There’s a sixteen year old kid who lives a block away from me, and I hate him like he killed my mother. He’s had the cops called on him half a dozen times, because he seems to love nothing more than street racing an hour before school. And if you’re even vaguely familiar with the nonsensically early hours American school kids have to be up for school, then you can imagine how much the neighborhood loves waking to the sound of screeching tires an hour before the buses roll around.
He also has a high-end subwoofer that he’s proud of, because he’s sixteen and teenagers don’t have a very crystallized sense of accomplishment. Also he once randomly called me a cunt when I drove past his house. I don’t really know him and he doesn’t know me. I think he was trying to impress the other negligible teenagers in his driveway. All three ran inside as soon as I hit the brakes, which is lucky for me because I’m kind of a skinny fella.
It’s important to remember that kids like that are usually hated with equal measure by other kids their own age. Too often adults act like dickheads and paint every kid with the “they’re all bratty little cocks” brush, and then they start feeling like they need to push back against what they see as an acne-prone sea of jerks. Bullies are always the worst when they’re the same age as your parents, and all you want to do is get to class in peace.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve rolled my eyes as someone from my parents’ generation has opined that “we never acted that way when we were that age!”
Kids, listen up: YES. THEY. DID. Your parents were absolute, shit-headed idiots when they were teenagers. The protestation is the clue, you see. The guilty always protest the loudest.
There is no single asshole generation, nor is there ever a single St. Generation. Teenagers in the fifties may have behaved like good boys and girls, but they were also probably virulent racists and sexists. The kid a block away from my house is doomed to a life of trying to be high-school cool even into his thirties. He enjoys driving through people’s yards and laughs when cops cite his dad for it. The fifteen year old girl next door already takes college courses for a high-ranking university, and donates her time to an animal shelter on the weekends. Sometimes she randomly cuts my grass for free.
I would say every generation has its bad apples, but while that’s true, it’s not entirely fair to say without context. Every generation has its jerks, yes, but every generation also has a heart. And courage. And the will to make things right.
But still, fuck that kid down the block. God I hate that little shit.