Can someone explain "huffing" to me.


Tom Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure you all saw the same article I did in last Friday's Roundup, the one that talked about kids "huffing."

The article I understood.

The kids I didn't.

What's the best feeling in the world?

Feeling bright eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to meet the world.

What's the worst feeling in the world?

I'll just quote a few words from the article:

"stumbled out of a park bathroom..."

"often knocks people out for a minute..."

"can also prove fatal..."

"they hallucinate..."

"the teen said he had drank a tenth of a bottle of vodka, three-fourths of a 40 oz. beer, a bottle of Robitussin and smoked four or five bowls of marijuana..."

Enough! That feels good?

Not in my world! In my world a day when I stumbled around after being nearly knocked out, and then wandered around hallucinating would be the worst day of my life.

I am dead serious. I am not asking a question for the sake of making an effect.

Has life become so bad for teenage kids that they really can find nothing better to do than turn themselves in zombies? Is there something I am not seeing? Is there a reason for all this? And if there is, what is it and what can we do about it?


Pat Randall 5 years, 10 months ago

Show your kids you love them !
Watch them. Do things with them. Make the kids earn thier own cars and pay for the insurance, gas etc. They won't have time to do all the crap you mentioned. Don't keep alcohol and legal drugs laying around in your home. Legal drugs can do just as much harm as illegal ones. Set an example. Check up on where they are. Ground them if they are where they are not supposed to be. No cell phones except for emergencys. Watch what they are doing on the computer. Show them you love them ! The town doesn't have to be worrying about getting more places for them to go or things for them to do.


Pat Randall 5 years, 10 months ago

Tom, To answer your question what is huffing? It is abuse of inhalents. You know huffing and puffing.


Michael Alexander 5 years, 10 months ago

Back in the day (late 60's), the term "huffing" was reserved for the inhalation of paint and glue fumes. But more importantly, did the author of that article really write "had drank"...?


Tom Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago

"Set an example."

Amen! That's the big one.

I can attest to that because when I was teaching virtually every time a kid got into trouble and his parents came in the kids were mirror images, both in looks and attitude, of a pair of bongo-brain parents.

"No cell phones except for emergencys."

I agree, but I'm not because I'm old fashioned. As a former teacher I can tell you that the worst problem with kids is the "note sending" syndrome. You can see the same bongo-brained idea later in life with some people. I mean the ones who can't seem to ever shut, the ones who have to be on the phone every minute day and night. They just talk, talk, talk, but they never say anything.

I see people talking on a cell at all kinds of times when it just seems silly to me. For example while driving, or shopping, or doing something where they disturb other people or where they ought to be focused on what they are doing. Mind you, there are legitimate reasons for talking to people. And one of those legitimate reasons is because it may be fun to talk to some people. Not to mention the fact that it may be an incoming call, or that it may be an important outgoing call. I do not judge people where taste is concerned. I amy not like doing what you like doing but I'll fight to my last breath to make sure you can do it.

But the "talky-talk, empty head" syndrome is so prevalent in school kids (some of them anyway) that a parent ought to lay down the law. "Look, junior, that cell phone will NOT be used during the hours you are at school. And if it is, it will be the last time you ever use it!"

Personally, if it were me and I were a school principal, I would ban the things, except in lockers, from the start of the school day to the end of it. And if a violation occurred I would confiscate same until the parent came and got it--during school hours.


Tom Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago

As for huffing, I know what it is. I just don't understand how anyone could want to feel like he or she was dying. What's the matter? Can't wait? Drink a quart of Everclear and try the real thing.

In my high school class I had a GOOD friend who found out that by grunt breathing for fifteen or twenty seconds and than standing up he could pass out. He thought it was fun. Even though he was a good friend and had--believe it or not--an IQ of 162, I told him it was the most stupid thing I had ever personally seen anyone do.

There must be a screw loose somewhere in people who do things like that. My good buddy went off to MIT on a scholarship after we all graduated, and I thought he would go on to a long, happy life. I was in and out of town because of my military career and just lost track of most of my old friends, but one of them told me that the buddy I am talking about--one of the best friends I have ever had--had dropped out of MIT and was in Chicago working in a restaurant as a dishwasher. Why he didn't know.

Then I lost track of him altogether, as did everyone, and I have a strong impression that he died soon afterwards since no one was ever able to contact him again. What a waste. Great guy. Brilliant mind. But a no-show at the gate when it came to living a normal life.

I suspect that people like that are doomed unless someone intervenes while they are young.


As for that “had drank” thing, I'm willing to bet that what you are looking at is what happens when people who are rushing to meet a deadline revise a line and miss something that doesn't fit the revision. Sometimes when I am revising something for the fourth or fifth time I come across things I can't believe have slipped by me. You go to change a word or a phrase and cut the wrong word. Or you put a word in the wrong place and end up with something like, "He down went the street." Or you change tense and really end up with a mess.

I call it "the writer's curse." It's one reason I never send in anything (except here on the forum) without a proof reader (other than me!). Go check my posts. You could fill a whole book with, "Dumb things I can't believe Tom Garrett said."


Ruby Finney 5 years, 10 months ago

Remember the good old days when newspapers had proof readers? They caught those incorrect verbs, spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Do any of the schools even teach these things any longer?


Pat Randall 5 years, 10 months ago

Ruby. I am sure they all use computers and expect spell check to fix every thing. I saw a sentence today in the paper with the word dear, it should have been deer but spell check would miss that. I am beginning to think they don't teach anything in school. Computers and calculators do the work.

Marley, It is easy to lose track of best friends from school. I have one that lives in Okla. now and haven't heard from her in years even tho she comes back to Payson and Mesa to see relatives. She was bridesmaid at my wedding 59 yrs ago. Somehow if you don't stay in the same town you grew up in you lose touch. I have a cousin in Mesa that we communicate if someone dies or on our birthdays, but we know if one of us needs something the other will be there instantly. When you get to my age (74) you have reunions at funerals. Sad but true.


Tom Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago


I'm sure the schools teach those things. And I'm sure that many kids don't absorb them today, just as many failed to absorb them back when you and I attended school.

Teaching English must be a very hard job because of the frustration of seeing kids year after year who never seem to get it right.

I think there are three reasons for that: One is that when they aren't in school some kids don't hear good English. Another is that the best way to learn how to handle the language is to read, and from time immemorial too few people have read. And the third is a counter-culture that looks at good English as something to be avoided.

As for grammar et al, it is necessary to learn the basics, but after a few years of reading and writing English I think we speak and write correctly largely as a matter of having an ear for what's right and wrong, rather than having to keep the rules in mind as we speak and write.

Anyway, who am I to talk about good English? I go crazy looking at some of the things I write here on the forum. I see all kinds of things wrong with them. Quite often the spell checker misses something and I don't catch it either. Of course, that's not a crime, and I would never criticize anyone else for doing it, but it often changes the entire meaning of something. And sometimes I toss out a sentence that looks like something that grew in a dark corner of a cellar.

But you know what's truly interesting, Ruby? You can't imagine how many times I've read something that warned that when we start out to proofread our own work we run into an odd and almost insurmountable problem. We don't see what we said; we see what we intended to say. I'm revising a novel at the moment, one that I have revised six or eight times before, and yet I still find typos, some of them glaring. I don't know how you win that ball game. Maybe by having a split personality and doing your proofreading as an alter ego.


Tom Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago

Crazy! I was sitting here calmly answering Ruby's post, and in the meantime Marly put up two more and Pat put one up.

Okay, I'll start with Marly's first post.

Age at which I knew--let's call him Eddie. We were high school kids. After we graduated (1949), he and all the rest of my friends went off to college. I didn't. I never saw Eddie again. He was up in the MA and I down in CT. Men (boys) are not great letter writers. I then was called up on active duty and spent from 1951 through 1953 in the Air Force, at which time I lost contact with almost everyone I knew, again because men are not great letter writers. I returned to the States in June 1953, and met one of my other good friends, Harry, who told me of going out to Chicago to see Eddie, this being over a year earlier. I was unable to contact Eddie in any way, though I tried, quite hard in fact. From that day to this I have never heard a word about him, although I can tell you something odd that happened. When I first began doing the column for the Roundup I occasionally spoke of someone I knew, and I made the error of using real names. I do not do that anymore, and not for legal reasons. Most writers do not use real names for the same reasons I no longer do: There is a chance of intruding on someone's privacy. But before I changed I happened to write a column about Eddie and what happened. And I received an e-mail from someone who happened to be looking for someone of exactly the same (unlikely) name. I did not respond. I could add nothing more than I had already said in the column, so it would have been pointless.

As to your question about intervention (a good one by the way) we were too young, each just 16 or 17, for either of us to recognize signs which I would immediately recognize today. Life does not equip us that way. What we know about people is largely learned in psychology courses I was not to take for another decade. Too bad, although I don't know whether knowing anything more than I knew would have helped.

As to losing contact with all of my good friends, Marly, you have to have been in the military and separated from everyone by thousands of miles in places like Iceland, India, Japan, and Pakistan, as I was between 1951 and 1961, when I spent much more time overseas than I did in our country. I spent many more years overseas after that (I retired in 1973, having spent 7 of the 12 years from 61 to 73 overseas) but 51 to 61 were the critical years when the old group just took flight and went everywhere.

As soon as I settled down in one place I took steps to reconnect. I managed to find and reconnect with about half of the old gang, and am still in touch with those of them who remain alive.


Tom Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago


You need to try writing in a rush to meet a deadline if you want to see what can happen to your "command" of English. See what I said to Ruby about proofreading your own stuff. It's true, trust me. You just do not see what you wrote; you see what you intended to write. And when you go back in to amend something you set yourself up to make even more mistakes. I could see a dozen different ways in which the "had drank" thing might happen. To begin with it is partly quoted from someone else, and when you begin quoting and cutting you run into all kinds of errors. They seem to have a life of their own.

It's fascinating really. I would love to read a study about that kind of thing. You have no idea how much a sentence changes when you change just one word. You change one and then you see that we don't usually use that particular way of saying something. So you correct that and now some other part of the sentence becomes a problem. I have a thing about liking my sentences in a manuscript to flow from side to side of the paper, and do not like a large space on the right hand margin, so I often find myself rewording things just for that (dumb) reason. It's an education. You cannot imagine how many different ways there are of saying something, nor how many wasted words we put in what we say.

And I'm the worst of all when it comes to it, and make no bones about it.


"I am beginning to think they don't teach anything in school. Computers and calculators do the work."

Tsk! Tsk!

Have you forgotten? Your buddy Tom used to teach computer science, so the schools have to be teaching something. :-)

By the way, this has been interesting. I never post at this time of day. It's been kind of fun to be almost going back and forth "live" as it were.

However, I can't make a habit of it. Have too many other things to do at this time of day.


Pat Randall 5 years, 10 months ago

Marly, Sorry about your name. I looked to see how to spell it before I posted and didn't remember by the time I got back to where I typed it. I don't need to give a reason about my friends but will. I left in 1952, moved all over the state until 1958 when we settled in Mesa. We did come back to Payson at times to see our families but only for a weekend. The cousin was living in Ohio and Calif. I guess I said it wrong. We knew where each other was but a long ways to travel. We knew what the other was doing, just didn't communicate directly very often. The bridesmaid now lives in Okla. and has for quite a few years.
We were busy raising kids and taking care of our businesses. Ranches and construction work. Not much time left to visit. We didn't live normal lives where you took a week or two vacation every year. After reading my posts you must have figured out by now that I'm not normal so my friends wouldn't be either. (:


Ruby Finney 5 years, 10 months ago


Back to your statement at 8:47 yesterday about the children not retaining what was taught in English classes: When you and I learned Grammar and parsing sentences, etc., if we didn't learn enough to pass the tests at end of the semester, we just didn't pass and had to go back and redo the class again.

That put a lot of incentive into retaining what we learned. At my house, my parents also made it important to "get it right" . I blame this type of problem on the people who try to put social values and political correctness ahead of the three "R's" in our school system today.


Tom Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago


Maybe Pat got you mixed up with Jacob Marley. :-)


I really hate to tell you this. I truly do.

God I hate to say this!

You're normal. :-)


Right again!

At the moment our educational system has run off the rails except where individual teachers intervene, cheat a little, and make things work--almost. In elementary school we pass kids along from grade to grade whether they meet the standards or not. But then we punish the schools whose kids don't score high in tests of questionable validity, tests created for the sole purpose of destroying the public education system.

In high school, we then take kids who are used to being passed along and try to deal with the monsters we have created. Individual teachers go bananas trying to deal with a system which is wrong at both ends of the educational spectrum.

And schools with disadvantaged kids, who need more help, get less help because the feds and the state take money away from them because the kids just do not have what it takes to meet artificial standards set for the purpose of making public educational look bad so that public money can be siphoned off to business interests, which are allowed set up schools to compete with public schools, but do not have to hire qualified teachers, meet the same standards as public schools, or accept any kid who walks in the front door.

There are only two ways to approach passing and failing in school. One is to fail those who fail and let them take another shot at it. The other is to let someone who hasn't made the grade go to summer school, work, get tested, and IF passing, move on.

But that requires that the standards be, the first place, reasonable. And it requires that kids be allowed (in high school) to take only those courses which will help them in THEIR life goals, not what some legislature thinks they should take.

We are wrong at both ends of the educational spectrum. And until we manage to get a hands-off attitude toward both the feds and for the business world, one of which wants to runs education to socialize the world, and the other of which wants to tap into the educational cash-cow, we are only going to get worse!


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