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Deadlines & Skinny Jeans

Monday, June 03, 2013
By Quinton Ellis, M.S., LPC

In my experience, deadlines are like the world’s worst ninjas. It’s not as though they just pop up in front of me, all black, silent, and awesome. No, it’s more like this particular ninja was following me all weekend, meticulously shadowing my every move. I know this because I tripped over him on at least four occasions. He spent all day yesterday sprawled like a spider on the ceiling of my office. (He should’ve gone with his whites.) On my way home from work, I stopped to get gas at 7-11 and he was inside purchasing a Slim Jim. He spent yesterday evening on the couch next to me watching my T.V. on mute as I read. And yet today I walked into my office and got a face full of nunchuck. So, not having developed any kind of philosophically coherent theme, I’ll just give you a couple of thoughts that have occurred to me as I’ve spent time with your children.

The first is that they are never alone. Never. They wouldn’t have it any other way but I don’t generally trust their judgments about the things they ‘would have’. When I say that they are never alone, I’m referring to their use of electronic devices to communicate and influence each other; devices that are never turned off unless the batteries die. Cell phone conversations, both spoken and poorly spelled are had right up to the verge of sleep. If the phone’s not available, then there is Facebook (or as I like to call it, Narcissism’s Steroid) just pleading to be attended to at all hours. It was a sad thing indeed that in my youth I could play one video game for 12 hours straight. What should be felt about this younger generation that cannot only play for longer periods of time but do so with their friends (or absolute strangers) online, screaming at them even louder than the warhead they just unleashed on the enemy? Many of the young men I talk to won’t even play many of their video games unless their friends are online.

Remember growing up and just being alone sometimes? Not that you wanted to be. It wasn’t your preference, but you were just off the grid. No phones at night. No technology to save you from isolation. We were just stuck with ourselves and our thoughts. We didn’t know it at the time but we were graced with time to consider ourselves in light of the day’s events and to decide how we would proceed the following day. We were allowed (forced) to formulate some of our identity without the help of the constant assault from those who would otherwise define that identity for us.

I truly feel sadness for today’s adolescents. Many of their lives are lived as though they were unknowingly imprisoned in a shopping mall which, to my mind, is a rather chilling vision of hell. Trapped, their choices are limited to the people and the products around them, without time to think or silence to reflect upon these purchases or relationships. Many would benefit from a furlough. Most would turn down the opportunity.

Well, that was just depressing. And longer than I had intended. I’ve left myself very little room to ask a question that throbs like a tumor in my mind, and that is: Why are so many of these boys dressed up like one of the Ramones? What is up with these skinny jeans? I cannot think of a single reason their existence is justified. I only see the downside for these young men, and that downside goes on for miles. Did they get trapped in the mall and then locked inside a Hot Topic? I think I’ve decided that skinny jeans are the new world’s worst ninja.

Take lots of pictures, parents. Lots of ‘em. You’re going to have some fun in just a few short years.

Quinton is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Edmond Family Counseling and can be reached at 405-341-3554.
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