Young at any age
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Josh at
written by Josh:
At eighteen you can legally have sex – you can vote too, but who the hell cares about that? At twenty-one you can add the consumption of alcohol and tobacco to that list. Sex, drugs, and alcohol aside; at twenty-one, the United States Government feels that we’re mature and responsible enough to be an adult. And sure, some of us will be – the intellects who have spent their whole lives working to get into Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth – but that’s about, say ten percent of the modern youth? What about the other ninety?
While bored late one night, I flipped on the television and found my way to E!, home of many an idiotic reality show. Well, while I was frying my brain, the question arose in my mind – at what age are we maturely ready to be an adult? Not at what age are we supposed to reach the level of maturity of an adult, but at what age are we actually ready to embrace the responsibilities?
People like to say that you can be young at any age. Sure. But that’s usually just to console the old folks going through that mysterious midlife crisis thing.
Sure, at twenty-one you’re on top of the world. You can finally go out to the clubs with your pals and get drunk to high hell. You can party ‘til four in the morning and have a hangover until four the next afternoon. You don’t care what your parents think, you’re twenty-one, gosh darn it, let me live my own life!
But that’s at twenty-one. That’s like the night of your twenty-first birthday. You’re supposed to sober up, get over that phase, and be the adult that you’re expected to be. At twenty-five, thirty-five, forty-five, there is no reason someone should still be acting that way. Unfortunately, however, as it would seem, acting like a teenager is the only way to get any positive attention in the world today.
If you need more proof of this, look no further than MTV’s hit reality series The Jersey Shore or any of the E! Network television shows and talk shows. And speaking of E!, let’s look at one of its biggest hits, starring none other than everyone’s favorite late night trollop, Chelsea Handler. Handler, host of the late night talk show, Chelsea Lately, and author of three critically acclaimed books is 36 and still acting like a drunken, stoned eighteen year old – or is eighteen giving her too much credit? But don’t take my word for it. Just pick up her latest best seller, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, and see for yourself.
Yeah, as much as we’d like to think that there’s more than stand up comedy, sex, alcohol, and drugs to Miss Handler, after reading her book it becomes apparent that there isn’t, in fact, much more in her pathetic life. Now I’ll admit that ten minutes or so of Chelsea Handler will have you laughing, but after twenty, you’re sitting back, rolling your eyes, thinking that there must be something – anything – better to spend your time on.
But getting back to the point – these people, people like the cast of the Jersey Shore and Chelsea Handler, are in their twenties and thirties and yet they still don’t seem to get it that they should have outgrown this juvenile stage filled with irresponsibility years ago. There’s a point at which we begin to question whether or not the majority of young Americans will be ready to embrace the expectations of responsibility and maturity required to be an adult. It’s not only the half-witted reality show stars though. Oh no, not in the least. Let’s look back in time.
The year is 2008. The presidential race is underway and it’s now clear that John McCain and Barack Obama will be the two biggest players in the game. It’s the twenty-ninth of August. McCain is onstage in Dayton, Ohio. Along with him is the woman that the nation would come to know as the biggest “hockey mom.”
It’s now the third of July 2009. It’s been eleven months since the nation has been introduced to the Alaskan governor. In those eleven months she’s gone from being governor of a few dozen people and ice to the half the nation’s dumb-as-a-stump heroine, rallying the masses with cries of “drill, baby, drill” while extolling the virtues of animal cruelty and the necessities of spending over a hundred thousand dollars on a wardrobe at Neimen Marcus. Well, it’s on this day, the third of July, one day prior to the birthday of our great nation, that she has decided to announce her resignation from office (to which the Alaskan people let out a sigh of relief).
Just over a year later, in November of 2010, Sarah Palin and five million others are tuning into the premier of her reality television show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Proudly strutting about in the wilderness with a rifle on her shoulder, Palin inserts her manicured finger into the trigger and fires off a round, taking down an innocent caribou. How, my esteemed friends and colleagues, is this a woman who could possibly have the intelligence, maturity, and responsibility to be an adult in modern society? By means of age, yes, the forty-seven year old is far into adulthood – hell, she’s so far into her life she’s nearing middle age. But by maturity and responsibility – well, let’s just say it can’t be over seventeen. By the way, is she still a politician or has she slid down into our aforementioned “empty-headed reality television star” category? I’m having trouble calling her a politician, as much as I dislike the majority of politicians, I still feel it’s an insult to them to categorize her as such.
But moving away from Miss Palin, Miss Handler, and all of our other on air, airheads. I was recently watching a recap of the life of the Haitian people one year after an earthquake devastated their homeland and I was shocked at the monumental difference between their society and ours. I happened to be watching with a friend and I just looked at him, speechless. Here is a society where teenagers, kids even younger than me, are taking care of entire families – sometimes having to care for six, seven, even eight children all on their own. Their parents were killed or died of a disease and with no other choice they stepped up and took on the responsibility and role of the adult.
Most kids my age in the United States wouldn’t have a clue where to start – if I had siblings and was suddenly required to step up and take them under my wing, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what to do or where to start. As I watched, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I made notes and put them side by side with the behavior I’ve witnessed from our airheads and the contrast was beyond shocking. Here were teenagers, sometimes juveniles even younger, that were more mature and more responsible than a thirty-five year old, even more responsible than a forty-seven year old. That says a hell of a lot about the people of this country. It says a hell of a lot about how we’ve gone wrong and how much we need to improve. You can be young at any age, whether it be nineteen or ninety – unfortunately we can be immature at any age as well. Is there an age at which we’re mature enough and responsible enough to assume the role of an adult?
Well, here I am, at the end of my rant, and I still haven’t arrived at a definite answer. The truth of the matter is that there is no definite answer. There will always be the Chelsea Handlers and Sarah Palins of the world – but as they say, it takes all kinds.
I’m just upset that I have to see them splashed across my television and in every tabloid I open.