Thursday, April 26, 2012

Through the Looking Glass

Sometime during the past 20 years I must have stepped through the looking glass. You know, into that place where things are just a tad unbalanced and up is actually down.

Life used to make sense. Children behaved and did as they were told. I believe that was considered as "normal." Behavior seems to have changed since the 1970s and not necessarily for the better. These changes which didn't occur over night and when you line them up for closer inspection, it's all a bit startling.

My uncle was the only person in my childhood who had a tattoo. It was leftover from World War II, a Navy insignia built around an anchor. By the time I noticed it, the words were already elongated and the red and blue appeared blended. As he aged, it became harder to make out the design and it looked as though his arm was decorated with a purple vine.

According to a recent poll, today one fourth of all people have tattoos. I always thought tattooing was silly and usually ugly. A friend of mine says that you can pierce anything you want to but when you get a tattoo, you have made a lifestyle choice. Just remember that tattooing is usually FOREVER and even removal is difficult and costly. Kids who get tattoos should keep in mind that a tattoo -- even one you might really like -- should at least be positioned so that clothing can cover it.

Teen-age Motherhood
When I was in high school, girls who became pregnant were not allowed to remain in school. That's probably difficult for today's teens to imagine, since many schools not only allow pregnant girls, but help them get their diplomas and offer classes in mothering. That helps the girls get through school. But what the heck happened?

In my teen years, I was no angel, but there was a controlling reason to "behave" within limits -- fear of what my father would do. Perhaps parents today are so wrapped up in their own lives that they appear to "let the chips fall where they may." That's a little hard to believe. Birth control and abstinence are out there and readily available. Having a little baby may sound like fun, but I pity both the young mother and the child. They are headed for a rough road. Perhaps a little more parental guidance is required.

"Oh, I Have a Record"
"I served some time" seems to be an acceptable phrase today. When did this become small talk? In the 1970s, the worst thing I ever heard anyone do was try to avoid getting drafted. How can we have slipped so far from the acceptable standard of behavior?

A friend of mine was at a job where the employer was looking to hire. Of the dozen or so men who applied, over half had served time in prison. There was no hesitancy on the part of the applicants to discuss the subject either. I recall a scene in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption." Tim Robbins is a new inmate and when he is asked by another prisoner what he had done to be in prison, he said, "I didn't do anything." That's what all the other inmates said, too. Funny how no one is really guilty of anything. What about personal responsibility?

I have to wonder what makes a society accept matters which a few years ago would have been at least awkward. My attitude may reflect a generational hang-up. Or it may be that we have lowered our standards.

No comments:

Post a Comment