Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Some unavoidable eavesdropping, and kids these days

I wasn't intending to listen in, but that's what happens when you're trapped in a supermarket, waiting on someone who's blocking the aisle and picking through cans of soup while jabbering on her cell phone about someone else's latest indiscretion.

"Go for the chicken noodle and move on already," is what I want to say. But I don't, because patience is a virtue and the conversation has suddenly become more intriguing.

The indiscretion, evidently, was a doozy.

I am an accidental eavesdropper, so why not just go with the flow, I figure. Particularly when I'm sitting at a stoplight listening to the young people in the next car dropping F-bombs in formidable fashion.

It's amazing how many obscenities can be fit into one complete sentence. Un-blank-ing believable, in fact.

But that's not nearly as pleasant as the two elderly women at the blood-drawing lab who were chatting about how the waiting room was way too chilly and, "Can you believe the price of gas?" Before long they were trading stories about the Great Depression and lamenting about how the kids these days have no idea.

I was born well after the Great Depression so I have none of those memories to share. But my parents and grandparents lived through it, so I'm well-versed in hard-luck stories and the clever ways they learned how to make do.

I know how the cold can get to you, especially after discovering that my stiffening fingers and aching hips can predict a subtle drop in barometric pressure or the arrival of a sweeping cold front.

Pumping gas irks me, too, as I try to figure out how I'm going to stretch my shrinking paycheck to cover the rising cost of that and just about everything else.

And yes, there are times when I grumble about the kids these days and how they have no idea.

But youthful abandon has its place on the human growth chart. And isn't it a parent's wish, after all, that the quality of their children's lives be better than their own?

So why lament that it is?

Even so, I've got a feeling that their time is coming.

Payment will come due for the trillion or so that is being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Add to that the stimulus package and the bailouts for Wall Street and American automobile companies with the exception, of course, of the Ford Motor Co. This week's "bright spot" posted a third-quarter, $1 billion profit after benefiting from the "Cash for Clunkers" program and some cost-cutting methods that included slashing 5,000 jobs. And by the way, they're still billions of dollars in debt.

Then comes the release of a study showing that at one time or another, half of American children will live in households that are subsidized by food stamps. That number increases to 90 percent for African-American children, according to the sociologists from Washington University and Cornell University who conducted the study. Given the recession and the current economic outlook they say it could very well end up being even worse than that.

And the kids these days — they have no idea.

Michele Miller can be reached at [email protected] or at (727) 869-6251.

Some unavoidable eavesdropping, and kids these days 11/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2009 8:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Four-time Iditarod champ implicated in dog doping case, pulls out of 2018 race

    Sports

    A doping scandal has rocked yet another sport — this time, the competition that calls itself the "Last Great Race on Earth" — the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

    Dallas Seavey poses with his lead dogs Reef, left, and Tide after finishing the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, in March 2016. Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey denies he administered banned drugs to his dogs in this year's race, and has withdrawn from the 2018 race in protest. The Iditarod Trail Committee on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, identified Seavey as the musher who had four dogs test positive for a banned opioid pain reliever after finishing the race last March in Nome. [Associated Press]
  2. Kriseman calls on national Democrats in final push for St. Pete mayor's race

    Blogs

    Days before the Aug. 29 mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman snagged a rarely-given endorsement from former president Barack Obama, backing that may have helped push the mayor to a narrow victory over Rick Baker.

  3. Police: Clearwater man attempted to rob Largo Speedway with knife

    Crime

    LARGO — A Clearwater man is facing multiple charges after police say he tried to rob a Speedway store with a knife early Tuesday morning.

    Geoffrey Davis, 31, faces a charge of armed robbery after Largo police said he attempted to steal items from a Speedway at 2698 Roosevelt Blvd. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. From the food editor: Shout out to my husband, the world's least picky eater, with this bowl of pappardelle

    Cooking

    Oh, hello, end of October. When the heck did you get here?

    Pappardelle with Cream Sauce and Mint. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  5. Bucs: Quick and easy fixes for what ails Tampa Bay?

    Bucs

    The Bucs are 2-4 and have lost five straight road games, so there's plenty to fix. What's the quickest and easiest fix for coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay? The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in:

    PLAY A COMPLETE GAME

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]