The Youth of Today
The teenagers in the house opposite are hanging out of their bedroom window puffing on a fag. At last, teenagers behaving like teenagers.
History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse. Teenagers started badly and should be steadily getting worse - but they're not. In fact, they are a huge disappointment. And considering they didn't even exist as a group until the 1940s, they've fizzled out remarkably quickly.
We have given them every opportunity to become angry, dissolute and rebellious. We have saddled them with debt, abolished free university education, and made their qualifications all but worthless. We have closed youth clubs in their thousands. We have stopped them razzing round on scooters and descending on seaside towns en masse. We have colonised their music and used it to advertise mobile phone networks. We have stolen their clothes and their clumpy great training shoes with sensible soles and room for their toes to grow. Any bizarre haircut they invent, we are but a scissor-snip away in imitation.
Media headlines proclaim our ephebiphobia: gangs, knifes, rainbow parties (of very doubtful provenance) - the little sods won't even give up their bus seats for their elders (and obviously betters). We provoke and provoke and provoke. Their response? A shrug of the shoulders and a mumbled Whatever.
We've banned marbles (a choking hazard), skipping ropes (a strangling hazard), Top Trumps (potential for RSI injuries), rubber balls (they might become MPs and move onto oranges). We have ensured that every school playground in the country is full of children standing about with nothing to do - ready to become bored, destructive teenagers.
And what happens? Have they taken to manning barricades? No. Have they arranged convoys of caravans and raves in Stonehenge? No. Have they invented ways of tuning in and dropping out? No. The only drug they've come up with is a plant food. Let's get high on Baby Bio? At least your foliage will have a healthy shine. They've got smart phones and crack cocaine. We made do with a tin on a string and a Sherbet Dib-Dab. Yet still they refuse to rise.
The Youth of Today's acme of rebellion is wearing a hood.
One word: monks. Not so rebellious now, is it?
Besides which, we all know they wear hoods to hide their acne (with an N) and to keep their ears warm, and because they're having a bad hair day (which is every day of your life from 13 years onwards unless you are Ross Kemp).
They wear hoods because they own anoraks and all anoraks come with a hood - damn Brussels and their Directives - and their mas tell them, "That coat cost me £29.99 and you will blimmin' well get your money's worth out of every bit of fabric. Put your hands in those pockets! They're not just for show, you know."
And The Youth of Today
Does everything his ma says.