think before drinking and driving. I know of many people that died in (drinking and driving) accidents that it makes me sad to think that people would still do it. Another think to think about would be how many of those people that died were actually the ones drunk.
 
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