I recently had a conversation with a friend over the quality of youth today from my perspective as a cop who responds to the crap you don’t hear on the news, but that still requires paperwork and an occasional splint. “It’s gotta be bad today I imagine,” he said, “what with all the new drugs we never had and the ease in making fake I.D.’s and stuff, right?” I even surprised myself when my immediate response was “Nah, not really.”
There’s a Doug Stanhope bit (he’s a comedian; if you ride a bicycle competitively you’d never “get him,” but the rest of humanity would) in which he decried the state of partying for our current batch of youth. His basic premise was that kids in the 18-to-21-year-old range today got the shit-end of the stick because “fun” is now watered down and boring. No one is raising hell, not even rock stars, because it’s all too dangerous and potentially offensive now.
To my horror, my friend thought both he and I were insane and that the current generation of know-it-alls and slackers were, in fact, doing their best to raise the bar for the next as is their genetic mission. My friend’s clearly a moron, but seriously, how can anyone say that partying exists anymore?
I’m at the forefront of what bitchy people from a few generations before mine used to call Generation X. I am a child of the ’80s who was aware of the crazy shit The Who and Ozzy Osbourne did in the ’70s and was proud to see it carried on by Def Leppard and Motley Crue as I came of age. Guns N’ Roses breached the early part of the ’90s like a George W. Bush troop surge, but now here we are with freakin’ Coldplay as our new “hellraisers.”
Kids wear helmets with bicycles. Nothing has sugar. Electric cigarettes? Are you shitting on my brain? Stanhope is right; it’s a big damn Nanny State he’s making fun of and the only possible responses to the contrary just give guys like him more material to work with, as if there’s not enough already.
It’s not that today’s youth are less violent by any means; that’s a different issue. No, I’m talking about the fact that it’s freakin’ boring to be young and coming of partying age now, and I think that he might agree that we both hope the freakin’ bottom falls out of this ridiculous “Fun-Nazi Net” that Hillary Clinton created like the weird-ass fun-spider that she, and many of you, have become.
I’m a first responder and I don’t hear about tragic drag-racing crashes on public streets anymore, much less hotels being evacuated for false fire alarms or sex acts in public theaters between consenting young adults. Do I want those things? Certainly not. But my dark cop heart weeps that this is the state of our youth today. My God, how you ever expect people to become interesting if they don’t “do” anything?
Now youths don’t drink coffee, strippers are verboten, and a “new every two” cell phone upgrade is more important than a spontaneous trip to Graceland or Panama City. They’re probably even practicing safe sex. Ugh.
Enjoy your stagnant monotone lives and your eco-friendly cars and moderation in drinking, but let the young be young, you know?
Do you think I’m callous or irresponsible for thinking this way? To the contrary, because in your self-righteous blandness you never considered the fact that we’re 20 years away from the worst mid-life crises (plural) in the history of mankind, and at this rate that could be an extinction-level event.
Don’t feel stupid, I’m usually a step or two ahead, but I am worried that if 50 Cent or Chris Brown isn’t going to throw a TV through a hotel window to kick this party off, who will? I weep for our tame youth. And therefore, for us all.
Alex Teach is a full-time police officer of nearly 20 years experience. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/alex.teach.