My new classroom is located in the throbbing pickled heart of a junior college. This means I have found myself immersed in the culture of Modern Youth.
How much do you know about Youths?
I've managed to make a few observations about them, none of which are new or revelatory, but they are, nonetheless, unique to me and my experience, and therefore worthy of being uploaded to the World Wide Web and disseminated across the entire digitally connected galaxy of mankind.
When submerging yourself into the culture of the young, bear in mind that not all of the language they employ in their attempts at articulating their feelings is gentle to the ear; I have tried to record here verbatim what I have heard, and in doing so, I risk offending those of you with sensitive spirits. This is not done to shock, I assure you. It is simply to give you the feel of how young people are communicating with each other; to keep it, as they say, real.
For instance, I overheard two young men discussing their feelings towards the opposite sex. They were both staring down into smartphones as they talked.
"What, you like white girls? Mixed? Fat bitches?"
His friend grunted what may have been an affirmation at that last option.
"You be liking fat bitches? Alright then, you be who you be and you be liking what you be liking, know'em saying? Fat bitches be all right. Mm-hmmm." I am uncertain how to spell out the last sound he made; it was like a yummy sound, but with some sex in there as well.
Now, I am guessing you think this conversation took place between two African Americans. I am here to destroy stereotypes. They were Muslim or Italian; not sure, something swarthy. I guess Mexican could be on the table as well.
It doesn't matter what port they call home. What matters is that they were young and I was eavesdropping on them.
Speaking of race, here is one I found confusing.
I was hiding around a corner from Ms.Pam the teacher because she is scary, when I suddenly heard:
"Bro! Bro! Bro! Buy me some motherfuckin ice cream bro motherfuck ain't got no money." Then came the sounds of vigorous kicking.
"Oh shit! Kick that fucking nigger! Beat that nigger's ass!"
My curiosity and sense of civic duty compelled me to peak from my hiding place.
A group of white kids, one of them wearing a Minecraft T-shirt, were kicking the base of the machine that dispenses ice cream. They all had bangs in their eyes and amateur beards sprouted by sheer effort of will. I think I can I think I can POP! Beard.
But here I sincerely plead ignorance: what is the modern state of "nigger"?
Has it passed into acceptable, even arbitrary use, among the young?
I studied these boys intently: they had no drawl to their speech, no coonskin caps or Confederate currency peeking from the pockets of their crotch throttling skinny jeans; none of the tells of the obvious racist.
They were only babies; hairy, hairy babies, suckling their Iphone nipples with their ravenous hairy baby thumbs.
And yet, they called the ice cream machine a nigger.
Everyday our class comes here, the Student Center, the hub of campus where all the food is eaten, all the girls ogled, all the Magic played. The noise and the spectacle still knock me back a step.
This is a land where the men are lanky and spastic, enamored of their own spontaneity; their pronoun of choice a chimera of "Bitch Dog Bro".
A land where the women no longer sport thick, sensible flannel shirts over their denim jumpers, but instead advertise boobs 'til Tuesday, flanks o'plenty, and anklescomegetsome.
And all these creatures always consuming; tubes of Subway funneled down gullets, cherry walnut salads dissected of anything green, paper trays of French fries, lattes slurped.
And all of them on the Internet always; the Internet constant, the Internet omniscient, the Internet eternal.
Vertigo from staring too long into the gap between generations overcomes me. I slip into my hiding places and eat my apple turnovers.
I know I used to be a youth, I know it.
I looked at girls and bench-pressed respectable amounts of weight above my prone body.
I worked alone, angrily, in my bedroom, while The Sounds of Silence
tape played over and over again in my brick-sized Walkman. It was an
illegal bootleg copy of the actual record, which was downstairs in my
parent's living room, so I felt like a criminal when I listened to it.
A criminal pumping iron in his bedroom, getting strong to Feelin' Groovy.
I acquired one of those stretchy pully bungee things with a handle on
each end. I think it was the Torso Pump or something.
You pulled it
straight across your chest and marveled at how handsome it made you.
used it religiously.
First I cried with joy at how my pectorals filled
out and danced with my laughter, but then I realized they were still
The Torso Pump worked too well, and worse, it had no reverse
function. You could not cross your arms, do the exercise the opposite
way and pop your boobies back into their sockets.
being the strongest man in the world but having to wear a bra.
almost all of you is steel, except your front parts and your heart,
which breaks each time children titter at you on particularly bouncy
wagon rides, or shatters when you catch an old woman averting her eyes from
your vigorous game of hop scotch.
What happened to the youth? Why do I feel not of them?
Why this violent urge to sneak up behind their vapid texting forms and strangle them with the cord of a rotary phone, whispering in their ears with my rank green tea and Lipitor breath, It's wasted on you, you somnambulic dullards, all of this youth is wasted on you....