That title was a common refrain for me and my best friends in my high school days. Our way of poking fun at the elder establishment and their ultimately futile attempts to curb our boisterous merriment.
Enough of the big words. The reason it came to mind was the following story, and the thought that I may well be the “elder establishment” (rookie class, mind you)
Location: My apartment complex
Event: Walking down the sidewalk
Destination: Laundry Room (DUN DUN DUN!!! – thrilling eh?)
Having wrecked my knee a few weeks back, I was hobbling along on a cane (I look like a fat bald House), when I crossed paths with a 20-something out for a walk with his newborn infant in a stroller.
“You mess yourself up?”, he inquired.
“Oh… yeah”, I allowed “I twisted my knee.”
“How’d that happen?” A natural response.
“Moving stuff that was too damn heavy.” I lied, I couldn’t bring myself to explain that it seems to have been triggered by the act of getting out of bed. How pathetic is that?
Now comes the part that makes me want to raise my cane like some gimpy Gandolf and cast the man in twain. “You on workman’s comp?”
“AHHHH!! WHAT THE F***!? Are you kidding? I think I’m going to VOMIT!” screams my inner Lewis Black. “Oh no.”, I say aloud “I’d have to be a lot worse then this for that sort of thing. If I can get there, I go.”
“Oh. Well, hope it get’s better”, he said, his face betraying an expression that he was quite aware of his faux pax as he departed.
It offended me in a number of ways. First my sense of self reliance, it was ridiculous to think that this would somehow render me inert. You could cut my legs OFF and I’d still find a way. It might take some time, but rest assured I would return.
It offended my sense of civic responsibility. Workmans Comp and other “safety nets” are just that, SAFETY NETS to be used in cases of EXTREME EMERGENCY. They are not a real world “pass go, collect $200” – nor despite what some may think, is it a F*****G career option.
As I tossed my whites and colors into the same machine with reckless abandon as I often do (it works out, eventually it all turns gray and it doesn’t matter anymore) I kept hitting on the thought “That’s whats wrong with youth today (It’s official I am my grandfather) – everybody out for the quick buck “I got a boo boo, pay me”. F*** THAT.”
So, thanks nameless neighbor. Thanks for re-enforcing the stereotype. And thanks for taking me for some low life free ride junkie, who’d rather sit on his ass and get paid to do nothing, then put in an honest day’s work.