I have been completely engrossed in the old show ‘The Twilight Zone’ lately.
There’s something about that show that just puts me at ease for some reason. I don’t know if it’s just the black and white imagery, or the swagger of Rod Serling, or just getting lost in stories of bizarre situations for a half hour, that takes the viewer out of the monotony of their own lives, and thrusts them into a world of madness and perplexing scenarios.
Whatever it is, I like it.
However, I don’t like it when real life begins to feel like ‘The Twilight Zone’.
It may just be my perception of things, but it seems to me that people have fallen under the belief that ‘having issues’, is in fact, an identity of sorts. That being depressed, being an addict, or being a ‘cutter’, and crying for themselves makes them interesting somehow.
Oh, don’t kid your self, this is EXACTLY what they think.
At lunch this past Saturday, my daughter was telling us of a classroom exercise in which all the students had to anonymously submit a description of how they feel about themselves, and how they believe others see them. She told us that the majority of the class, and I quote “hated themselves“, and also believed that other people hated them. She said many claimed to be depressed and had thought of suicide before. However, the kicker to the whole thing was when she told us that as these “anonymous” letters of depression and self loathing were being read aloud, the authors were turning to others in the class, pointing towards themselves, and proudly mouthing “That’s mine!”.
They were wearing their badges of dysfunction proudly. These ‘issues’, in their mind, made them someone.
More importantly, she often tells us of the ‘Emo kids’ who listen to Black Veil Brides and Suicide Solution, that cut themselves all the time. In fact, they are known in school as ‘cutters’. This, is their identity.
Oh stop looking up Black Veil Brides and Suicide Solution, Tipper Gore…bands never had anything to do with anything, and never will. In fact, I’m gonna suggest the opposite here in a bit, so stayed tuned!
Now, I attended what was then called Junior High School and High School in the ’80s.
These times were what would now be considered the ‘Golden Age of Bullying’! I mean, kids were able to actually get a good old fashioned bullying off the ground back then, with absolutely ZERO fear of institutional repercussion! I know, crazy, right?
The biggest concern a bully had back then, was that the person they were bullying would finally get sick of their shit, and punch them square in the mouth. These moments were often unexpected by the bully, and generally would act as the curtain call for their “give me your lunch money” theatrical run.
And then there was name calling. Name calling was everywhere. Trust me right now…if teachers didn’t care that you were actually being shaken down for cash, they CERTAINLY didn’t care if you were being called ‘faggot’. And that even covered guys who were clearly homosexual! I mean, if they weren’t going to intervene on actual gay bashing, you don’t think they would worry about what homosexual slang words were being used towards non-homosexuals, do you?
Furthermore, not only could you call someone the now dreaded ’R-Word’, teachers themselves might even suggest that one “stop acting retarded”.
GASP!!! I know, right?
And are you ready for this….this is REALLY gonna throw you through a loop…
If you played sports, and weren’t the top placed team or athlete….you didn’t get a trophy!
WHAT THE FLYING FUCK!
I mean, what were these people….Neanderthals?
Strangely, in the midst of all this chaos, I don’t remember people proudly announcing that they wanted to kill themselves.
I don’t remember the ones who were into depression like it was the hot new band on the scene. And I certainly don’t remember ‘cutters’.
I remember people just trying to fit in. I remember people not wanting to be known as having ‘issues’…AT ALL.
I remember people wanting to be part of certain clique, but because they thought that clique was having more fun, or because they liked the music that group was in to, and their image, but not because they looked more like a pack of douchey vampires that had more cuts than other people at school. I mean, sure, we had ‘The Cure’ fans, and they were mildly whiny at times, but they were pikers compared to this nonsense today.
Now, I know you’ll say “But if people have problems, they shouldn’t be ashamed.”, and you know what? I agree with you.
But I also suggest that they shouldn’t be proud of their problems either! And their problems shouldn’t become their identity.
Their problems should be addressed with professionals, and they should be a private matter.
So what happened?
Where did we make the turn?
Well, my best guess is to blame the Columbine murders, the media’s inaccurate portrayal of what actually happened there, and the unsolicited psychological tutelage we were all besieged with as a result thereof.
Yes, I mean that seriously.
That situation was dumbed down for the masses, and every bit of information we received hence forth was based on erroneous details.
And America was in a panic. They naturally, never wanted Columbine to happen again.
So we over-reacted. We went off the deep end.
In short, in our zeal to make everything perfect for our children so bad things didn’t happen, we have turned them into fucktards.
No, that’s not an actual word, but it feels snug in it’s place here.
Where we once wanted to identify children who were “at risk”, we’ve somehow now convinced them that they are ALL “at risk”.
Where we once wanted them to not feel as if they were an outcast, we’ve coddled them to the point that they feel like an outcast for absolutely no reasons whatsoever….or in worst case scenario, very minimal reasons.
We introduced them to the idea that dysfunction is identity, and that that identity can find comradery, no matter how bizarre.
Where we wanted to give them trophies simply for participating, we taught them that they are exceptional just for mediocre, or even substandard performance.
We protect them from words.
Please read that again, because that’s the one that makes me the craziest, and it should you too.
We left them with the impression that I’m ok, you’re ok, the cutter over there is ok, that Brony is ok….WE’RE ALL FUCKING OK!
And I guess, the lack of being able to openly say something isn’t ok…the lack of being vocal about someone, has made them all paranoid about what people are really thinking about them!
Back in the’80s you didn’t have to wonder what people thought about you…they just said it, and it gave you a legitimate reason to be depressed! BUT, whining was not accepted by your peers then, so you sucked it up, and acted like you had the pair you were born with, because you were Bull Meecham’s kid! (Extra points to anyone who gets the reference).
Do you really want to argue with me about this? Trace back the timeline….show me where I’m wrong!
Many…not all, but many of these children believe themselves to simultaneously be fragile, tormented creatures, and on the flipside, larger than life.
They are depressed, broken centers of the universe, holding 24 hour a day press conferences on Twitter and Instagram.
And they are VERY V.I.P.!
But guess where it all came from?
It came from us.
In this madness to make everyone equally important regardless of accomplishment, we’ve created a ‘Twilight Zone’ for them.
We made a world where dysfunction and issues are your new talents, instead of your hidden problems. We’ve made a world where everything is so right, that the first time something wrong occurs, the sky is falling… instead of it simply being a problem to be dealt with.
We made everything such a minor speed bump in their lives, that when a truly difficult obstacle presents itself, when they can’t just report it away, their answer is to shoot up the school.
And I know what you’re thinking! You’re thinking “Well, when you see them cutting, why don’t you just slap the shit out of them and say STOP BEING A DOUCHEY CUTTER!”?
Well, for two reasons:
1.) No one is allowed to be douchey anymore. That’s probably the ‘D-Word’ now or something. They aren’t douchey, they ‘coolnessly challenged’, I’ll bet. And slapping the shit out of someone while yelling “STOP BEING COOLNESSLY CHALLENGED!” just seems kinda douchey.
2.) We’ve trained them that if someone puts a hand on them, to call 911!
Seriously! You can’t even punch these kids in the throat anymore!
And you know the worst part? For all of my participation in not punching them in throat, no one even gives me a fucking trophy!
They get trophies for being assholes, but I don’t get one for NOT being an asshole?
I’m tellin’ ya’….Twilight Zone!
Oh, and this isn’t limited to just kids. This is an adult issue now too.
How many competition shows have you seen where the contestants tell their life story, and find a reason to cry…FOR THEMSELVES?
Who does shit like this? Who told these people it was ok to cry over some basic misfortunes they’ve had along the way?
Do you know what I miss?
Do you remember the days when they would have to try and talk a man into crying?
Do you remember that?
It would be some shitty show, and they would say “You know, it’s ok for men to cry too.”, and the guy would respond with “Eat my balls, asshole!”
Ok, maybe he didn’t. Maybe he just would say in a very gruff voice “Men don’t cry.”, but that was only because of FCC guidelines.
But yeah….MEN DON’T CRY!
What happened to that?
I feel like every time I turn on the tv, someone is crying for themselves…someone struggled with bullying…someone has issues.
And the truly worst part of all of this? It muddies the water.
When everyone has ‘issues’, how can we know when we truly need to intervene?
How can we know when someone really needs help? How can we know when someone really has ‘issues’?
It’s like a legion of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’!
It’s simply theoretically impossible that we went from 0-100 on the issues scale, legitimately. These things didn’t just appear one day. They are the by-product of over-protection and resulting general malaise regarding a life lived without true adversity.
You know who has ‘issues’?
People who have to walk 5 miles each way to get a jug of fresh water.
You don’t have issues, asshole. You just have a latte that was made with whole milk when you asked for soy, and a bunch of other annoyances that are part and parcel with the monotony of life.
Shut the fuck up.
Eh, I’m probably being old again.
Get off my lawn.