I was watching the news the other day, on my 35th birthday, and came to a startling conclusion.
Kids today, these so-called "teenagers" are bad. Very bad. Much, much worse than me or my peers ever were at that age.
Example: We used to drink cough-syrup for kicks in high-school. Not all the time, of course! But a few times a week, my friend Bob* would venture off to the local Drug Store, suck back a root-beer float at the soda-fountain, then buy a few bottles of cough-syrup for me and the lads.
We'd choke down a bottle each then sit around vomiting and hallucinating that our futons were farting. I'm not proud of our cherry-flavoured escapism, but it was a stressful time. We had high-school exams to worry about, not to mention the ongoing threat that Grenada might invade the US then sweep upwards into Canada to gain control of our much sought-after maple-syrup and baby-seal resources. If ever there was a time that teens needed that blissful peace for sale at $4.99 a bottle, that was it.
So yeah, we drank cough-syrup and got locked in death struggles with powerful, ceramic creatures that turned out to be our toilets. But by God, at least we didn't have a name for what we were doing! Unlike the zit-besotted devils we call teens today, we didn't have a zippy catch-phrase for the practice. In fact, we only spoke of our habit in hushed whispers.
But now? Well, things have changed my friends. Now kids are proud of drinking the stuff! I think a big part of the problem is that once something has a name, suddenly it's out in the open and the kids think it's okay. We all saw it happen with the word "handjobs" (I'm pretty sure the recent ubiquity of this phrase is Bill Clinton's fault, but George Michael may be involved too), and it has certainly now happened with the practice (formerly the art) of drinking cough-syrup.
Teen # 1, on his way down to Broadway to smash my car windshield:
Hey, other than smashing in the car windshields of those who can barely afford gas let alone needless repairs caused by random vandalism, what should we do tonight?
Teen # 2, while receiving a handjob from Teen # 3:
I know! Let's do some robo-tripping!
Teen # 3 (slightly out of breath):
Yeah, let's all go robo-tripping! Then we can head back to my place and listen to Evanescence. I got my futon de-fanged, so we should be okay.
Teen # 1: Robo-tripping! Woot!
Teen # 2 (to Teen # 3): Thanks for the handjob and... wait a second. YOU'RE A DUDE!
Anyway, my point.
Kids today = Bad. Very bad. Much, much worse than when I was young.
But you don't come here just to hear me complain about how bad teenagers have become since I turned 35. You come here for solutions.
But before we get to that, one more quick digression. There was a time before TV, when reading was the only form of entertainment beside playing Bubonic Plague Tag. Back then some uppity Brit (excuse the redundancy, but I get paid by the word) invented satire with his Modest Proposal.** Please keep this in mind as you read what you're about to read.
And now, without further digression, my own Unassuming Proposition:
Build high-schools and men's high-security prisons together, in one building. Now, I'm no monster... I suggest we put up one structure, but split it right down the middle with a thick, plexiglass wall. On one side, the high-school kids. On the other? Oz.
That way, the teenagers can see, in vivid, semen and blood-stained detail, their eventual fates if they don't cut down on the robo-tripping.
I haven't yet decided if the plexiglass wall should be one-way glass. I know we want the teenagers to see what's going on over there. But I could foresee some difficulties if the prisoner's could also watch through (and, um, press things up against) the glass. But hell, maybe a few squashed squirrels would help scare a few of these smart-aleck kids straight.
Anyway, I have a lot of other strong opinions about the subject, including exactly whether or not there should be one door through the plexiglass wall separating the two institutions (I'm thinking yes, but that it should be carefully locked at all times) but I think I've written far more than even my own attention span can handle.
So, let's leave this with one final note: You know how earlier I brought up that whole satire/Modest Proposal stuff? That has nothing to do with what I just wrote. I'm fucking serious. We should really do this. Otherwise, those god-damned teenagers will never learn, and I'll continue to get dirty looks every time I'm bored on a Friday and head down to pick up a bottle.
* His name was really Edward. But let's hope his lawyer sees that asterix up there and just assumes I've added a footnote that reads "All names changed for privacy reasons." I'm sure dumb old Edward is too poor by now to afford the hourly rate for his lawyer to read all the way through this entire blog post, AND the footnotes at the bottom.
** Admission: Intellectually, I *know* the work was satire. But as anyone knows, who has ever tasted "Irish Veal", lightly broiled and dipped in melted butter, there's a fine line between satire and good eating.