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 Lisa Burgess

Phoenix High School
Phoenix, Oregon

"Have you ever been scared to watch the news because of all the negative and depressing things happening? I'm aware that destitution and devastation are always the top stories of the night. If it isn't that some girl got nabbed from her house while her mother was there, it's a psycho who takes out Nancy Kerrigan, a world class figure skater. And the scariest part is thinking about how this could have been prevented. But some things cannot be prevented. I don't care how careful someone is, we are all potential victims. You cannot be a paranoid schizophrenic because you'll kill yourself worrying.

Yes, Mom, it isn't like it used to be. You could do all sorts of stuff and not worry about weirdoes. But Mom, I'm predicted to live to be what, 79?

If I get some serious disease or illness, I have a better chance of living. Heck, in twenty years maybe I could be cured for just about anything, and if not, they could freeze me and fix me later. But can someone tell me my odds of making it to 20 with all the stuff that my generation is faced with? Someone is either murdered, raped, or killed in drunk driving accidents every hour, or something like that.

Yes, grown ups, I need to be more mature and take responsibility for my actions. I'm 17 years old here and not to blame for the ozone layer depletion. I'm just trying to enjoy my youth. Oh, but you tell me that all the time, too. All the problems you've put before me, though, to put it bluntly, are the ones that you "adults" have created for me. "Thanks!" I think that it is time for you "adults" to take responsibility for what you have or have not done. Don't get me wrong. I'm not some teen trying to shift responsibility. I am just a teen that would like a few "grown ups" to stop creating problems for me.

You know what makes life bearable for me? The fact that I have a chance to make a difference; the feeling that I, Lisa Burgess, may be able to do and be something important. What would it feel like to be a cancer researcher that takes an important step toward a cure, not to be glorified, but for so many other reasons. I read of how Jack Nicholson tried to donate 60 acres to conservancy in California anonymously, but it was publicized because too many people knew that he owned the land. There are so many people, though, that are not in the spotlight that do things anonymously and are successful.

People who could donate blood have no idea that something that takes less than an hour can be so valuable. Debra Bellum never realized how important it was until her daughter Nicole needed blood transfusions. Debra's co-workers lined up at the blood bank the next day when they learned of Nicole's condition. You really never think much of something until it happens to you or someone around you and then it becomes important. Although it was always important before, people always need a reminder.

Then there's the social worker that helps hundreds of people for a little above minimum wage. They're affected because they see things day in and day out. Hats off to those who truly enjoy their jobs serving in their communities. Not like a crooked governor, that we elect, that steals money from us tax payers, but the decent human being who lives next door.

I realize that along the way I could have moderate to serious problems, but either you deal with it and go on or not deal with it and go on. Hey, it's that simple. People who take responsibility for their actions are the people with morals and a value system. That may be a bold statement, but there's no time for hinting around anymore. Now is, I believe, a time for action. People are too self-centered, egotistical, and too proud for their own good. All too many people complain about all their problems without trying to help find solutions, not only with many of society's serious flaws, but even with their own meaningless problems.

Excuse me for calling those, trivial little problems, that coincidentally they got themselves into, but I see no comparison with a lot of other things. You think you've got it bad, but believe me, there's always someone who has it worse. Have you ever noticed, though, how in times of true disaster that directly affects people, they become closer and stronger through it? I think that maybe it's a hint that you're supposed to learn from your mistakes and use them beneficially. A good example is Magic Johnson with AIDS. He is now speaking out and trying to educate others.

I believe that the solution is education. Now this is not my solution, it has always existed. In fact, there is really no new solution. At one time or another we have already found the solution, but not the courage, time, or resources to effect it, I guess. To teach, you cannot be a hypocrite. The parent or teacher that says one thing and does another I cannot chastise enough.

Personally my main problem is the curfew thing with Ma and Pa. Oh, well, I'm almost 18. That's when I'll be considered an adult no matter how immature I am. It's scary, folks, because for a lot of people I'm your future and you're my test subjects. I'm creating the future for my kids and hope that, like so many other people, I can make it better for them."




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