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Thursday, May 27, 2010

How Are Kids Even Alive Today?

I should be writing my dissertation on the finale of LOST but that’s just way too much work. Instead, I’m dragging out the old soap box for another edition of “THOSE DAMN KIDS!” This week I want to look at a couple of stories, old and new, about trends in what could be considered the end of civilization.

First off, the hot dog. For what it’s worth, these things are going to kill you anyway. American hot dogs are probably one of the worst foods to ever be created. The hot dog looks at the Double Down and says, “Pfft, amateur.” Besides being lovingly referred to as “containing lips and assholes” the amount of nitrates and salt in the things would probably make Ghandi say, “No thanks. I’m full.” In fact, the one thing that sticks out in my mind from being a child and loving hot dogs was the notion that if I eat too much, I’ll get ass cancer.

But the biggest “Damn Kids” moment comes from a recent story about the changing the hot dog. According to multiple sources around the Internet, which is never wrong, pediatricians are asking for a change in how the hot dog is designed. Why? Because of the threat of kids choking on one. In a wonderfully monochromatic pie chart, the percentage of food related, non-fatal choking hazards was around 60%. Actually, I’d be worried if that number was any lower. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see kids choke but if they are looking at things that kids actually choke on, food better be above coins and toys or anything else. If not, then what the hell are kids putting in their mouths and why are we not addressing that?

Now get this, one of the solutions was thought up by the guy who invented Steakums. I am astounded by this. I lived on Steakums my freshman year of college. It was a food group alongside Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Rama Noodles, Pizza, and Beer. I almost lose respect for the guy because he is enabling people to be idiots. I suspect the number one reason kids choke on food is attributed to parental stupidity. Still, the fact that kids choke on anything is terrible and I’ve been through that scare with my daughter. She was still an infant and I was feeding her applesauce mixed with rice cereal and she got a little stuck in her throat. Did I panic? No. Did I do the Heimlich? No. I simply reached in with my finger and removed the obstruction. Now, my daughter is almost three and loves hot dogs. Hell, we had them for dinner last night. And you know how she ate them? My wife cut the hot dog in half and told her to take small bites. When that became too messy as the bun disintegrated from being too wet from the juice in the dog, she held the hot dog and said, “Here take a bite.” Otherwise, we cut the hot dog up into small bites and she can eat them off her plate.

So, spending millions of dollars on redesigning the hot dog, which has been the same since probably the 1400s, seems silly when the proper solution would be to use a fork. It costs less and does the trick nicely.

Next up, “THOSE DAMN KIDS AND THEIR FADS.” When my sister was in her teens there was a fad that swept the nation. One little toy became a must have among people in her generation. It was called the pet rock. It was literally in a bock with an instruction manual. Genius! When I was in school ten years later we had fads, too. They were called friendship pins. Do you know what they were made out of? Safety pins and beads. Now we have things called Silly Bandz which is a rubber band bracelet. KIDS ARE WEARING OFFICE SUPPLIES AS FASHION!?!?!? But, But, I say BUT, again, they are becoming band in schools? Why? They are a distraction. No…. School is boring.

You have to understand that a typical kid around the age of 9-13 has little attention span and that’s mostly the fault of today’s parenting and tech savvy-instant gratification-technology. Kids are already being made to conform to a dress code, sometimes even stricter than office casual Fridays. Their identity and individuality is being stripped from in pieces right down to how they can wear their hair. The more you try to jam them into a one size fits all container the more they will bust out of that mold. They’re growing and evolving and we’re trying to stop that. I’m all for rules but let’s not be crazy here. My generation didn’t disrupt classes or learning by sporting a safety pin with colored beads on our shoe. Why is it so hard today? Why are we just fine and kids today are so screwed up that they have to be threatened by the fun vampires?

I understand there was a some kind of bracelet debacle a couple of years ago where the bracelets had some kind of hidden meaning for how far the wearer would go, intimately, but come on, you could code the same messages with anything. I have a red pony tail holder today, I go all the way. I’m wearing a yellow one, that means I like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Hell, the way someone wears their hair could be code for stuff like that. It doesn’t matter because there is something inherently wrong with the way kids process information today. There’s too much out there and parenting doesn’t have a good governance plan put into place.

I have been adamantly stating that I was born too soon and that being a kid in today’s world would be awesome because of all the things available to make life fun but I don’t know now. I think life would suck because people can’t be trusted… correction some people shouldn’t be trusted with raising a child. They are ruining it for everyone else. I mean we played with lawn darts! LAWN DARTS! We stood twenty feet apart and threw pointy objects at each other for fun! You never heard us complain about toys. We rode big wheels in the streets and baked real cakes with 100 watt bulbs. We ate dirt and played tackle football at recess. And you know what? Not everyone got to play at every soccer game and there were winners and losers. We learned that from day one. At the end of the game someone’s taking a lap because they couldn’t hit the cut-off man from right field. Hell, kick ball is too dangerous now? We used to climb ropes to the ceiling of the gym.

Classroom safety, there’s another one. “In the event of an emergency, everyone exit the room, except you Johnny. Make sure you open the windows and turn off the lights before leaving the room.” Remember that one? Yeah, there’s a big ass funnel cloud coming at the building and some poor bastard gets left behind to try and salvage the electric bill. Of course, our parents had it worse. In the event of an atomic bomb, they were supposed to hide under their desks. Apparently, desks in those days were shielded for radiation, regardless of the open space beneath them.
Honestly, how are kids even living today?

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