I know an ole boy who works in retail in another community during the day.
A few days ago, a young lad approached him with a couple of business cards he had picked off a counter in the store.
“Hey, dude,” he said. “Are these free?”
The ole boy couldn’t believe his ears.
“What did you just call me?” he asked.
“I called you ‘Dude,’” the child said. “I don’t know your name, man.”
“How old are you, son?” the man asked.
“Eight,” he said.
“Well,” he said. “My name is ‘Sir.’ Just call me ‘Sir’ and I’ll answer.”
The kid stared at the old man as if the word was foreign and possibly unpronounceable to him.
“Sir,” he said, slowly and carefully. “Are these free?”
“One is free,” the man said. “I’ll have to keep the other one,” taking it from the boy.
The kid reached over and grabbed another business card out of the box on the counter and then ran off.
What has happened to kids nowadays?
I think the answer is this: Parents.
Somehow a generation of parents was raised with no respect for their elders.
I think that generation was raised by Baby Boomers, who were taught to show respect to their elders but were rebellious and decided not to expect civil behavior from their own children. Now those kids have kids and the young’ns are going around calling 59-year-old men, “Dude” and “man.”
And it ticks off the 59-year-old because he got reprimanded sharply when he lacked manners and civility in his own childhood, and he believes these youngsters ought to get their butts paddled just as he did.
But that’s something else that’s gone away, too: Discipline.
The other day an ole boy, who identified himself as John, called me on the phone and left a message.
He said the city government had denied Colonial Lanes a building permit for construction of a deck because the deck would be used for an outdoor smoking area. Outdoor smoking is allowed by the Smoke Free Workplace Act of 2011.
The caller was all worked up about it and wanted me to look into it and take the city to task for harming private enterprise.
First thing I did was call Colonial Lanes, the bowling alley that is known nowadays as Coachlite Lanes.
Page 2 of 2 - A fellow who identified himself as Mike, the assistant manager, listened as I outlined what John had said. I then asked Mike if there was any merit to John’s allegations.
“That is false,” Mike said.
Well, that would have ended it for the typical reporter, but I made one more call to Steve Flowers, building codes official at the city, and asked him about what John said. He listened carefully and when I finished, he said, “I have not talked to anybody from Coachlite Lanes.”
Besides, he said, when it comes to denying a building permit, “Smoking would have nothing to do with it.”
The city is more interested in terms like setbacks, ingress, egress. A deck might be denied, but it would be for those reasons, not for smoking.
So, John, whoever you are, I did what you wanted, but I didn’t provide you with the result you were seeking.