School is still mandatory, right?

This is a quote straight from my grandfather’s mouth but, “what is it with kids today?” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy meeting people of all ages, but nothing like meeting a very young person makes me sigh with disbelief quite like anything else. And when I say young, I’m talking about young adults. (Let’s give actual kids a pass on this) And, of course, it’s not ALL young pups, but a helluva lot of ’em these days.

I don’t consider myself old. I’m just over 40, but I still find myself, on occasion, in the same places as young-uns. Consequently, you end up meeting and ultimately TALKING with them. It can be quite the experience. At first I wrote it off to me being a decade older, growing up in a different time, having nothing in common, or whatever. But the more I talk with some of them, the less forgiving I find myself. I’ll give you some examples:

(Speaking with a girl in her early 20’s about recent historic events)

Me: “Yeah, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the The USSR collapsed.”

Girl: “What’s the USSR?”

Me: “You’re kidding…It was a Russian confederation, basically”

Girl: “Russia collapsed?! When did that happen?

Me: “It didn’t exactly…nevermind. It happened in 1991”

Girl: “Oh, well I was only 6 then”

Me: “Granted, and I was only 6 when the Vietnam war ended, but I still know it happened..”


(Speaking with an equally young man about his desire to travel)

Him: “Have you done much traveling?”

Me: ” I’ve been out of the country on a few occasions.”

Him: “Man, I’d like to go to Brazil, but it might be tough to get around.”

Me: “Why is that?”

Him: “I don’t speak Brazilian.”

Me: “They don’t either.”

Him: “Oh man, that’s right, they speak Spanish! …duh!”

Me: “Actually, they speak Portuguese.”

Him: “Really? You mean like in Portugal?”

Me: “Exactly.”

(I can forgive Spanish as an answer, but I mean seriously… Brazilian?!)

On another occasion I had the pleasure of speaking with a young girl about the nature of the earth. She got this perplexed look when I stated that that it’s humbling to consider that the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. Her ACTUAL response: “How can the earth be that old when this is only the year 2010?” She then raised an eyebrow as if to say: “Aha, gotcha!” For a split second I actually thought about trying to explain what the Julian/Gregorian Calendar is, but took another look at that raised eyebrow and decided it was a losing battle.

I’ve also had a conversation (no shit) with some guy where I had to say: “I think you’re thinking of something else… When I say ‘McCarthyism’, I’m not referring to anything clever that Jenny McCarthy may have said.”

I mean, school is still mandatory in this country right? Top sociologists of the day maintain that the 26 year old of today is roughly equivalent to the 21 year old of decades past. Which means that 20 to 25 year olds are basically teenagers that can legally drink…scary fuckin’ thought. The accessibility of information is damn near absolute no matter where we are. After all, its the information age, right? Seems like we should be progressing in social / educational development instead of slipping backwards. But, I guess it’s not entirely bad, as I do get a chuckle out of it. And, of course, amusing myself is one of my top priorities.


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