Kids these days… you can’t take ‘em and you can’t shove ‘em under a moving car. At this point in my life I should be saying, “Man, I wish I were a kid again.” But, you know what? I’m not. I don’t like what I’m seeing out there: Hoodlums, punks and brats… oh my.
When I was a kid, I’d come home from school, throw my books down, eat an apple and then tear outside to play with friends. At dinnertime, my mom would ring a bell, signaling my brothers and me to come and eat. The family sat around the table and my dad asked, “So, what did you learn in school today?”
“Nothing,” we answered him in unison, while shoveling Mom’s casserole down our throats. Every so often one of us slipped and said “damn,” an infraction my father punished by smacking the foul-mouthed offender on the back of the head. Hmph! Nowadays, hitting a child like that could easily command a million dollar lawsuit.
Dad’s other form of stifling bad behavior was to deliver a boot in the ass. Jeez, if I’d been born a couple of decades later, I could have slapped a lawsuit on him and pocketed a cool three million.
Talk about social change… These days there are kids who are losing their virginity by age 10! When I was 10, I was still misplacing toys. When my friends and I tried to get the low-down on sex, we spent weeks tracking down a Playboy magazine, then took turns spending the night with the issue. Today, all a teenage boy has to do to see a naked woman is type “hottie” into a major internet search engine, and 60,000 porno sites pop up—among other things. Sex is everywhere. Kids probably know as much as their parents. You could probably get a few pointers from your children: “So you’re saying I should touch your mother where?”
All too often, parents today want their kids to be their best friends. Punishment is usually something like: “You are forbidden to download any songs today.” Whatever happened to chores? As I observe the lazy children out here, I’ve become convinced that I was suckered as a kid. Damn, why did I have to be burdened with learning life lessons such as Do a job right the first time, Take responsibility and Work hard and the rewards will follow? Why couldn’t my parents be my friends instead of, well, my parents? We could’ve drunk beers together, smoked dope and gone to Starbucks while the gardener did the yard work.
These days, my neighborhood is filled with kids that I rarely see. My suspicion is that they are inside their houses playing video games, watching TV, instant-messaging friends or chit-chatting on IPhones bought by parents as a reward for taking out the garbage one time last year.
TV is an abomination. Hard to believe it, but in my day, we only had three channels to choose from and we had to get off the couch and walk to the television set to switch from one channel to another.
Oh the inhumanity!
We watched shows like Happy Days, where Arthur Fonzeralli—aka “The Fonz”—was always trying to “neck” with a “chick.” These days, you could be sitting on the couch when a nearly naked Girls Gone Wild commercial flashes across the screen. The most disheartening aspect of all of this is that our children—our future—are watching. Is it any wonder why we have so many people coming from other countries to work as doctors here? I doubt they grew up on the boob tube. These formerly poor, Third World, self-made millionaires probably got ahead just by…reading a book.
I know I’ll sound like a grumpy old man if I bring up the music these punks listen to today, so I’ll give them a pass on that because every generation hates the music of the previous one.
You know what? I’m sorry. I have to at least mention Hip Hop. I can understand the repetitive noise, but the lyrics? If I heard “bitch” and “ho” in a 70’s song, I’d just figure it was about a dog doing some gardening. Never in history has music been so vulgar. I just couldn’t imaging Sinatra singing “F*#* me to the Moon.”
Also, aren’t there a lot more predators out there than ever before? What’s up with that? Aren’t the older women putting out anymore? But seriously, there’s way too many sickos running around. Chuck ‘em in prison. Once in jail they can see first hand what it’s like to be preyed upon by a muscled felon named Sweaty, who sports a tattoo that reads “I HATE KITTY CATS.”
It’s not just piggy men; there have also been a slew of female teachers sleeping with their students. I could understand if these ‘educators’ were ugly and homely, but the crazy thing is they’re babes. It’s disgraceful, disgusting, but more importantly, it’s befuddling. I mean, where were they when I was a kid? I loved my French teacher. Unfortunately, she insisted on enforcing boundaries. Sacred bleu!
I do understand why parents are extra protective these days. Who can blame them after watching a Dateline show with Chris Hansen? Men of all shapes and sizes with internet names such as HUNGHORSE69 or LICKDASTICK show up to what they think is a 13-year-old’s house. They bring a six-pack, strip down to their underwear and take out a box of condoms, supposedly to blow up into balloon animals.
When it comes to mealtime, children are chowing down. They’re a lot fatter today then ever before. No more kid’s meals for them. Newsflash, drinking Coca-cola and eating Doritos is not a great way to start your day, and could ruin your appetite for your Dr. Pepper and Cheetos lunch later on. Somewhere along the way, fruits and vegetables got booted off the island to be replaced by pizza and Skittles.
More and more children are waddling into their pediatrician’s offices, and it’s not just for Ritalin anymore. Some are going for the liposuction. We need a gigantic American intervention to get kids off junk food, otherwise I think Gen X’s children will come to be known as The Diabetic Generation.
Who’s to blame? Everyone. We’re all part of the problem. We’ve allowed society to dictate how we raise our children. We believe psychological mumbo-jumbo that tells us spanking or yelling at our kids will damage them for life. We don’t force them to go out and play. We give them things merely because they asked for them. “No” means “maybe tomorrow.” I have a feeling that when they get older they’ll be wondering why the trees don’t have money on them.
I’m glad that when I was a kid I was a kid. Instead of the internet occupying my childhood, I went for a hike in the woods, played baseball, swam in the ocean or climbed into a tree fort with my friends. I could talk to strangers and I learned how to look someone in the eye. I miss my childhood but I wonder if today’s kids will miss theirs. I remember my parents huffing: Kids these days! But at least I heard them, which I never would have if my ear had been glued to a cell phone.