It Only Takes One to End the Fun

Evan Carey

My Essay

Drinking and driving has had a profound effect on myself and those in my family. When I was two months old, a drunk driver struck our car, destroying it and leaving me in intensive care with a cerebral hemorrhage and fractured skull. The event gave me coordination issues that have affected much of my life, from difficulty with walking and speaking as an infant to severe balance issues, damaged eyesight, and a partial lack of control over my hand muscles now. I know the effects drunk driving can have on a family firsthand. It’s a primary reason I have sworn off of alcohol use for life, something unheard of where I grew up. I was born in Wisconsin, a state with an abysmal record of drunk driving, which can be seen through statistics and personal experience. Alcoholism is not uncommon there--it is expected. People binge drink on weekdays, twenty one has no meaning, and drunk driving is nonchalantly boasted about in public even by high school students. Speaking critically of it is borderline taboo: everyone is permitted to put each other in danger while no one says anything about it. When these actions catch up to someone on the road, people will raise a drink to them at their funeral. I have never had qualms about breaking social conventions if it means articulating what I believe is right and the ever-pervasive alcohol problem in my hometown was by no means excluded. When someone talks about “that crazy time they drove right by a cop while drinking,” I’ll ask them why they think it’s worth bragging about. When someone says that drunk driving only affects the driver, I’ll tell them about my experience getting hit, and how it changed my family forever. When someone tells me that everyone drives drunk, the response is simple: “I don’t!” I firmly believe in leading by example and place faith in the principle that small actions can impact many people. I would not ask the people I grew up with, or anyone for that matter, to hold themselves to a standard I would not gladly follow. Social pressure caused much of the drunk driving problem in my town, people would get pushed into it by friends, and in turn, they would do the same. Only by breaking the perception of normality can the cycle end. Even if I’m the only one refusing to participate in or accept the behavior today, others will agree tomorrow. I always have spoken against the culture encouraging drunk driving, and I always will. Even if I can only convince one person, then that's one less drunk driver on the road. One driver off of the road can save a family, a group of friends, or anything in between. In a small town such as the one I grew up in, one avoided accident impacts everyone. Whoever said a simple change--like just being willing to talk about a problem--can’t be a significant one?

About Me

I’m Evan Carey. I was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and move to the Portland Metropolitan Area in 2016. Since the move, spinal injuries rooting from an earlier car accident have left my mother unable to work, placing our household in an uncomfortable economic situation that my sister and I push through in order to attain our educations and excel. I actively participate in educational activities, some of which are with my school while others are not. I am currently enrolled in five AP classes, and I additionally prepare for my primary co-curricular Quiz Bowl, in which I compete, assist students, and volunteer. I will be competing in a national tournament in Chicago for Quiz Bowl in April. I study multiple foreign languages—Chinese, German, Russian, and Arabic—three of which are completely self taught. My love of foreign languages encouraged me to spend time helping foreigners learn English, which I also do in my free time. I also enjoy reading, computer games, and chess.