Merrills’ message to Lawton Middle School students: Take just 10 more seconds to think

Illusionist, “Mr. Jim” Merrills, recently presented an alcohol awareness program during a Lawton Middle School assembly.

   LAWTON - Illusionist “Mr. Jim” Merrills recently presented an alcohol awareness  program to Lawton Middle School students during an assembly.
   Merrills opened the presentation with examples of how drugs, like alcohol and nicotine, can create an illusion on the mind, or to the casual observer.
   After the students identified  “toxic” as the primary word in “intoxicated,” and acknowledged that the alternate meaning is “poison,” Merrills  said  that “one’s use can result in what physician’s call “alcohol poisoning.”
   Merrills, who is Project Alert certified, demonstrated how alcohol affects the brain, how intoxication begins with the first drink.
   According to Merrills, students come to realize that something is already occurring before one is legally “drunk” (.08 Blood Alcohol Content), like “buzzed” or “tipsy.”
   Along with a number of illusions, to illustrate his points, Merrills kept the students’ attention with a number of brief life-stories that served to make the presentation personal and real.
   The message also focused on responsibility for others, except Merrills spells it differently - “response ability” - everyone has the ability to respond to someone who is in need of direction.
   Merrills doesn’t drink, and explained to the student body that  many adults don’t.
   “I have two very beautiful reasons for not drinking - my  daughters - who are now in their 20s. My daughters never wondered if I would make it home at night. They never wondered if I’d say something I’d regret the next day. They never wondered if I’d physically hurt them, while under the influence. As a man, I have no regrets for choosing not to drink.”
   Merrills closed the presentation sharing his “10-second theory.” He noted that many school districts have an “empty desk” today, a student who didn’t believe something could happen to them. If given 10 more seconds in life to choose, Merrills believes that one of those missing students would give back that last drink or last ride with an intoxicated friend, in exchange for life, their family, friends, career, pets and more.
   “But we don’t always get a second chance to decide,” said Merrills.
   Lawton Middle School Principal Tim Cerven said that Merrills’ “life experiences, humor and ability to use magic to convey his message easily captures and holds the attention of the students.” Just as importantly, “His message includes details and facts which is delivered at a level that adolescent students can comprehend as well as connect the topic to current issues.”
   The Randall Residence of Lawton was a sponsor of the program.
   For more more information about Mr. Jim’s prevention presentations go to: www.mr-jim.com.

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