The stench of entitlement off young people in Ireland nowadays has gotten so overbearing that it’s starting to sting my eyes. Exposure to it is probably worse than second-hand smoke. I’m adamant that this over inflated sense of self-worth is infectious and could be generation emigration’s answer to the black plague, without the obvious capacity for mass extermination.
It’s too late for our generation to be cleansed of the mindset that we deserve everything handed to us on a plate because supposedly ‘young people are the future’. The ‘future’ is now (figuratively, not literally, of course) and all we seem to be doing is harvesting it for every last resource it can offer.
The current late-teens to mid-twenties age bracket don’t deserve anything at all. Especially not free education or a swanky new student centre which you’ve barely contributed a pittance to. That mentality has engulfed us and even though it might be too late for us, we can stop the spread to the next generation. At the moment, however, parents are doing a terrible job of it by spoiling their kids.
Recently I went shopping for a present for my nine-year-old cousin and was embarrassingly excited that I actually had a reason to walk around toy stores. At least this time when the staff member of Smyth’s approached me to see if I needed help or was lost, I could honestly say, ‘I’m buying a present for my cousin’ and not just checking out their new Lego Star Wars range.
Once I had reasoned with myself that the present was actually for him and not me, I settled on some robot-ninja time-lord thing. I was pretty chuffed with my choice and brought it over to him on his birthday, eager to gauge his reaction.
“Here you go. It’s only something small, but I think you’ll like it,” I said, bringing his expectations down so the present will appear infinitely better once he tears the sports themed wrapping paper off.
“Thanks. I’m busy FaceTime-ing my friend on my new iPad. See ya,” he rebuked and threw the present on his couch. Shocked, and partially offended that he didn’t furiously rip the present apart to free the time lord inside, I was baffled that a kid at his reading level was capable of using the word FaceTime as a verb, let alone knowing how to use the application itself.
I turned to his Mum and said: “There are no words that you could put in the correct order to possibly condone getting him an iPad. Unless he’s dying. Is he dying?”
“No, he’s not dying, I think,” she replied. “I just like seeing him happy.”
Kids don’t need expensive gifts to be happy, and getting them iPhones and iPads for birthdays or Christmas is purely bad parenting. No kid needs an iPad. Kids need an etch-a-sketch or better yet, just a cardboard box. If they get a cardboard box there’s absolutely no risk that the kid might stumble across the millions of porn sites on the internet or worse, 4chan. And if they drop it, it won’t smash, because it’s just a cardboard box.
When I was young, I got one big present, one small present and a surprise from the Coca-Cola man. In the grand scheme of Christmases, that meant maybe a Playmobil bin truck, a Han Solo action figure (complete with carbonite freezing chamber) and some Lego bricks: a different primary colour every year.
Those presents were a solid investment in my future. At the time, I wanted to pursue a career as a waste management technician [bin man] when I grew up. Going around my house on Christmas day picking up the discarded Quality Street and Roses wrappers showed me that I could aspire for more than a career as a rubbish collection supervisor [bin man]. So, using my beige Lego bricks as the stash, Han Solo started up his own smuggling business with a bin truck.
It’s entrepreneurial innovation like this that makes me think I may have found a simple, but arduous, solution to the entitlement complex troubling young people right now. History has proven that lots of manual labour can be a foolproof cure for a conceited population. Especially when this extensive labour is carried out in cordoned off areas, like gulags.
It’s hard to explain exactly what these modern gulags will be like. They’ll be kind of similar to Hogwarts and Geordie Shore, except instead of the learning how to practice magic and clubbing every night, there’s a lot of heavy lifting of boulders from A to B, and then back to A again.
The best bit about the gulags will be that you won’t even need to sign up. Once you finish college, you’ll be allocated to a gulag. It’s very much an application of the American Football draft system except, again, instead of multi-million dollar contracts, your reward will be more heavy lifting.
I’ve already started making my draft for the gulags. First up is the cousin that got the iPad. Let’s be clear, I’m not jealous of him because he got an iPad. He’s being drafted because a few weeks ago he FaceTime-d me out of the blue. It was his cool way of thanking me for the present I got him.
The call didn’t last long, I hung up on him after he asked me for the receipt of the ninja-robot time-lord thing so he could get store credit.