Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 07.06.11
Stanstead, Quebec


Bandages? We don't need no stinkin' bandages!

Every now and then, society's moral decline just up and slaps you in the face like that lady at the bus stop I told the joke to about the meter maid and the asparagus.

Case in point: Recently, my daughter Katie graduated from Alexander Galt High School. Along with a diploma, each student received a small graduation-night emergency kit. The contents included a pre-paid calling card, a business card for a taxi service, a small pamphlet listing youth resources and emergency numbers, an antiseptic swab, a Band-Aid, and a condom.

To be quite frank, I was shocked. I was shocked and frank. Shocked, frank, and flummoxed.

What a thing to hand out to impressionable young men and women!

A Band-Aid!

What kind of message is that sending the kids?

It's like giving them permission to just go ahead and have scrapes.

Sure, we've all heard the argument: Like it or not, young people are going to engage in illicit injuries, so they might as well have some sort of protection.

This may be so, but by providing them with adhesive bandages, we are essentially condoning casual cuts, licentious lacerations, and the improper handling of sharp objects. We might as well just hand them some glossy paper and say, " Here, run this along the webbing between your toes for a while and see what happens."

Please don't get me wrong: I am not anti-bandage. Disposable bandages are an important part of practicing safe salve. I'm actually glad the days are over when you felt you had to travel all the way to the pharmacy in the next town just to avoid the embarrassment of purchasing Band-Aids. And remember the would-be cool guys who carried Band-Aids around in their wallets for so long that the absorbent pad would leave an outline in the leather? Those guys never used the Band-Aids, of course, but still they carried them around because, you never know, one day they might get " unlucky."

I'm happy that adhesive bandages aren't hidden at the back of drug stores anymore but are readily available at corner stores, gas stations, bars, even vending machines. It's great that a young woman can walk up to her school nurse and say, " I'm thinking of having scratches. Can you give me some Band-Aids?" And then the nurse can have a conversation with the girl about whether her boyfriend is pressuring her into holding his unfriendly cat or going all the way into the raspberry bushes.

But these are individual decisions. To simply give every young person a Band-Aid on the off chance that they might " make a booboo call" (as the young kids say today) in fact greatly increases the chances that they will indeed " get it on." They'll get it on their elbow, they'll get it on their pinkie, they'll get it on their chin, they'll get cuts everywhere!

Speaking of getting it on, what's the use of dispensing Band-Aids if kids don't even know how to use them -- getting it out of the package, peeling it, applying it. This is tricky business! And you only get one shot at it, because if you mess up, the Band-Aid is useless. If you've never put on a Band-Aid before, it can be an intimidating sticky mess. And what if the Band-Aid breaks? That's just asking for an unwanted infection.

The bottom line is that most young people are not emotionally ready for the hard lessons of lesions. Sadly, our society already bombards them with images of cuts, lacerations, scrapes, abrasions, and pricks. Why should we add to this onslaught of ouchies by suggesting a Band-Aid will make everything better?

Instead of handing out bandages, schools should be promoting abstinence. Abstinence and astringents. Just say no to booboos. Anything else is simply a Band-Aid solution. Obviously.

Bandages? We don't need no stinkin' bandages!

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at