For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

ARE the Kids All Right?

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(This is one of my longest postings ever, but I also think it's pretty fun as-is. Thus, a one-parter, but don't read it till you have the time to indulge. And it is a spirited rant. The kids today. It's stream-of-conscious "I'm really stoned right now" marijuana-induced writing, but I'm not editing it down, because it... amuses me. But I do reserve the right to come to the realization that it's utter crap once this buzz wears off. At which point, hatchet siesta, my friends.)

You know how they have those commercials where, say, a dude’s sticking his arm into a crocodile’s mouth, for no damn frickin’ reason?

Now, the law says they have to put a disclaimer on it, so they usually opt for “Dramatization. Do not attempt.”

Well, come on. It doesn’t seem to be working, eh? There are so many dumb, stupid kids in the world, like our fucking Jedi Knights in the UK there. “Luke, I am your fath-- oh my god, the gasoline is searing my skin! Obi-wan, get help!”

Here’s an idea. Let’s screw censorship. Let’s put, say, a burn-scabbed penis (with a sad face on the head) cartoon in the bottom corner and write, “Don’t be Dick. Don’t do this shit.”

That’ll be effective.

Seriously, you know what’s fucking missing with this generation? The fear of god, man. That’s right. And I’m not talking this Puritanical “God’ll-get-’em crap,” no. I’m saying we need to scare the shit outta our kids.

Absolutely. You know why I’m a responsible, productive person whose only crime is an avid enjoyment of dope smoking? ‘Cause my folks scared the shit outta me about being a criminal or a failure.

We had a cellar. It was dark. Creepy, man. Just not my happy place, you know what I mean?

Yeah, man, this was where spiders went to thrive. Cobwebs were everywhere. There was this old, old player organ down there, the upright push-button pre-1900s kinda deal you’d fine in any Old West saloon, underneath the brothel, by the stairs. Gave the framed-only, sans-walls concrete-and-insulation-style unfinished basement a certain je ne sais quoi.

On the other side of the basement was the carport/workshop with dad’s tools--and always lotsa lumber. This was where Nick had done the carvings.

But in the center, in the center you could see 360 degrees around you, the whole unfinished dungeonesque cellar. Creeped the hell outta me, that place did.

And this was my least happy place of all. This was where we got the crap whaled out of us. Yep. Good old corporal punishment. But you know what? My folks were selective about it. I think we mostly deserved it. And I know I usually remember what it was for. Cutting across Mrs. Fleming’s rose garden again. Playing with fire in tall grasses-- and having it catch. It's strange knowing those sirens are for me, or at least my brother could say so. Eating half a batch of cookies in a sitting.

You know, sometimes you can be a real pain in the fucking ass as a kid, and you deserve a good cuff. That’s life. Some things are so incredibly stupid that all you can do is cuff someone.

I just woulda liked it a whole lot lighter, goddamnit. You reading this, Dad? Eh? Not for nothing, but thanks.

I do digress. We got the crap smacked out of us right there. Usually the bare hand on the ass thing, but Mom grabbed some wood for Mrs. Fleming’s rose garden. I must say, Mrs. Fleming did something otherwordly to plain white loaf bread with butter and her homemade strawberry freezer jam, which she’d cut into little finger strips. Sigh. To have another slice...

My original point was: we’re raising a generation of pansies with no real fears, no real respect, and no real grasp of severity. It shows, even in work ethic and in the knowledge of business that kids today have. I mean, I had a damn job by the time I was 13. I know kids who never had a job till 19. What the hell is that? I’ve never been unemployed.

Why? Because my parents scared the shit out of me. My mother showed me homelessness every time she took me to Chinatown as a kid. It was drilled into me that I had to work to be lucky, because bad things can happen to anyone. It freaked me out.

A Circle of Friends!
I mean, I saw this interview on the Daily Show where there’s schools where you’re no longer allowed to play “tag” because it’s hard on kids’ feelings. They play “Circle of Friends” where they say image-reinforcing things to each other like “I think Tyler is fuh-uh-uh-ny!”

Jesus Christ. Why don’t we just strap ‘em into a chair, feed ‘em through a tube, and then they’ll never, ever have to even move and they’ll always be safe? Huh? I mean, if we really want to protect them.

So, there are these commercials where, if you’re a truly moronic individual with absolutely no grasp of common sense, you'll see stunt people do stupid things and you'll then presumably reenact it for kicks, and They just want to put a miniscule disclaimer at the bottom of the screen that reads “Dramatization” -- which I’ll point out to you that a person too stupid to realize that sticking his arm in a crocodile’s mouth is a potentially unwise thing to do, is probably a person too dumb to know what a five-syllable humdinger like “dramatization” means -- and followed by “Do not attempt this” -- uh, yeah, ditto the vocabulary humdinger-thinger.

Seriously. Why are we so scared of scaring our children about something they have every right to be scared about? Why don’t we at the very least say “Don’t do this shit” or “Have some fucking sense. We’re pretending”?

Personally, I’d like something like “Bob’s funeral is 7:00 Tuesday at Valleyview. Cheese and wine. This commercial is his legacy. Dumb fucker.”

But sadly, no one pays me to write commercials.