My Epistle on Today's Youth

by John Niolon



I received some email from a friend who had spent the previous afternoon-evening at a high school career day and awards event.   He was totally disgusted with the aptitude and attitudes of today's young people.  He told me he hadn’t talked to one senior who seemed to have any type of clue about how the business world worked… had any future plans for their life or how to achieve them… Other than… “well… I wanna like, go to college and an apartment off campus and then after that, like, get a good job”.

 It struck a chord with me and showed me that I was not the only one who felt that today's youth is wasting a wonderful opportunity and had they the energy and desire that their parents and especially grandparents possessed, there would be no limit to what they could achieve.  That line of thinking prompted this response to his mail…

 Please don't apologize for your frustration... I sometimes enjoy a table in the Galleria by Barney's, while Peggy shops… I sit sipping a nice cup of Irish Creme Decaf and watching the parade of over-funded undereducated, under-worked and overdressed young'ns ( 15-25).  When "we" were young, while education was not a primary concern, you did appreciate the fact that you needed enough to get a job to buy some wheels, thereby increasing considerably your chances of scoring.  (It was hard to charm a pretty young lady with her sitting on the handlebars of your bike… not suave at all !)  And, burger joints, service stations or in today's terms "lawn maintenance" was something we took on with enthusiasm.    We did the math as follows .......Work = $$$....... $$$ = car.....  car = girls…. Girls = ..well, you know…fun

 But today's "next generationers" are only interested in having enough to keep batteries in their ipods and smart phones (you just GOT to be connected), purchasing the proper Abercrombie/Finch, or what ever the latest must have lable is… t-shirts (bloused correctly) and cargo pants with exactly 3.75 inches of extra length to pile up properly over your Tommy Gear sneakers and of course with ample pockets on which to hang your electronic gear.  And, the hat...GOD don't forget the hat.  With the proper logo, the subtle but adequate fraying of the material of the bill, (hopefully with one or two single threads dangling just to the right of your field of view) It is rolled into the perfect hyperbolic curve (something they never learned in geometry or trig class).......and strategically placed on their perfectly cropped/bleached hair….. Backwards.

 Of course revenue generation for this group is never a problem.   No greasy gas station jobs or burger flipping for them.  Mom and Dad gave them a platinum Visa for their 16th birthday or graduation (Mom says "they might need something from the "G" (the Galleria Mall) and can't get to me for the money !")......they're covered.  If one of the "nexters" does fall on hard times (over his $2500 limit) and has to find a job, the worst thing they can deal with is a kiosk at the "G" (note… the "G" is my term for the Galleria shopping mall) selling hair beads, eingravables or cell phone accessories.  But hey, that's cool...  all his posse can come and chill with him at the mall while he ignores his customers talking to his honey on the phone or surfing the net on the cash register/computer.

 I think we were born too soon...  we missed living the good life.... but we're paying for it.

 Here’s an example … a good friends University of Alabama son wrecked his car... he's had several wrecks and they only afford to carry liability on his 2 year old car.  Dad worked every afternoon, after work as a plumber for nearly two weeks removing the damaged front end parts (yes it was his fault.....again) and replacing with new metal/plastic.  When he finished (primed and ready to paint) he told his son he could start driving it again.  To which his son replied " No way !!  It's two different colors !!! I'm not gonna be seen in a car that's not painted.  People at school will think I'm a redneck".  Dad just smiled and delivered him to Tuscaloosa campus that Sunday evening and left him on foot.  He also purposely delayed the painting for another 10 days.

 Mom finally raised enough hell (her baby had to walk to class) that Dad got it painted this week.  And poor son is again on the road.  I should add that this is his 5th car.  He has totaled 4 vehicles..(including a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a Mitsubishi something, a Mazda 929 and a Camry..) three of them brand new or less than a year old.  But thankfully he wasn't hurt and his hat didn't get dirty in a single wreck. 

He is like so many... Mom and Dad struggle to pay for his education, his clothes, his car, it's insurance, living expenses, dates... giving him the things they never had or struggled for...  what a disservice they are doing him.  Dad did tell him this week that when he graduates, the fountain of cash is dry...  he finds a job, pays his rent, car note/insurance and everything else.   The boy has no idea what faces him or how to handle it, and he will probably fail. As hard as Mom/Dad worked, it's going be their fault. It's really try so hard to do something right and fail so badly...    and they are duplicating their efforts with a daughter two years younger at Auburn  (she's on her third car.... she's 20).  It makes you wonder what the world will be like in 5/10 years when these fine young people are shaping the future..  scares the hell out of me.

 The world right now is a very scary place… economies in ruin, entire countries defaulting on debt that has been piling up for years.  Jobs are hard to find and with mom and dad looking at retirement the money tree will be pruned very soon… I wish someone in the educational system would metaphorically slap these young people upside the head and tell them to look around.. their lives are going to change very soon and very drastically.  They need to pay attention and use the resources their parents are paying for to be able to survive.  Wasting my time aren’t I ???  Oh well, it was a good idea anyway.  It’s maddening and it’s sad at the same time.  I’m glad my youngest is 40.  But I fear for what my 10 year old grandson will see.

 But, on a more positive note, while I sit there...  the coffee's good…and these sweet young things lazily walking by, shopping bags in tow…with their perky firm breasts haltered in the "GAP" tops...tend to take my mind off of it. They didn't grow breasts like that when I was 18... I remember... I was paying attention...