A recent article in a local Sunday newspaper asked several teen-agers what they would include if there was such a thing as a “Teen Bill of Rights” -- confirming my suspicions that most young people are about as clueless as a bag of horse feathers about the real world.
The girls in the survey all came up with clever thoughts, while most of the boys gave cutesy-pie answers, no doubt meant to amuse one and all, revealing their underlying fear and loathing about having to someday confront the dire reality of adulthood.
As a semi-responsible adult (except during full moons), I felt obligated to share my vast wisdom with these young male dimwits.
ANSWER from a 17 year-old male from Maryland – “No cruel and unusual punishment, such as cleaning up what the pet left behind or throwing out the garbage.”
ADVICE TO LAZY BONES -- If you can’t take care of a pet, you don’t deserve a pet. If you need a pet to get through life, I suggest a pet rock. And if you think throwing out the garbage is a big deal, just shove it under your bed or stick it in your closet. Most of it will rot and disappear over time, much like your first three marriages.
ANSWER from a 19 year-old male from Texas – “The right to start over. When people mess up, they are judged by that forever. Everyone deserves the chance to start again.”
ADVICE TO SCREWBALL -- You’re obviously a walking disaster. You have two choices in life. You can either move to another state every time you mess up, probably often, or remain where you are and live with a reputation as being a local screwball. The good news is that there are 50 states (unless you took the same Geography course as President Obama, in which case there are 57 states). Once you’ve been chased out of all of them you should consider living on a raft somewhere near Greenland. If you choose to stick it out in one place, you may automatically get a fresh start anyway by becoming an eccentric. Of course, you’ll need to grow a long beard, avoid bathing and talk mostly to yourself to achieve this status. By the way, very few people care if you mess up, unless you mess up on them. None of us are perfect, so don’t expect others (including yourself) to be perfect either.
ANSWER from 20 year-old male from Texas – “The right to have something to eat and something to wear, and have a helping hand when we need one.”
ADVICE TO HELPLESS -- Having a right to everything you desire will cost you everything you have. It’s called socialism, an insidious idea that enslaves everyone involved, especially people who think the world owes them something simply because they exist. If you believe others owe you, they’ll end up owning you. If you believe you are entitled to the earnings of others, you are a pathetic greedy thief. I suggest you figure out a way to survive, such as getting a job or starting a business, instead of hoping to attach yourself to the gains of others.
ANSWER from the same 20 year-old male from Texas – “The freedom of not worrying.”
ADVICE #2 TO HELPLESS -- You are a carbon-base form of random life residing on a large spinning orb rotating around a small sun in a far corner of an average galaxy. The decision to worry is up to you. To expect government to grant such a freedom is a form of insanity. Clearly you need someone else, like a wife or a cat, to do your thinking for you.
ANSWER from an 18 year-old male from California – “The right to have fun.”
ADVICE TO PARTY ANIMAL -- I suspect your version of having fun means lots of mindless juvenile activity accompanied by excessively loud music. Have all the fun you want as long as you don’t spoil life for others, such as neighbors. Fun for you may not be fun for those who are forced to endure your inconsiderate antics.
ANSWER from an 18 year-old male from Louisiana – “The right not to pay taxes until we’re old enough to vote.”
ADVICE TO PUZZLED TAXPAYER -- Congratulations. You’ve noticed that our national government is exceedingly costly and grossly unfair. On the positive side, it’s also very inefficient thereby taking forever to get things done. You have four alternatives. You can accept things as they are, or try to change things for the better, or ignore things and hope they go away, or remain frustrated the rest of your life. I’ve tried all four and none of them seem to work for me.
Quote for the Day -- "Maturity is to be able to stick with a job until it is finished, to be able to bear an injustice without having to get even, to be able to carry money without spending it, to do your duty without being supervised." Ann Landers
Bret Burquest is the author of 7 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and ORB OF WOUNDED SOULS (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and the ghost of Abigail Van Buren.