Now and Then

TSTLet me tell you how it used to be… used to be meaning perhaps the first forty years of my life.  Generational roles were well defined.   It was the job of the kids to play and have fun.  We were good at it.   We played at being cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, baseball players and spacemen.  We played at being adults when we played but we didn’t want to be adults.   You’ve read Peter Pan haven’t you?   I won’t grow up, I don’t want to go to school and learn to be a parrot and recite a silly rule.   When we got in trouble, it wasn’t rebellion, just that something that seemed like fun ran afoul of our parents rules.  At around twelve, we were reassigned as adolescents.   Suddenly, breaking our parents rules … and of those of society … were part of the plan.  We discovered that many of those things our parents had warned us against felt good and if we were careful, we could avoid getting caught.  Not getting caught became part the fun.  We still didn’t want to be grown-ups, grown-ups were square, uncool, so out-of-it.   We dressed differently and we developed a language of our own.  We used words like %$&* and &%@$ but we didn’t dare do it in front of our parents.  So, today is Top Sites Tuesday #234 and my Two Thoughts on Tuesday concern how things have changed between Now and Then.

Back then, it was the job of grown-ups to maintain the status quo, to defend the culture against our impetuous ways, odd clothing and strange slang.  Our more extreme peccadilloes, they would outlaw or forbid (a least try to) and the rest, they’d tolerate, assuming we’d grow out of them by the time we became grown-ups.   But what actually happened as we grew up is that we would test our youthful inventions against our parents’ outdated opinions and end up leaving our most disruptive excesses behind. But some of our culture survived as the new status quo.  And the process would start again with the next generation.  Cool survived as part of the American vernacular, beatniksnapjacks did not.   Jeans and chinos became accepted styles for men but red white and blue bell-bottoms did not.   Sneakers survived as adult footwear, snapjacks did not.   It was a system that balanced the steadiness of tradition and the inventiveness of youth for the betterment of society.

Thought Number One: Sometime in the last thirty years, some of us became confused about our job assignments.   Grown-ups began to emulate adolescents and the Hello-Kitty Mom and the Hey-Dude Dad were born.  They wore styles that had never even looked good on teenagers and out-tattooed their offspring.   Habits like cellphone obsession and texting-while-driving were adopted by parents instead of discouraged.  Video games and paintball wars became acceptable adult activities.  These Now adults butchered the language with these ones and those ones and they not only said selfies, they took them.  And like the teenagers of Then, these adults of Now refused to compromise.  Why the change?  I’d guess some adults just wanted to be friends with their adolescents and others wanted to relive their own adolescence.   Some wanted to market products to adolescents and others wanted to be Totes McGoats.

Can you imagine Paul Newman and Robert Redford (not to mention Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable) saying Totes McGoats?  Of course not.

You’re probably wondering about the grandparents.  That’s Thought Number Two: Our job is still the same … shaking our heads and wondering what this world is coming to.  We still have hope for the kids and we haven’t given up on the adolescents, but those Hello Kitty Moms and Hey-Dude Dads?  We’ve pretty much given up on them.  And we’re starting to see a few Hello Kitty Nanas and Hey-Dude Papas.  Indeed, what is the world coming to?  At least, that’s what my Inner Curmudgeon tells me.  And is he ever wrong?

So what do you think?  Tell me in my comments section … after you push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday # 234.

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6 Comments on “Now and Then”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I think our youth obsessed culture is trying in vain to pull off the illusion if a person dresses young, talks young and acts young, that others won’t notice that they are old….and possibly foolish.

    I, always was a rule follower. While I know that makes Cheryl a dull girl, I just never felt the need to rebel in the way I dressed or talked or, for that matter, I wouldn’t of taken chances on misbehaving as guilt and I are BFFs.

    Those Sprint commercials drive me nuts. I try to avoid them as all costs. Even for those that use slang, there are some people that can pull it off and some can’t. I don’t find either of them Hottie McHotterson.


    • oldereyes Says:

      I was perceived by most adults as a a goody-good, but I was good at not getting caught. Of course, I agree on the Sprint commercials, except that they were good post-fodder. This post came out a little snarkier than I intended, by the way.

  2. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    I’ve never taken a “selfie” and I just discovered it’s an actual word, go figure. I definitely am not a fan of the Hello Kitty moms. There’s a time to grow up, take charge of your life, and be a good example (what ever that really is now a days)

    All we can really do is hope we taught our younger generations to have respect and be good people. Everything else seems to be out the window.


    • oldereyes Says:

      I see so many adults, at least in our corner of the world, that behave more like adolescents than the kids. I wonder who’s going to teach their kids. Wouldn’t it be funny if their kids rebelled by becoming mature?

  3. Trina Says:

    I love those Sprint commercials! They’re dead on for people on FB. Many of the younger friends I have on FB write in ways I have to study to read and make sense out of… it’s just goofy.

    As a teenager I rebelled. I was foul mouthed, dressed in all black or grunge. I wore Army boots with dresses, black eyeliner as lipstick… I grew up. And while I still dress a bit on the grungy side I like to think I’ve turned out just fine.

    Hopefully, these new generation will someday develop work ethics and grammar skills… I just am not going to hold my breath.

    Great Thoughts!

    • oldereyes Says:

      Oh, I know that the Sprint commercials are right on with respect to the lingo. It’s just the sight of two fine actors using it that makes me cringe. I suppose that’s the point if you see the humor in it. I just don’t.

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