It was my fault for wanting Colonel Sanders. Who in their right mind passes up a dozen or so locally owned restaurants to patronize a corporate chain? That’s prima facia nuts. The KFC menu board was confusing. The chicken was not cooked fully. And it wasn’t the first time for either of those. KFC might be the most indifferent and scatological purveyor in the consumer products market. I’ll miss the delicious herbs and spices, but I am now cured. The fried chicken everywhere else is fine.
As I was closing in on my local KFC, I encountered a pack of Tweens—not quite teenagers. They paraded on the sidewalk next to the highway, flicking off passing cars and cussing loudly. People in the drive thru were serenaded with cat calls like, “Get that chicken, you fat pig.” There were about a dozen tweens and they were in a dark, dark mood.
It’s nice to see free range children again. Not too long ago they were all in programs with spread charts, living lives of enriching channeled busy boxes. Trends in parenting have now thankfully shifted in favor of having more than one child and letting those spawn play in the streets. My pack of mean tweens is part of the trend, which has telescoped up to teenagers.
All of the kids I’ve run into recently are in crappy moods. There’s a dismissive look teenagers give you, that “how do I avoid this nitwit’s fate” glance they bestow on all non-celebrities. It’s normal. They expect better than what you have. You have been sized up as the rotund, self-satisfied sell out that you are. Of late, this has mutated into a pack sneer.
I can’t blame them. The global adult world’s reaction to this plague has not been reassuring. Here in the United States, doubly less so. Not only has what’s been played out seem chaotic, imposing and goofy, but by all measures it has been ineffective. Let’s all lock down, group ground, mass protest and then open back up when there is nothing open. Watch the adults move in competing directions. Listen as the news reports one thing while the government says something else. Or the news comes from different worlds and the governments challenge each other’s truths. This does not inspire confidence on any level.
The kids are letting us know that we’ve robbed them. We’ve robbed them of summer. We’ve robbed them of safety. We’ve robbed them of the expectation of competence. Wipe the sage look off your face. This is not a normal part of a generation’s maturation process. This is failure.