I recently came across an article from The Boston Globe headlined, “Are we raising a generation of nincompoops?”
Since I am a member of that ninconpoopous generation, I am not able to present an unbiased opinion about this article.
Now, I’m not one to put down my peers, mind you. I think there are a lot of successful (if not questionable) innovations that my generation has brought to society. Facebook and Miley Cyrus, for example. But the article made some good points that I can’t help but agree with.
To quote the sentence fragments at the beginning of the article: “Second-graders who can’t tie shoes or zip jackets. Four-year-olds in Pull-Ups diapers. Five-year-olds in strollers. Teens and preteens befuddled by can openers and ice-cube trays. College kids who’ve never done laundry, taken a bus alone or addressed an envelope.”
It’s hard to argue with that kind of evidence, especially when it comes right out of a newspaper.
After all, you’re reading this. (I’m not sure why. I never do.)
All kidding aside, it really is true. I, for one, still take pause when remembering which setting to put the washing machine on when I do my bi-weekly clothes washing.
This decision is hampered (get it?) by the fact that I try to cram as much clothing into one load as possible, which means I must take into consideration whether my tan towel should go with colors or whites.
This is assuming I’ve even segregated that far.
The article really is pretty hard on my generation, citing examples of kids who “struggle with the mechanics of a clothes hanger.”
OK, that’s bad, but it’s nothing to get hung up on when it comes down to the wire.
For example, I’ve bypassed that problem by simply leaving my clothes on the ground.
One of the problems, the article stated, is that my generation is incapable of handling anything in the absence of technology.
I scoffed, until I realized I would never have even read the nincompoop article had I not found it on the Internet.
My generation fastened up our shoes with Velcro, not laces. Our Chef Boyardee cans come with pop-off tops, so we don’t need can openers. Breakfast merely requires unthawing.
My generation is the Pull-Ups generation because “you can pee in your pants and we’ll take care of it for you.” We can’t address or stamp an envelope because we have e-mail. We don’t know how to look things up in an encyclopedia because we have Wikipedia.
We don’t even know how to use an ice tray because our ice cubes have the ability to tumble out of the refrigerator door at the push of a button.
Actually, my family has owned the same refrigerator for around 20 years, so when it comes to popping ice out of a tray, I’m cool.
Even when you set aside practical activities and just look at entertainment, my generation’s laziness is covered by the facade of technological advances.
For films we just log into an online database, maybe pay a couple bucks if we’re honest, and the movie is right at our fingertips.
As for music, we don’t have to place the needle on the turntable or insert an eight-track or cassette tape or even download a CD. We just plug some ear buds into a device the size of a credit card and go.
I thought about all this for a while when it occurred to me that maybe parents are at least partially to blame for my generation’s lapse in ability.
After all, they put us in Pull-Ups and they bought the Velcro sneakers with light-up heels.
I should probably talk to my own parents about making me a nincompoop. Maybe I’ll even get some pointers on how to use the washing machine.
I think I’ll send them an e-mail.