Comments: My Happy Childhood

Variation On A Theme

I grew up with the kind of adults who are running the world now. And knowing what kind of people they really are, I amaze myself that I am able to get out of bed in the morning.

Posted by Paul Avery at March 23, 2009 01:56 AM

As a child, the one thing I did not want to be was an adult. Mostly because they had bad breath.

Posted by Susan - NC at March 23, 2009 03:17 AM

Well, maybe I was blessed with an pathologically large ego, but I was pretty sure that the adults didn't know what they were doing from the point I could formulate the question.

It might have had something to do with the experience of meeting Morarji Desai at age 7 and then finding out he drank his own pee. (Disclaimer, this assertion about Desai's drinking habits is perhaps apocryphal, although it is certainly what I was led to believe at the time.)

Posted by Rojo at March 23, 2009 04:03 AM

When I was a child, I believed Captain Kirk knew what he was doing; everyone else, not so much.

Posted by NomadUK at March 23, 2009 04:13 AM

Adding: Of course my Pops always used to quote Twain on this subject: (paraphrasing) "When I was 5 I thought my parents knew everything, by the time I was 16 I thought they knew nothing, and by the time I was 22 I was amazed at how much they had learned."

And of course when I was 16, I would extravagantly roll my eyes when my Pops said this, thinking I had never heard such utter nonsense in my life, and now that I'm 38 I find myself quoting it.

Not that he's not still wrong about everything where we have a difference of opinion. That, of course, is a given. And the adults are still insane.

Posted by Rojo at March 23, 2009 04:18 AM
As a child, the one thing I did not want to be was an adult. Mostly because they had bad breath.

There's probably more of a story there.

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I have another take on this: Whatever happened to the unflappable, technologically advanced Gen-Y so everpresent just a few short years ago? They had so much self confidence in their innate abilities, earning potential, and personal intelligence that I felt sure that they'd make their parents society their own personal bitch in no time.

Now, not so much. I find many of them quivering pathetically in the corner, blaming their elders for the state of things, living in their ruminations.

Time to take ownership already, and get the f*ck out of the house. The world was never the comforting place you're mom and dad gifted you for awhile.

(That's the royal "you", not you Jonathan.)

Posted by Angryman@24:30 at March 23, 2009 08:07 AM

You're? No, I meant "your".

Sheesh.

Posted by Angryman at March 23, 2009 08:11 AM

If you had any idea when you were young you would have picked up a stick and started sharpening it. Only older people have been trained to submit. And each generation is incrementally more self-absorbed and hilariously (see Angryman) self parodying.

Hey this is some feel good shit Schwarz. Don't go all rainbows on me now.

Posted by tim at March 23, 2009 10:41 AM

No,angryman, please no generational warfare crap here, though at least in this case you're not shooting at the boomers. I made the mistake of visiting Ta Nehisi Coates's blog (sp?) once and there was a horde of boomer-bashers waving pitchforks and torches. It was ugly.

And Jon--what gets you out of bed now?

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 23, 2009 12:48 PM

Donald, it's all about class warfare, and to a large extent, generational warfare as well. Reading Jonathan's extended twitter post I extrapolated a tinge of child-adult conflict brewing there.

I guess I'm asking for a clearer definition of when a child becomes an adult and takes ownership of the mess, and how willing they should be.

See, I see it as always being messy. Passing on a huge budget deficit or a social mess to posterity is nothing new or inordinate to me. It's simply the realistic cost of doing business. When you buy a nice house, an honest person also assumes the large responsibility to pay the mortgage that goes along with it. Enough of this fooling ourselves that we'll flip it in time to avoid consequences, huh?

Always enjoy your comments Donald -- don't take mine the wrong way.

Posted by Angryman@24:40 at March 23, 2009 01:32 PM

I had no idea either, but on the other hand, the people running everything these days are my age or somewhat younger, and I've always known they were like this. I am therefore not surprised.

Generation-bashing is stupid, by the way. Must we think of ourselves as demographic statistics? Is there any evidence that any generation is substantially more or less ignorant, stupid, bigoted, clueless, parochial, tribal, self-admiring, delusional and/or ill-intentioned (I could go on) than another?

Posted by non compos at March 23, 2009 01:49 PM
Generation-bashing is stupid, by the way. Must we think of ourselves as demographic statistics?

How should we view ourselves? As individuals? Uniquely individual, not part of a group, a cohort, or a collective?

American individualism is a little too Randian for my tastes.

Must we think of ourselves as demographic statistics?

What's the alternative?

Is there any evidence that any generation is substantially more or less ignorant, stupid, bigoted, clueless, parochial, tribal, self-admiring, delusional and/or ill-intentioned (I could go on) than another?

Well, I hope that with progress and the internets, those features don't remain static. They change in kind. Progressively becoming more sophisticated, urbane, academic.

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Tim upyonder says,

If you had any idea when you were young you would have picked up a stick and started sharpening it.

That be progress man. Ain't attending Yale or Harvard the equivalent to a stick sharpening exercise?

Posted by Angryman at March 23, 2009 02:12 PM

THE HORSES get me up EVERY morning, usually because they want something to eat.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 23, 2009 02:28 PM

I was half-kidding, angryman. I did, however, see some ridiculous boomer bashing at that other blog I mentioned. For instance, my cohort keeps refighting Vietnam, the boomer-bashers said, but in my case I was a kid during Vietnam (and pro-war, because the Reader's Digest was my source for politics at that age) and only really became interested in Vietnam during the mid-80's, and then as just a very important and relatively recent example of American imperialism. If you're an American and you don't think an understanding of the Vietnam War is important to understanding American foreign policy, you're doomed to be astonished every time an American President lies us into another war. Of course, the newer generation can substitute Iraq and people who are 110 can use the Philippines, but it's the same damn thing over and over again. Until some generation comes along that doesn't think it's dumb to study the past and learns something from it.

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 23, 2009 03:06 PM

I grew up wriggling under furniture and pulling the thickest book in my desk over my head when we had "civil defense drills."

This exercise was called "Giving Your Ass To God," by the time I was in 5th grade (1954-55).

The fact that this was all being managed by adults somehow escaped me at the time, cringing in terror beneath my desk, waiting for the last, closest, great white flash.

Posted by Woody at March 23, 2009 05:14 PM

Spare a thought for the kids today, who have a lot clearer picture of how bizarrely incompetent and dangerous the adults who run things are than any of us ever had.

Posted by roy belmont at March 23, 2009 06:59 PM

When UR Frankenstein U do Frankenstein like things, things that aren't necessarily concidered rational by many or even all. YET, shit happens. BUT its because UR Frankenstein and U do Frankenstein like things.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 23, 2009 07:27 PM

Think back. Adults were huge. Of course you deferred.

But you always thought for yourself. Little by little. No one has a choice about that.

There comes a time, however, later for some, earlier for others, when a person wises up. It's at that point art begins..

Posted by JW at March 23, 2009 10:28 PM

...doomed to be astonished every time an American President lies us into another war.

Nice one.

Posted by John Caruso at March 25, 2009 02:19 AM