Last week CNN featured a provocative interview with a writer who recently published an article expounding the deficiencies and general hopelessness of millennials.
What’s the matter with kids today, anyhow?
Millennials are that magic group of up and comers, ages 17 to 37, who are ready to change the world but unable to replace a light bulb without consulting a YouTube channel.
There was much humor in the discussion. The author described how his son phoned home from university to ask why his washing machine didn’t clean his clothes (he wasn’t using soap) and how his neighbors’ kids couldn’t operate a lawnmower.
He opined there is great potential for retail businesses able to lure and instruct this generation of consumers.
Home Depot, for example, is already transitioning its super stores into “education centers,” recognizing that its “do-it-yourself” brand will fizzle when faced with a hemisphere of customers who don’t actually know how to do anything themselves.
Aisle One: Hammers. Nails. Proceed to demonstration pod.
The middle DeMeer son, barely 18-years-old, took issue with the commentary.
Why does everyone go on about millennials? Why do they pick on us?
Hmmmmm. Well because they think you’re stupid, sweetheart.
And that’s not really fair.
Every generation comes of age listening to the critical snorts of the people who raised it.
Imagine a father in the 1950s: What’s the matter with this kid? His nose is always in a book and he can’t even milk a cow.
People aren’t born knowing how to mow the lawn. And not everybody grows up with grass.
To the point: I was 17 years old before I learned how to work a shower.
Naturally we bathed.
But our house was a hundred years old. (Note: there are differences between a ‘century home’ and a hundred-year-old house but they are too numerous to list here.)
We had a very large and comfortable claw foot tub that would likely fetch a sweet price on eBay in 2017. And we travelled some but that was mostly in a tent trailer. Campgrounds had showers, but all you had to do is insert a few quarters to make them go.
My first time away for the weekend, staying with friends, was excruciating.
Imagine standing in someone else’s bathroom, covered in only a towel, trying to figure out how to get the water that flows so easily out of the tub spout magically up the wall so it comes out the shower head.
There was no coin slot.
Sat on the edge of the commode for what felt like hours, too embarrassed to admit this was a problem.
Heard outside the bathroom door: What is she DOING in there? Do you think she’s dead?
She only wished.
The DeMeer spawn are reasonably self-sufficient, in theory if not always in practice.
All four can program the DVD player, make a grilled cheese sandwich and open a can of soup, and have at least a basic understanding of auto mechanics.
Baby girl packs a suitcase with the efficiency of a trained valet and the boys’ self-taught outdoor survival skills are reassuring. They can fish, kill things, make fire and construct shelter.
This comprises the family’s apocalypse plan.
Was reminded over the weekend that they also have the ability to problem solve and improvise.
We were making hot chocolate, and there was just enough whipped cream left over from Thanksgiving pies to go around.
As it turned out the plastic spout on top of the can, so necessary for expressing its contents, was broken.
They pushed, pulled, twisted. The can was non-functional.
My solution was to have the hot chocolate without whip cream, but they were not to be beaten.
With determined looks they bore the can into the backyard, centered it on a stump by the woodshed and cut it in two with the axe.
They came back into the kitchen, covered in frothy white bubbles, but pretty darned impressed with themselves.
As long as my millennials don’t try this method to milk a cow, they are going to be just fine.