Let’s check the internet to see what Today’s Youth have ruined. Has to be something, right? There should be a story like “Lumber Mills Close as Millennials Reject Toothpicks,” so older people can muse about the bygone joys of shoving sharp sticks in your gums.
Ah! The internet, as always, delivers:
Schools are abandoning analog clocks for digital displays because kids can’t tell the time.
Seems credible, right? They’re just dull-eyed morons who can barely make out the funny dog pictures on their phones because of all the drool. “How me wipe shiny thing? Me use sleeve. Now me ask phone what is time.”
I didn’t believe it for a second. Today’s teens grew up in schools that had clocks on the wall over the door, and they focused on the particulars of those hands like short-term convicts study the calendar on the wall.
Nonetheless, I clicked on the link. The source turned out to be a BBC report, where one school — one! — was considering replacing analog clocks with digital versions because students found it easier to time themselves for exams. Analog clocks have their charm, but they don’t tell the time as much as they describe it.
Stories like these reassure people who want to believe the future will be passed to soft, trembling hands unseasoned by the hardships we older folk knew, such as the knob falling off the TV because you’d stripped it changing channels too fast. Then we had to change channels with a pliers!
Things that adults consider “skills” are often just habits formed by limitations. Remember cassettes? At some point they’d seize up and barf a yard of fragile tape into your player. You’d carefully extract it from the machinery like someone trying to reel in a minnow, then rewind the cassette with a pencil.
“Gosh, that sounds annoying,” the kid yawns. “But I bet it built character. Us kids with our YouTubers, we can’t even change the oil in our Ubers.”
Adult (glowering): “Bet you don’t know how to fix a CD when it gets-gets-gets-gets-gets-gets-gets-gets a scratch.”
Youth: “Bet you don’t know how to fight a Gyarados in Pokemon.”
Adult: “Who cares? Do you see any Pokemon around here?”
Youth: “You see any CDs?”
While we’re on the topic of things ruined by the Youth of Today, let’s not forget breakfast cereal. Supposedly they can’t be bothered to get out a bowl and some milk — it’s sooo haaaaaard. But consider the possibility that this might mean they just don’t see the attraction to a bowl of compressed oat nodules lacquered with sugar.
Boomers have fond memories of eating a bowl of candy in their footie jammies while watching “Captain Kangaroo,” so thus it shall be forever.
“Here, have some Cap’n Crunch! It’ll shred the roof of your mouth and build character.”
“No, thanks, I’m good. Just going to have a croissant and some fig jam.”
“It’s got Crunchberries!”
“You mean Conflict Berries. The dye is sold by warlords in the Congo who enslave children to be soldiers.”
“What? No. You made that up. C’mon, it turns the milk blue.”
“No one who was alive to vote for Jimmy Carter should be excited about blue milk.”
Eventually there will be just a few brands left on the market: something with bran they might as well call Geezer Chow, and maybe Generic Disney Princess High-Fructose-Basted Spheres for the younger set.
Checking accounts are becoming another relic.
It’s possible that the millennial refusal to embrace the everyday miseries of a checking account will kill this currency for good. They will thus deprive themselves of several important lessons in life:
• If you date the check a few days before the bill is due, even though it’s actually two days past, you can avoid a late fee.
• Putting something on the memo line makes it legally binding.
• Having a high number on the check is the equivalent of an American Express Platinum card.
OK, none of that actually may be true. But when I reordered checks a year ago, I forgot to send in the order form, and they came back with the numbers starting at 001. I felt like my credit score was suddenly in the numbers reserved for the IQ of a guppy.
Right now we groan when someone pulls out a checkbook at the grocery store, but millennials will have their comeuppance when the smart, up-to-date people are using retinal scans to pay, and they’re still waving their phone over the payment terminals.
Finally, there are houses. Supposedly, the youth don’t want to live in houses anymore, because a mortgage ties them down and they might want to go live in Peru for a while and play a mournful flute on a mountaintop at dawn while an eagle caws. They’re content to rent.
Eventually, they’re going to want houses. In fact, they’ll want cars, too, if they get a place in the burbs, and they might find themselves buying cereal for the kids and living a life that intentionally avoids the stress they saw their parents experience. “C’mon, kids, get ready for school, it’s late. Look at the sundial!”
Then we’ll have stories about how middle-aged people are ruining the digital clock industry because they prefer sundials, right?
Nah. Middle-aged people never ruin anything.