Sunday, February 21, 2010

Simple minds, simple pleasures

Raise your hand if you think that any of the following are a detriment to society?: cell phones, texting, video games, online chats, hand held game systems, computer games...any of those? By the way, if you raised your hand, now is the proper moment to feel foolish for raising your hand to an inanimate object ;).

Yeah, we've heard it all before. The teen generation of today will have no social ability when they are older, we'll all be having epileptic seizures by the time we're in our late twenties, we'll all have carpal tunnel when we're all older...all thanks to technology and it's recent developments. Yes, technology - particularly my cell phone and computer - are pivotal components in my life. And yes, I'm a teenage boy and I do play the occasional play station or xbox or even online games. I will whole heartedly support the statement that technology - mostly the aforementioned types - completely dictate the life of the average teen.

Now, for you younger people reading. Have you ever shook your head in embarrassment and shame while looking upon a 50+ year old parent texting you and saying "hey dude. lol," or maybe some of you have have laughed your head off when an adult asks for your help in opening one of those fancy things called a...wait a minute, let me think of the name. A we...web...a website? Yes, I think that's what you kids call them.

Parents,'s your turn to laugh at the teens.

Even I can see how funny it is when a teenager gets a flashback to what life was like a little bit before our time. I've seen young children, somewhere between 10-12 years old, look at a cassette tape and say, "what's that?" Just this morning my 19 year old sister and I got our hands on my mother's old typewriter. Yup, that's right. Woohoo, I officially love typewriters, no lie! I'm not even a little bit ashamed to say that we spent about half an hour having a blast with a typewriter haha. Two young adults, completely mesmerized every single time that little curser thing slid back and forth over the page. How intriguing.

Anyone out there ever play Super Nintendo? Well folks, let me tell you a little bit about your writers, Spencer and I. Both well into our teen years, bordering adulthood, both very technologically based...both in possession of Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems we were recently able to dig out of the farthest, darkest reaches of piles of old junk. One of the most primitive game systems, laughable graphics compared to today's games, yet your two studious, very mature writers spent hours playing Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country, and darn it we were having the time of our lives. I don't care if they're old. Those games are fun!

An what happens to us teens when you take away technology completely? Yeah, some of us may fall apart, even if its for a little bit. It's sad, I know. Keep your eyes peeled, though. We do know how to entertain ourselves. I know a girl, very smart, very deep minded, extremely intellectual, extremely good with computers, and I happen to know for a fact she spends an awful lot of time texting and messing around with her phone. Yet just the other day I watched this girl for at least an hour as she discovered a box of bendy straws, and then proceeded to combine then into one super long straw. Sounds foolish, doesn't it? Well, this 16 year old girl spent almost an hour completely in awe of this amazing invention she created by simply sticking one straw in the end of another. Yes, she was absolutely amazed. Perhaps that is what texting and computer games can do to one's brain. Poor girl.

In the end, we're teenagers. I think that's a pretty good excuse for any of our faults. We're just teenagers, give us some slack. Our heads aren't stuck in the clouds; they're stuck in the pixels and the memory cards and the "lol"s. It's kinda nice, though, kinda fun to have our heads pulled back a step or two once in a while.

No matter what we do, though, in the end the rest of the world still has to deal with us. Good luck, world!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Deep Breath After Deep Breath

Sometimes we say hurtful things. Sometimes we say things that aren't true. Sometimes we say things just because we know it'll make a point no matter how cruel it is. I'm kinda upset right now. But passionate words lead to passionate points and hopefully a beneficial end result. I'm not going to tell you why I'm upset. Suffice to say there was an altercation earlier. And today, there's not going to be a how-to or an insight into a teen's mind. Today it's going to be more a narrative.

I argue frequently with people. I was brought up the youngest of three children-two older twin brothers who were brilliant and confident. We didn't eat fast food often, we always sit down and eat meals together. Usually, we'd turn on the tv. The Simpsons, Wheel of Fortune, and the world news were the trifecta of shows that we would usually put on. And as the three of us grew older we developed our own opinions on, well, everything. Food, politics, sports, computers games, teachers, you name it. While we all shared genetic material, we were always individuals.

And it was around that same table that I found my voice. I often listened to my brothers argue about politics. But I always could express my own opinion. And it didn't stop there. I learned to speak my mind at school, at events, wherever I felt I needed to stand up for myself. I've learned a lot of things sitting around that yellow-ish table that never quite seemed to have enough room for us all.

A lot of people disagree with how I get things done. A lot of people disagree with my beliefs. A lot of people disagree with personality, my lifestyle, my work ethic, me. But I think they're rather naive in all of this. I think they base their opinions on a rather narrow slice of my life that they've only barely tasted. Sometimes you gotta step back, take another piece and just dig in. We're all guilty of sometimes assuming things or making false accusations. Take a deep breath, it's all gonna be ok.

Think of your son or daughter, friend, sister, brother, aunt, cousin, neighbor, whoever. Do you really know what goes on in their life? Do you really know everything about every situation they've been in? No offense, but I doubt it. And I know I'm guilty too. All we can do is sit down, ask a few questions, talk about some things and hope we can assess the situation better next time.

I suppose I do have one tidbit of advice to share. Don't yell at your teen. We get defensive. We get mad. We get upset. And we get quite hurt by it. You are not just our mother or father or aunt or teacher or whomever. You're our rolemodel. And even if we're too darn stubborn to admit it, we strive to make you proud, hear that praise, know that we've done good. And out of the blue yelling or even yelling we deserve hurts. It kills us to know that we've let you down. It burns to know that we've done something so terrible as to warrant a rather loud verbal reprimand. It knocks us down, it rubs dirt in our face, and it walks away. Ouch. So give us a chance. Let us talk and say what's on our mind. And don't just hear us, listen to us. We're not misbehaving animals; we don't need to be yelled at. We wanna be talked to. Like an equal. Are you listening?


PS: My forensics piece is called The Dating Game by Kelly Meadows.