Kids — These Days

Things kids these days don’t know. Could be a long list.

They don’t know how to light a match. I’ve watched them stare vacantly at the match and striker, and then fumble seemingly endlessly, usually unsuccessfully, when called upon to enact the required behavior, at various ceremonies.

To be generous, why would they know how to do this? Doesn’t everyone have a Bic lighter? And what ever happened to Zippo? Are they all in the hands of collectors?

They don’t know how to read a printed map. Never mind fold one – correctly or not. It may be unlikely they’ve seen a printed map, unless they venture into an antiques store or a gas station caught in a time warp.

The word or the instruction “Clockwise” is perfectly meaningless to those who inhabit or know nothing different from a digital world.

Thinking about such things makes one feel old. Which is probably because one is old.

In a certain way, such thinking calls to mind the lyrics of Jackson Browne’s 1973 recording, “These Days.”

These days we in New York State can’t figure out what policy to adopt regarding hydrofracking (or, hydraulic fracturing). Policymakers, if not the public, have dithered.

Though indecision torments us in that regard, below the ground, we race headlong into expanding the number of casino gambling sites across the state.

Some things, apparently, are easier to decide than others.

To dissuade people from tobacco consumption, there has been nearly half a century’s worth of public service announcements, paid (often by cigarette manufacturers) advertising, and many multiple billions of dollars in research.

Evidence of the health hazard caused by smoking tobacco is abundant and unambiguous. In addition to the not-so-recent social ostracism.

And today we learn the public “will” tips in favor of legalizing marijuana. Which is what? Injected? Taken in pill form? Oh, smoked!

Browne’s song is mournful, an expression of regret.

The inability to light a match, read a map or understand archaic expressions. Is there anything sorrowful about them?

As for the other two issues . . .

Then it ain’t just the kids one wonders about, these days.

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