Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"What's the matter with kids today?"

(Ah, yes. Another rant about troubled youth. I feel like the bitter grandmother who sits on her porch and scolds kids to stay off the lawn, complaining about "when I was young". Nearing 22 in just over a week, I have very little room to talk...but I will anyway.)

As I headed toward the subway station, I saw a small group of young teenagers, possibly 15 or 16 (if even), comprised of three hat-wearing, skater-type boys and three preppy girls. A fourth boy was jumping the barrier onto grass and walking away from the situation. One of the girls was crying, holding a sweatshirt in front of her, shirtless. The other girls were urging her to put her sweatshirt on, which she finally did after another minute or so of extreme distress. What the hell happened? I was trying not to stare, but with the appearance of homeless folks adding their two cents as well as the cops asking questions, I overheard a couple things. "He ripped her shirt off." "You can get a restraining order." "You know him." Based on just these tidbits alone, clearly shit went down. The ripping of the shirt appears to have been in anger more so than for any sexual reason (I'm assuming because they were in public with friends), but...

Why was this display necessary? Why so much anger in a kid who looked like he was just starting puberty (...or maybe that's why...!)? I know that teens cause trouble. I know they're rebellious and all that...but seriously. I want to know what the hell happened in these teeny-boppers' lives to allow this behavior to be acceptable to them. It was and still is disturbing to me. This isn't to say I'm less opposed to adult violence or anything like that. However, when I see young teenagers finding "cool-ness" through violence, drug/alcohol abuse, and apathy, more than half the time I'm going to assume that there's nothing actually wrong with or troubling them. And I mostly say this because of the crazy life I lived (and I didn't start messing around or getting myself in trouble until I was 18...not that it's an excuse, but it's better than 14, if you ask me). I hear complaining from kids these days who started drinking because "of how hard their life is when their parents didn't get them a new car or a Prada bag for their birthday" and how "their parents didn't let them go to a rave this weekend and they hate them and will probably take up smoking cigarettes just to make them angry". I'm so sorry for you. But if you can tell me you've had a hard life because you were sexually abused for almost 7 years by someone you know, then come back to me. Because that was me. Besides, my recreational activities have been my choice, for myself, not to spite anyone and not because my life has been hard. Don't start smoking crack because you were grounded. Unless you legitimately went through some bad shit, calm down and grow up.

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