Dear Mr. Judge Man,
I’ve just recently turned twenty years old, and exited those precious teenage years of which you speak. I’m quite the bum, you see. I was quite the teenager too, and I once asked ridiculous questions like “what can we do, where can we go?” And I’m still asking them. We’re all becoming adults now, but we haven’t changed much. Your answers to those supposed questions have left me feeling a bit guilty. So let me just apologize on behalf of my generation:
I’m sorry, but we don’t have anywhere to go, or anything to do. We would do them if we did.
I’m sorry we probably won’t have homes with picket fences like you do, with windows to wash and lawns to mow.
I’m sorry we probably won’t share that house with a spouse, male or female, because your generation hasn’t exactly shown us what marital bliss is like, and you haven’t allowed homosexuals theirs.
I’m sorry you don’t have any Mexicans to mow your lawn, or wash your windows, and you can’t decide whether or not to let them stay or kick them out.
I’m sorry we don’t want to build rafts to play on because the waters to ride it in are too polluted, and you won’t let us go in them anyway. I’m sorry our parents were too afraid to let us play in the streets alone, or stay out after dark, or ride our bikes without helmets, or walk to a friend’s house. I’m sorry we couldn’t have fun. I’m sorry for complaining, because you don’t owe us fun at all.
I’m sorry if we’re not interested in going to school and learning how to fake tests to prove we’re capable to everyone but ourselves. I’m sorry if we don’t want to go home and read a book when we can read a blog. I’m especially sorry that you sometimes don’t want to teach us about sex, or drugs, then you don’t like it when we figure them out for ourselves.
I’m sorry if we don’t want to visit the sick, who can’t afford health care, or just don’t have it. I’m sorry if we have a tough time taking care of you when you’re old, but you sure haven’t lived very healthily or done yourself many favors.
I’m sorry we can’t find a job, and that it’s not the summer of ‘69, when the earth was a little less dry and the corn grew a little bit higher, and most farmers could afford a little bit of help. We’re especially sorry that gas isn’t under a dollar a gallon.
I’m very sorry that there are no jobs for our generation because yours won’t relinquish theirs, so that your retirement will be secure. I’m sorry we all went to college and we won’t have jobs to show for it, and that’s something we should never be sorry for.
I’m sorry that the world was ripe and fruitful for you, and dry and barren for us.
I’m sorry that you’re not keen on the poor, and that you don’t help the sick, and that you’ve started so many wars. You have made the world a lonely place.
I’m sorry that you clearly didn’t think that the world owed you anything; you put us in debt that you want us to pay.
I’m sorry that we’re cry babies, and that we’ve learned that it’s okay to feel angry, and to complain about the world, even when there isn’t much you let us do about it.
I’m sorry we’re irresponsible. But most of all, we’re sorry we learned that from you: from your melting ice-caps and rising seas; your obese bodies and your failing hearts; your wars and murders; your corporate bailouts and failing economy.
I’m sorry you don’t make us feel like we are important enough, or that we’re needed. I’m sorry we don’t vote because there is so little yet to vote for, and so few who feel we are more than nothings and our voices more than whispers.
I’m sorry we’re in a dream world, and that we dare to dream, and that we have dreams for a world that doesn’t concur with yours.
I’m sorry it seems like we aren’t doing anything, but we are. We’re doing one thing, and one thing only, and that is making sure we don’t do things the way you did them.
Wow. In retrospect, I don’t think I’m sorry for asking those questions at all, Mr. Judge Man. And I guess your answers don’t really make sense, because when you were in a rush to do something before, you left somebody to clean up your mess someday, and that someday is now and that somebody is us.
So excuse us if we have to do things a bit differently and take a bit more time to get our act together. After all, only we can answer “what can we do, where can we go?” and it’s just too bad if you don’t like what we do and where it is we go. Because we sure don’t like what you did or were you’ve taken us, and we’ll be damned if we do the same. And that’s just what it sounds like you want us to do.
I’m sorry that, in the end, I’m not all that sorry for being an insolent teenager.