Dear 50-year-old Me,
This may seem strange, but I'm writing to offer you a little perspective and wisdom. I know people generally wish they could write letters to their younger selves, imparting all the knowledge they've accrued through life, but here's the thing: I don't believe that knowledge only builds in one direction. I suspect, in fact, that you may be an idiot. I'm sending this letter the opposite direction through time because I want you to be a better person, so let's get into it.
By now you probably know that teenagers are terrible. Teachers, televisions, other parents and newspapers have all confirmed as much. The only people insisting otherwise are the teenagers themselves, and that's exactly what you'd expect those drug-crazed, evil hunks of greasy sexuality to say.
They can't be trusted.
Of course, you were a teenager once too, but not like this. Never like the current model. You were an eager and optimistic kid with a good head on his shoulders. But these teenagers are governed by something wholly different than intelligence, they are driven by impulse only. They run on the toxic fumes of burning hormones and gas station nachos. They swarm the streets even on school nights, huddling into their pulsing cliques, perpetuating one another's cruelty and confused sexuality while hopped up on bath salts and Internet. If they weren't the core demographic for horror flicks, there would be no need for beasts like vampires and zombies, there would only be teenage monsters haunting everyone, ruining everything.
All of that sound right so far?
No! That was a trick! Listen, Soren. There's something important I have to say about all those teenagers, about your teenagers, and you aren't going to want to hear it. Partially because it will ruin your concept of good parenting and partially because it starts with a description of rectal beer bongs. So steel yourself, we have to talk.
What's a Rectal Beer Bong?
A rectal beer bong is a craze among teens in the early 2000s. It requires a length of plastic tubing, a funnel and a butt hole. The idea is that teens cram the tubes in their own rectums, intentionally, then pound beer after beer with their asses in what everyone is calling "Butt Chugging." No one can point to a single instance of it actually occurring, but we all just know that teens are doing it across America. We just know it.
You may have also noticed that the video clip above describes vodka tampons which are equally as unbelievable, and that's exactly why I bring these news segments up. The fact that butt chugging and vodka tampon-ing, at their core, are unbelievable is an important point to remember. They are unbelievable because they aren't actually happening. You'll notice that in all of the news coverage, the headlines never read "Partiers Using Vodka Tampons and Beer Enemas to Get Drunk." It is without fail, only about "teens" because just mentioning the word shuts down everyone's bullshit detectors. As far as we know, teens are crazy. Of course they are cramming 151 up their vaginas, they're monsters.
Look at them. God knows what's in their vaginas right now.
And while it's possible that a teenager somewhere in the world tried these methods, this bizarre form of genital drinking is nowhere near the epidemic it's made out to be. At least, it wasn't before the news started teaching everyone how to do it. These stories spread like wildfire through the media because inciting panic is profitable for news outlets, but more importantly, because adults want to believe they're true.
This is where things get ugly for you, future me.
You're part of that constituency that wants these completely ludicrous stories about teenagers to be real. There's probably a similar story in your time about teens getting high by rubbing fermented breast milk in their eyes or something, and you're ready to believe it. You want to believe it because there is a part of you that is hunting for a motive to be afraid of teens, even your teens, and that part of you is not interested in reason or logic. I just want you to understand why that is so that you can overcome it. Naturally, facts and explanations won't do much to sway you, but I'm hoping that by writing this down now, you will remember it all in the future and realize why your hostility toward teens is making you an idiot and a bad person.
The Next Generation Is a Reminder of Your Irrelevance.
It's natural for you to be uneasy about youth. On the basest of levels, a young up-and-coming generation is a testament to your own growing insignificance. The animosity you feel toward teenagers is the same animosity old people feel toward technology; both represent an end to your relevance on Earth. It's only logical you would want to find faults in their new systems, proving you're still necessary in relation to the world. If that sounds off base, just look at the "dangerous craze" among teens in my day.
The media panic around I-Dosing is a desperate strike at two things adults don't quite understand and privately despise: Teenagers and technology. The preposterous idea of downloading drugs and getting high listening to a dial tone reeks of ignorance and fear. Everyone is willing to believe it because they aren't entirely sure what teenagers or the Internet are capable of. The news coverage just satisfies the urge adults have to poke holes in teenage and electronic culture at the same time. It feels good to believe this is happening because it allows everyone to point to the evils of both kids and the Internet while saying, "You see, they still need us! Our way was right all along!"
But even beneath that desire to protect and to matter to kids is an emotion that's less sincere, that's more petty and selfish than fear. Jealousy.
"People mistake us for sisters all the time, don't they? DON'T THEY."
This will be the hardest to acknowledge, future Soren, because it will change the way you look at your hypothetical kids: You're jealous. In each teenager there is potential and opportunity to achieve what you couldn't, not just in terms of affecting the world but in every quadrant of life, even sexuality ...