We’ve gotten away, I think, from the many, many amusements that are provided to us, free of charge, amusements too often not seen as the social faux pas and awkward stages that they are.
I refer, of course, to teenagers.
Fuzzy, awkward, insecure, I’m afraid that too many people have stopped seeing what these mostly-grown children truly are and see only what they fear.
Baggy-pantsed ingrates! Hormonally-raging pups! Texting, sexting, foul-mouthed, line-jumping, no-manners-having cretins!
Or maybe that’s just on my bus?
Or perhaps we’ve stopped seeing so many of them for what they because of what we adults secretly envy.
I mean, sure. I’d like my teenage body back. Heck, I’d like YOUR teenage body back, but you had your time, didn’t you? And so did I. I’m not suggesting that we lie down in the middle of the road and pray that The End is quick. All I’m saying is that maybe you shouldn’t wear that tube top.
Or maybe you should. Maybe I would write about it.
Why have we given teenagers so much power? Frankly, I blame Marketing – and the fact that the little buggers have so much disposable income. Would it be wrong to mandate savings accounts? Yes, I suppose it would.
We’ve focused so heavily on petting the tops of their shiny pubescent heads whilst crooning, Hey! how ‘bout a new cell phone? How ‘bout you personalize everything you own? How ‘bout you travel blindly, assured that you are supremely special and entitled to whatever you like?
Some of them seem drunk with this power, sure of their omnipotence.
Hey, I would be too, if I were being raised in a culture that worships youth.
There was a group of teenagers at the back of the bus the other day. Slumped in their seats, admirably walking the line between expressions intended to display that they’d seen it all and faces eagerly exuberant, they were, as James Brown would say, talking loud and saying nothing.
Easily heard above my iPod, I gave in and shut it off.
“You know what I hate the most?” says the one clearly winning the exposed-underwear category of this particular pageant.
“White people, man. I just hates white people.”
The bulk of commuters around me, all white, go stiff and silent as the kids nod in agreement with each other as they go over the list of things they hate, these 15, 16 year-old citizens of the world. Me, too! Me, too! I hates Cheerios! I hates unsalted fries! I hates white people!
I turn around, smile, with my best Aunt Pearl face, into the eyes of the one who seemed to have the most to say.
“Oh, n-not you, ma’am,” apologizes Droopy-Drawers. He is mortified, and it shows in his eyes. “I didn’t mean you.”
“Oh, I know you didn’t mean me,” I said, leaning toward him, “but you never know who’s listening when you talk that loud, do you?”
And then I went back to my iPod.
I got off the bus a couple stops later, hoping they’d think about that: about what was said, about the future that they wanted to be a part of.
Twice Hit. Many Times Shy.
11 hours ago