Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash
Around office water coolers, the strange tale of the “Affluenza Teen” was all the rage back in 2015.
Ethan Couch, while still a minor, sought to evade responsibility for causing four deaths while driving drunk by using the defense that his pampered upbringing left him unable to tell the difference between right and wrong, a made-up condition dubbed “affluenza”.
At first he managed to avoid prison with an extended probation, but when it began to look like he would be prosecuted for violating the terms of that probation, Ethan and his mother fled to Mexico.
Eventually he was returned to the U.S. and did serve some jail time, but his complicated struggles and terrible repuation occasionally re-surface in the news. When all is said and done, it’s likely that the affluenza defense will be his enduring legacy.
When Trail Baboon singsong poet laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler learned of this sad (but uniquely American) story, he thought the topic was weighty enough to be worth at least three limericks. In typical TSW fashion, it turned out only one of them was any good.
A young criminal said, in his view,
He was over-indulged as he grew.
The disease that he got
made him easy to spot.
He was one of a privileged flu.