Here at the Institute for Scholarly Stuff we’re looking into the vast chasm that exists today between kids and grownups. I mean, why can’t kids understand that certain things are more pressing than ankle tattoos and body piercing?
On the front line of this confrontation are teachers who every day must wage uphill battles against atrophied brain cells. When asked for the most important event in the past half century, half of the kids reply, “Pickup trucks,” and the other half respond, “Naked midriffs.”
So before they state that the Viet Cong was a 1960s heavy metal group, I say it’s time we head upstream with a big paddle. Lacking our help, today’s kids might spend the rest of their lives thinking Paul has been the only Pope since the Vatican opened its doors to Marco Polo.
In other words, it’s time we bridged the gap between the generations so kids will understand what we’re talking about across the dinner table. No use lecturing them about Reaganomics if they never heard of 20-Mule-Team Borax.
Here then are a few areas of lasting knowledge with which our youngsters can become downright educated and step with ease into the adult world as we know it:
n Fear: Kids today aren’t terrorized when they have to speak into phone devices, because they’re even bored with chainsaw massacres. As you can see, it’s our job to instill some genuine fear in them, because, Lord knows, kids today need an occasional adrenaline rush to get them up and going by noon.
• TV sets: Kids today are used to dozens of TV channels, and they’ve never seen prize winning docu-dramas like “Laverne and Shirley” or “The Lawrence Welk Show.” It’s time to educate them by eliminating all but the original 13 channels for a year or so, thereby broadening their minds instead of their behinds.
• Remote controls: It’s also a good idea to inform youngsters about the reason why everyone was skinnier 20 years ago. It’s because we had to constantly jump up and change channels on our TV sets. An average evening of TV viewing amounted to more than 100 deep knee bends and 30 minutes of power walking.
• Roller skates: Kids today have never heard about roller skates. They’re familiar only with in-line skates or skate boards, which are nothing like the old metal contraptions that broke ankles when they flew off. We suggest all youngsters be required to wear old-fashioned skates for at least a year, enabling them to experience first hand what it’s like to chip a front tooth or gain a cauliflower ear. (See “Fear” above.)
• Weather reports: Kids today ask, “How did you know what to wear without the Weather Channel?” “Well,” you reply, “before television (BT) you called the dog in to see if he was wet.” No, actually, back in olden times you listened to the radio, read the newspaper, or paid attention to your joints and fuzzy caterpillars.
Besides these areas, kids should become more knowledgeable about what makes an old person tick. In other words, there are many rewards for seniors that may be overlooked by kids, and that’s a big hole in their education. Here are some old-age perks:
• Your secrets are safe with persons your age. They can’t remember them either.
• No one views you as a hypochondriac anymore.
• There’s nothing left to learn the hard way.
• You like folks to call a day in advance with dinner invitations, because you often eat supper at 4 p.m.
• The tyranny of sex is over, replaced by a quest for more bran.
• You don’t drive fast anymore. Speed limits are no longer a challenge.
• You hum along with canned music on elevators.
• Stuff you buy now probably won’t wear out.
• You enjoy hearing about other folks’ operations.
• You read the obituaries before the headline news.
• You don’t have to suck in your stomach no matter who comes in the room.
• Your hearing won’t get much worse. Neither will your eyesight.
There, you see? That’s how you bridge the generation gap with just a little effort. But stay away from tattoo parlors. They’ll rot your teeth.
Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.