January 3, 2008

Young, Dumb, and Full of Bud

After a small discovery I made on my home computer the other night, I now seriously doubt the future of our society. It seems that young people today are indeed...stupid.

My neighbor across the street is a hard working man who was laid off from three companies in three years and recently started working again. His wife is chronically ill with a debilitating disease for which there is no cure, and they are both working hard at their jobs to make enough money to raise their three children. Life is difficult; but, my buddy maintains that “Things can only get better.”

Introduce the oldest of their children, a teenager of seventeen who is also his father’s namesake. Just before the New Year, my friend came to me and told me that his computer was “having problems.” My neighbor is the type of guy who’d drop anything he was doing and help me if he thought I needed it. In fact, he recently replaced a bathroom door for me because there is no way in Hell that I’d be able to do it myself. I was absent that day in elementary school when the teachers took all the boys into the auditorium and showed them what tools looked like and how to use them. The irony is that I’m able to work in the Information Technology field but I can’t nail two boards together.

With that said I agreed to take his computer home and fix it so I could re-install the operating system and all of the programs and drivers at my leisure. I lent him one of my older desktop PCs for him and his family to use while his was “in the shop.” A few days later I fixed his computer and then hooked it back up it at his home; then returned to my house with my old machine. Before I put it back online on my home network, I wanted to boot this old computer up and see what damage his kids did to it and scan it for viruses and spy ware, etc. That’s when I made the discovery which caused me to doubt my faith in humanity.

One of the new bookmarks I discovered in Firefox was the MySpace page for his eldest son in the kid’s real name. He didn’t have the good sense to make up a something like “kewldoodx35” or anything like that. The page has his full name on it. Of course I checked his page out. There were the requisite dorky photos of him trying to look cool and icons of all his nerdy friends and some teeny-bopper girls who somehow associated themselves with him. Then, I noticed the “Videos” section of his page, featuring two homemade movies appropriately titled “House Beer Party I” and “House Beer Party II.”

These masterpieces were shot entirely on location in his parent’s den, obviously when they weren’t home. Starring in these productions his dorky MySpace friends. At least two of them were clearly intoxicated. I was stunned, not because I found it difficult to believe that a teen aged boy and his pals were drinking beer. No. I absolutely could not accept he would be stupid enough to:

A)Publish on the Internet under his real name.
B)Show movies on the Internet of him and his friends drinking in his own home.
C)Bookmark the page showing all of this incriminating evidence on MY COMPUTER! Wow.

Does this dopey kid realize that the parents of the other children can watch these videos and then sue his parents? Forget the fact that he shouldn't be drinking in the first place.

I am considering telling the father. This level of stupidity is too caustic to go unchecked. He’s liable to do something else stupid like go shoplifting and ask for a receipt in case he wants to return what he stole, or go drag racing in the parking lot of the local police precinct. If I drove past the school yard and caught a glimpse of him and his entourage swilling beers and trying to be low-key about it, I’d consider pretending that I didn’t notice anything for like, maybe a day, and then I’d tell his father. This act of stupidity is so bold it’s almost like he’s screaming to get caught; or, he thinks I’m the cool neighbor who won’t say anything. If my neighbor had this kind of info about my kid and didn’t tell me I’d be fuming mad. So, I am going to call him tonight and inform of my discovery. I’m only annoyed that I have to get involved in his family business at this level. I’m sure my friend doesn’t need the world to know, including me, what sort of problems he’s having with his son.

My only question is a matter of etiquette. If my neighbor murders his son, do I get him a sympathy card or help him find and attorney?

Author's Note: I spoke with my boss (I mean my wife) and she told me to mind my own business and not to tell my neighbor as he has to "raise his own kids." After careful consideration, I decided that I would lay off and pretend that I never saw the videos. I like the father and I don't want to risk bad blood between the two of us if he thinks I'm meddling.

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