April 11, 2007

shame on me ...

so now I am going to sound like an out of touch disgruntled old-fashioned crank that I used to mimic when I was a teenager. no problem. but it is very important to me that I get this said.

I know a lot of young people - for this particular discussion, let's say under 20. Some I am quite close to and the rest are casual acquaintances. I do my best to be non-judgemental however I have apparently come to the bitter end of that very long rope.

I know teenagers are driven to express their angst. What they wear, do to their hair, tattooed and pierced everywhere ... that is their way of expressing individualism (albeit they do it as a group) and enjoy giving a generalized finger "to the man". I understand. I did similar things pre-16 and still do them occasionally to this day. I was a nasty piece of work when I was a teenager.

Cursing is one thing but their language is utterly atrocious! Every 3rd or 4th word is an expletive - it's like their brain is stuttering ( hmmm - maybe it actually is). Oh yeah, I understand the rap and hip hop lyrical influences and all the rest of the "Peer Pressure" issues they struggle with. I call BULLSHIT. The best example I can up with for the complete overuse of curse words is a particular song my daughter played for me this past weekend, it consists primarily of 2 words "shit" & "fuck" randomly intertwined about a steady bass beat. Talk about beating any meaning out of the words. This is part of the problem. Cursing is so prevalent that teenagers mindlessly follow along like lemmings to the point where the curse actually loses it's power and becomes simply another interjection in a sentence. And they kiss their mothers with those mouths (see the old lady creeping in). Do they actually believe that trash talking is cool? Constant use of foul language is the sign of a weak vocabulary, perhaps we need to provide some remedial language classes. Outrageous behaviour, pushing boundaries, having fun being immortal - all of these I can accept (I did say accept - not approve of - but they are not seeking my approval).

But where is their dignity, their self awareness, their idea of self worth? What happened to their sense of personal shame? When did these virtues become extinct? A stroll through the Park and down Scarth Street to the mall supplies at least a dozen examples of what is irritating me. I don't have a problem with street performers bussing for $$, I respect the effort they are making and generally appreciate the music or entertainment they provide, but I am completely fed up with kids panhandling for coffee change. It's as if begging has become a respectable tradition with this generation. Where is their self respect? And I know some of these kids. They come from average or middle class homes, they aren't really lacking in material goods, and if they wanted to they could be holding down a part time job for extra cash. It is simply ok for them. They can't all be doing it on a dare.

If these kids need a cigarette so bad that they feel completely at ease begging for smokes or BLECH!!!! picking butts out of bins and off the sidewalk (SO gross) I have to wonder when their sense of personal shame evaporated - or maybe they never acquired one, or one that is recognizable to me. Either way it is deplorable. It drives me crazy (short drive I know). And yet I find myself apologizing and making excuses for myself - to them when I turn them down ... "I'm sorry, I can't ... yada yada" and then I get angry at myself for needlessly apologizing. I have been working for the majority of 33 years, I should be allowed to keep what's left over after the taxman without having to justify myself to a bunch a whiny little brats too lazy to support their own habits.

Note: this is not directed at those who are panhandling for bus fare - that was discussed previously, and when it comes to someone who truly looks down on their luck, I quite often buy them the cup of coffee or a quick bite that they are looking for.

SO ... having realized my frustration I needed an action plan. Here's the plan: When a youngster asks me for money, I say "No, I think I'll keep what I have earned", and when I am asked for an extra cigarette, my response will be "There is no such thing as an extra cigarette." Confrontational? You bet. Someone (inferring myself and other willing victims I mean candidates) needs to let them know that their behavior is unacceptable. If they start to bitch me out, I will emphatically explain in more detail.

1 comment:

abigailroad said...

Right on, Sista.
I just can't bring myself to give a kid a cigarette or change when I look at them, and realize that their clothing that they are wearing, their skateboards, Ipods, what have you, was probably more expensive to purchase than all of my crappy furniture combined. And i worked my ass off for my crappy furniture.
I just don't get the panhandling either. If I wanted something extra, or wanted more money, I was expected to go out and EARN it...I worked many shitty part-time jobs, babysat, what have you to get what i wanted.
But that was because of my parents, and that's what they taught me. Hate to say, "Where are the parents..??" but I think that really does have something to do with it.

improvise & overcome

... and why would I choose to associate myself with a term that most used used in a derogatory manner?
In order to change the meaning of a word or create a new meaning for a word, one must own the word. Over time and use the word may evolve to mean other than was originally intended & to that end...
my definition: an independent woman

dictionary definitions:

1. informal term for a (young) woman
2. an unsupervised umarried woman
3. a young woman or girl, esp. a peasant girl.
(usually facetious)
3. a woman servant
4. a wanton woman
5. Archaic: a strumpet
[Origin: 1250–1300; ME, back formation from wenchel, OE wencel child]

synonom :"dame"

acronym:
Women Entitled to Nothing but Complete Happiness

International Wenches Guild

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