A friend approached me today with a bemused expression and simply said, “I think the world is getting stupider. People are snorting condoms and putting it on Youtube.”
My first thought was, “That’s probably a thing.”
My second thought was, “How many have choked to death so far?”
There were over a hundred thoughts that followed, because that’s what it’s like to live with A.D.D.
You tube hits = recognition = cool = popularity.
Ok, so it turns out that the major media outlets may have jumped the gun on this craze. The first condom snorting video was uploaded over ten years ago and there are relatively few videos of kids snorting condoms in existence. There are vastly more videos of kids filling condoms and using them as water balloons.
I care a lot more about teenagers using condoms to prevent STDS and pregnancy. Every young person who spends more than five minutes with me is likely to get a not-so-subtle suggestion that TWO FORMS OF BIRTH/STD CONTROL AND ONE OF THEM NEEDS TO BE A CONDOM (oral condom/dental dam) is what responsible sex is about. (I’m old. The first time I saw a dental dam I thought it was a fruit roll up).
My brain started playing with why young people would do such seemingly stupid things. My conscience asked me, “What would you have done to be cool in high school?”
My heart answered, “Shit, I’d have given up 20 I.Q. points if it meant kids would have liked me.”
Then my brain said, “Oh, shit, wait…isn’t that’s why we drank and did drugs?”
Yeah. It was. Acceptance. Friendship. Not being bullied. Numbing the pain of my home life.
“I do it for the drugs. I do it just to feel alive. I do it for the love that I get from the bottom of a bottle”
Smile Empty Soul “Bottom of a Bottle”
Shock value. What’s the next thing? In my youth, tattoos were shocking – if you had them you were either a veteran or a deviant. Styles, phases, metal music, piercings, rap. designer drugs, it’s all the same shit. Screaming at the world our personalized version of a Stephen Crane poem, “Sir, I exist!”
Now it seems my generation is disgusted with the behavior and idiosyncrasies of millennials.
I wanna scream, “Who the f@ck raised them?” We did. Those of us who came of age in the 80’s did. We who were raised by disillusioned baby boomers and burned out hippies. We who grew up confident of nuclear war and terrified of AIDS. We did.
In today’s world, apathy and ambivalence ought to be viewed as adaptive responses for young people who are overwhelmed by the mess we’ve collectively made.
Are things getting dumber? Weirder?
I dunno. What I do know is that a kid who eats Tide pods is probably a kid who is just as lost as I was.
How about we take a break from making memes about how F’ed up things are and check in with young people and ask if we can help?