For a school assignment this summer, my daughter Maggie must publish something online. I’m delighted my high school freshman chose her dad’s blog as the platform, and hope you enjoy her short story as much as I did!
Maggie: So, here I am publishing something on my father’s blog. I have been writing almost every day this summer and this was my family’s favorite short story. I hope you enjoy it!
“Kids these days”
The meeting began with decaf coffee, Earl Grey tea, and homemade sugar cookies and ended in a fight between a youngster and an oldie. There was only one reason for the violence:
Kids these days.
The discussion started with a proud eighty-two-year-old bearing witness to her grandson’s numerous misdeeds. “It all started with his father’s well-intended gift of the 20th century’s terrible mistake: The Mobile Phone. Within a month of receiving this technological device, the boy was texting at the table, Snapchatting on the sacred Sunday, and following dozens of makeup-caked, scantily-clad teenage girls on Instagram.” There was a collective gasp from the gathered group of grandparents. “My once darling, innocent grandson cursed at his poor father after he threatened to take away his Xbox because of his many failing grades.” The assembled body all replied with a well-rehearsed,
“Kids these days.”
Another elder stood up gingerly, gripping his walker, and began railing against his next-door neighbor’s daughter. “Every day, she’s up before sunrise curling her hair, putting powders of many unnatural shades on once beautiful skin, taking showers! Why, that girl wastes more water than anyone else I know! She takes two thirty-minute showers every day. Her din awakens me every morning, long before I want to be woken during my retirement. Her young mother pays no heed to my complaints. She just smiles sweetly down at her daughter and says that ‘My darling needs to look gorgeous every day.’ The assembled listeners shook their heads and muttered a collective
“Kids these days.”
On and on, aged men and women stood and raised their voices in complaint and anger, railing against “the kids these days.” They spoke of the horrors of children and technology, “…not only are kids bullying kids in person, but they are now killing thousands through the internet.” One Ancient even discussed the average cost of raising a child today. “By the time they’re out of the house they have stolen $233,610 from their parents,” adding that that sum is quadruple how much it cost to raise her. After every testimonial the congregation would respond like they were at church, except instead of “Amen,” it was “Kids these days,” that came to their lips.
Everyone but a hunched over figure sitting on a wooden rocking chair had said something and now all eyes landed on the character waiting for him to give a rousing finale. A testimonial worthy of praise. When he stood up, the group realized that this man stood at a towering height much different from the hunched over forms of the previous speakers. The audience looked around nervously trying to remember his name on the guest list. When he cleared his throat, the crowd began to titter, whispering behind wrinkled hands for his voice was not ragged at all, but in fact sounded young!
“Shut up you pile of moth balls!” the man – or should I say, teenage boy – yelled as he ripped off his wig and glasses and began shouting over the din.
“You think you’re so much better then the younger generation. At least we don’t have meetings to discuss how terrible our grandparents and elderly neighbors are. Really, you pretend you’re so much more mature then us, but have you seen yourselves lately? You have to bad mouth your grandchildren? Did you ever consider that you were once a crazy kid too?” The assembly got quiet. But then a particularly grouchy old man stepped across and threw a heavy punch at the young intruder. Quickly the boy blocked the attack and karate chopped the elder down. Pandemonium ensued. The crowd began yelling and attempted to hold back the loser’s wife, who looked mad as a hornet.
“See what I mean, you all threw the first punch. You’re so concerned about kids these days when you should be worrying about your own mental state.” He began striding out of the room but looked back and hollered over the din, “Grandparents these days!” and opened the door and walked out.
“And that’s a wrap,” called out a middle-aged man. “Way to go folks! This will sure bring lots of laughs. This is going to go viral!” The group began to clap and laugh as they all removed costumes, wigs, wire-rimmed glasses and face masks, to reveal a group of young millennials.
Watching from the balcony, a janitor with greying hair shook his head and muttered,
“Kids these days.”