Home > Depressing, Fun Childhood, Funny, Midwest, My Brother, My Mom, My Sister, Nostalgia, Ohio, Silliness, Strange, Weird, Worry > The Time I Wanted to be a Junkie When I Grew Up

The Time I Wanted to be a Junkie When I Grew Up

So there was this anti-drug PSA in the ’80s that tried to scare kids by saying that, “No one ever says, ‘I wanna be a junkie when I grow up.'” Here, you can see it below if you want to relive your “Just Say No” days.


When I was little, I usually said that I wanted to be an alien when I grew up. However, after seeing this PSA, my new default response was, indeed, “I wanna be a junkie!” I was around seven years old and cute as a button, and I loved the reaction I’d get from saying this. Most people would be horrified, and glare at my parents with undisguised hostility.

My family had always been suspicious amongst the other parents at school, mostly because of my mom’s refusal to wear bras in public, her overall hippie ways, and our conspicuous absence at church. Strangers would accuse my mom of putting false eyelashes on me as a toddler, but my natural lashes were simply absurdly long. When she’d tug at my eyes to show them that my lashes were real, they’d still continue to shake their heads in disgust. (Side note: Long eyelashes are not all they’re cracked up to be. Bugs often land on mine and get stuck like they’re in a venus fly trap, and I have to wear my glasses halfway down my nose so that they don’t touch my lashes. Just saying.)

But I was completely oblivious to my parents’ embarrassment, and would gleefully tell anyone in earshot that all I wanted in life was to become a junkie. Except that I didn’t really know what a junkie was, but I figured it involved a lot of screaming, sweating, and running. I also thought it meant living in a cardboard box on the street, which perhaps wasn’t too far from the truth. I begged my parents to let me live outside in a large appliance box, but my pleas were ignored. Considering that a family of six deer lived in our backyard at the time, perhaps they were worried I’d be hooved to death? I assume it would be traumatic to go outside and find your daughter impaled on a set of antlers.

Eventually, I got them to agree to let me live in the box, but only indoors. I set up my box like a fort with blankets, magazines, and a flashlight. I also shook a little empty soup can full of pennies at my sister, asking her for change. She was not amused. I would randomly start tugging at my clothes like the girl from the commercial, rolling around on my blankets and screaming like a banshee. I thought the whole thing was pretty fun, but my parents were beginning to worry that there was something wrong with me. This was around the time they decided to take my college fund and use it for a cruise to Alaska, since I was obviously committed to being a homeless drug addict. (Note: This is a complete lie. I wasn’t really that committed. And my parents funded my completely useless degree.)

As I remember, I lived and slept in my box for about two days before the novelty finally wore off. My brother, who was in college at the time, found it completely hilarious, but I think he was the only one. And I wonder why I didn’t have that many friends as a child.

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