These Kids Today; Youth Culture; It's Not an Oxymoron, It's a Punishment

Article excerpt

Last week, it was reported that a microbrewery in Ferguson will release "Watermelon Saison" beer this coming Thursday. I tried to stay calm.

This news came on the same day that I was being driven to distraction by the full-sleeve tattoos that entirely covered the arms of Mat Latos, 25, of the Cincinnati Reds. Again, I tried to stay calm.

On this very same day, I had to calm myself down when a colleague said she didn't see what was so bad about "twerking."

Long ago did I vow that as age, with his stealing steps, moved to claw me in his clutch, I would not be one of those Cranky Old Men. My mind would stay open. I would embrace the sweet bird of youth, even if the bird was stupid. Having always been pretty cranky, this has not been easy.

I looked it up: "Saison" is a type of ale. People, typically yoots, who see nothing wrong with putting fruit in beer, and then discussing it endlessly, drive me nuts. So does the generation that has turned making a cup of coffee into a sacramental rite. So do people who take photographs of food they are about to eat and email them to their "followers."

For that matter, the term "followers" drives me nuts. I remember when only people like Jesus Christ had followers.

But I try to stay calm, even when the music is irritating. In my own yoot, there were annoying Cranky Old Men who complained about the music. I do not want to be one of them.

(On the other hand, may I just point out that the music of my yoot was Elvis, the Beatles, Motown and Johnny Cash and here were are, 40 or 50 years later and it's still being played. Do we think people will be humming Miley Cyrus tunes in 50 years? Thank you).

(Speaking of which, I know all the words to Tom T. Hall's "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine," which is not only a great song, but correctly identifies the appropriate beverage for watermelon. I'm saying this calmly).

I try to stay calm every time I confront the term "youth culture," which I would regard as a total oxymoron if I were a Cranky Old Man. Hey, great. People are covering their bodies with tattoos. People are watching TV shows about people who cover other people's bodies with tattoos.

Wonderful, terrific. All of reality TV is just great. It does not rot brains or contribute to the national attention deficit. I embrace it. Every bit of it. Yes-siree.

Here's why: guilt.

Baby-boomers and Generation X-ers have totally hosed all these Gen-Y millennial yoots. …