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May 30, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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Getting the Old Folk off our Lawn

If there’s any feeling I tend to get from the old fogeys that run our country at the moment, it’s that they have their heads so far up their arses, they can see what they’re having for breakfast.

They ignore some huge problem, make stupid judgement calls, and then assume they are right just because they have had the common physical decency to just not die.

One of the most common misnomers is the good ol’ “back in my day, Sonny Jim” tales that have most people reaching for an extra large barf bag. “The way things were back then were absolutely smashing,” says the man with white fluffy tentacles worming their way out of his brain. “There was so much more freedom back then, it’s such a bad world out there at the moment, you youngsters don’t know nothing,” he says. Well, sir, I take offense to that, and I will promptly put you in a nursing home.

Let’s get something straight here. By looking outside at the oompa loompas that we call our younger generation running around being generally pathetic, some of the things they get away with boggle the mind. It’s almost comical what they can do nowadays that we couldn’t do, and there are so many more opportunities to break away from what is expected and turn into the exact opposite of sheltered children. In short, they’ve got it made. So what happened?

We can begin, very basically speaking, with the stereotypical view of anywhere between 1960 and 1985. That is to say, “smoke this, drink this and wiggle your privates around like this”. The liberalism that occurred back in their time, particularly on New Zealand’s political scale, was something that made the whole world stand up and listen. Our entire country was like Woodstock, but with French spies bombing boats instead of illegal Chinese fireworks. And it didn’t get much better when Muldoon came in and took a proverbial shit all over liberalism when he tried that superannuation train wreck. He might as well as lathered himself in salad dressing and told the hippies to help themselves.

My father was born in 1969, and spent most of his teenage years faffing about in the small town of Hokitika. All of his stories consist of how much dumbfuckery he got away with at the time. One of his most glorified stories was when he took a forklift from his workplace, drove it with his brother to his principal’s house. lifted his Mini and placed it lengthways between two trees. Without going into expletives, someone was not pleased. And the best part? No consequences, no punishments. “There was real freedom to be you,” he said to me. And from the looks of things, damn straight there was.

If you want to look at today in that way though (i.e. construction equipment gymnastics), of course the kids are getting more conservative. Hell, if a Justin Bieber clone tried to forklift my car, I’d knock them into next week so hard their skinny jeans would have to catch a connecting flight. Not to mention they’d be charged out the nostrils for it. In that sense, it could be said that we are being observed much more closely as an age bracket than when everything was fan-bloody-tastic. On top of that, we are much more constrained in action than our younger counterpart. Mere communication and interaction suggests that the older generation have a sense of “sit down and shut up” when it comes to dealing with the young’uns.

And in that regard, I honestly don’t blame them, because with what was lost in action, we have regained in reaction. When I say reaction, I say in the sense that we are doing the exact opposite of what we are being told to do. “Don’t drink that whole bottle of tequila,” they say, and it’s like looking at Pandora’s Box. And when all the evils of the world are being chundered into a toilet bowl, the textbook response would be “I told you so.” But I highly doubt that the drinker would necessarily regret it, per se. Surely, by defying a social command, there is a certain amount of pride involved that is garnered through individuality, even if it took a rabbit punch to the noggin to pull it off. I think that is one of the aspects that make our generation both unique and completely blasé. We just want to do our own thing. And I think that’s where Old Man Johnson gets his Zimmer frame in a twist. I walked past a senior citizen on my way home from work, and it was a tight fit between him and a hoard of camera whoring hyenas. I swear I heard him mutter “no respect” and grumble incoherently to himself. Come on, is this really what it’s come down to? In their eyes, are we just hooligans? Well, monochromatically speaking, it would seem so. But I think there’s something more to this feud than just a food fight in a school cafeteria.

The one thing that is increasingly relevant is that this issue is not exclusive to our generation. I can liken it somewhat to the Moses v Egypt deal in the Bible—not exactly a new age manuscript, mind. Moses stood as a vessel for the younger generation just wanting to get out of a forced cycle of subjugation, while the Pharaoh was more focussed on maintaining what was already there. Eventually, it reached a head, the rest of the story rolls on, and let’s just say that the Egyptian army had to go with the flow somewhat, ba bum tish. Cool story, bro. But what happened to Moses?

He got crabby, grew a hobo beard, started talking to bushes and got really angry over a gold heifer. As you do. So, even from biblical standards, the cycle seems to be that the elder appears, the elder bitches at the rebel, the battle ensues and the rebel wins, the rebel becomes the elder, repeat. And I’m inclined to believe this theory over mindless senile ramblings in my eardrum. Granted, the midgets can sometimes just be straight up annoying, but we can understand the merits of their individuality, even if we straight up don’t like them for it.

Probably because we’ve been through it ourselves. The fact that this rule doesn’t apply to the elder, which doesn’t make a lick of sense. Maybe it’s just the nostalgic ones that want everyone to be mature and boring. Which would suck, because how else would you get the drinking in a bathtub stories? In any case, it doesn’t seem to be something we can just answer. If the logic is sound, then it would stand to reason the old people would have nothing to complain about. Maybe some things just are. And, back in the day, it was the same thing. It just was. It was intrinsic, just like now, and it always has been. We just have to be a little more understanding when we become the elder, so it doesn’t turn out so bad for the next batch.

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  1. Electrum Stardust says:

    “[L]et’s just say that the Egyptian army had to go with the flow somewhat […] But what happened to Moses?

    He got crabby, grew a hobo beard, started talking to bushes […] “:

    Actually, by most accounts Moses already had a beard at the time (making him look rather more “elder-ly” than Yul Brynner), and had also already spoken with said Bush.

  2. smackdown says:

    less folks more blokes

  3. Electrum Stardust says:

    “[L]et’s just say that the Egyptian army had to go with the flow somewhat […] But what happened to Moses?
    He got crabby, grew a hobo beard, started talking to bushes […] “
    :
    Actually, by most accounts Moses already had a beard at the time (making him look rather more “elder-ly” than Yul Brynner), and had also already spoken with said Bush.

  4. smackdown says:

    what happened to the formatting in the fourth-to-last paragraph did someone have a stroke???

  5. Electrum Stardust says:

    These “folks”, NOT these “blokes”— or this singing bush. Or this one.

    “Stroke” of Genius.

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