September 10, 2012 by Manny Wordsmith
Youth. You have no idea what’s going on, how well you have it, or what to do with…it. I know I didn’t. I wish I could take back the hours I spent as a teen watching music videos, exchanging fart jokes, and pretending that I was smarter than everyone else. In the moment it seemed right, like I was slowly forming the building blocks of my future. A few Nas videos here, a view Taking Back Sunday videos there…but in reality I was kind of just being a melodramatic music snob with a Napoleon Complex.
And I was stubborn. No one could tell me anything. I felt like I dripped wisdom, which I would try to spread to all the lovely ladies I met at Skate World.
(And there’s no need for me to explain “Skate World” because everyone had one. Every kid stuck in suburban hell flocked to their respective “Skate Worlds” to be around the opposite sex without teachers or parents. At most, a cool older brother or sister would chaperone. But most of the time they were way too busy smoking weed behind the dumpsters, taken shots of cheap vodka with the trailer park kids from across the street, or just chasing their own loves, to ever tell you what to do. You had free freedom to swear, spit, grab booties or make-out with anyone who gave you the time. It was like your own adolescent Vegas. But without the casinos, cocaine, and prostitutes. Wait, I said I wasn’t gonna explain, right? Shit.)
Now, as an adult, knocking on the “30” door, I can truly say that I squandered some of my time that would’ve been spent doing something crazy…like listening.
“All I wanted to do when I was a kid was be an adult. And now that I am, it’s hard,”
That’s what my co-worker told me the other day. I thought she was nice and cute up to that point. But what do you expect from an 18-year-old?
I rolled my eyes like an old man, and thought, “You have no idea girl. You still have rainbows and glitter coming out of your ears. Just wait till you start picking up some the weight of this world, and see what happens when it sticks to your hips! You’ll be home doing meth, cheating on your taxes and watching “Bridezilla” in no time. This world will EAT YOU!”
But I’m not a mean guy, so I didn’t say any of that. Instead…
“Oh yeah? Me and my homegirl Jolene were just saying how crazy it would be to be a kid again.”
Nice right? I was slightly jabbing at her comment by plainly saying how much youth is missed after you get older. But instead of listening and absorbing my words she said,
“Ugh, I wouldn’t want to be a kid. I hated my dad growing up. I wouldn’t want to put up with him again.”
You can add “being beat by destructive boyfriend” on that list above.
“You know what they say about girls who don’t have a strong relationships with their Dad’s right?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m supposed to have harder times being with boys or get super clingy because I didn’t hug my dad enough or something. That’s the same thing my counselor said,”
Of course she has a counselor.
“But I don’t think that’s true. I had a boyfriend and we were just fine, I loved him a lot and he loved me. He just had to move, so we decided to break up.”
“How old was your boyfriend?”
This guy is long gone, and when I say long gone I mean still in the same place. He probably just changed his location on his Facebook and moved two apartments over. Stage 5 protocol.
I attempted to ask her more questions to see where she saw herself in a couple years, or if she was able to hold any rational thoughts, but it became obvious in the short 10 minute span that I cared, that this girl was not going to listen to any of my words. The heavy responsibility of just going to work, keeping her room clean, and being home before 2 a.m. was hard enough for her to handle.
I can’t expect to get to everyone. But that’s why I’m glad I got a niece and a nephew who at least pretend to entertain my ramblings.
I guess they’re the only teens I really have to worry about, huh?