Every day as I'm driving away from school, I think about the blog I'm going to write someday about how my students only recognize an event as having happened if they filmed it with their camera phone. After tutoring today, I stood outside in the February wind with one of my students who told me that he and his friends are making a "Mid-School Jackass" which made me laugh. He told me about how they broke a tile over another kid's head, and it was hilarious, "but it didn't count, 'cause we didn't get it on film." Recently I've had students beg me to allow them to bring out their phones to show me films of them jumping over walls, falling off piles of ice, and even barfing. For the record, no, I do not want to watch a video of you barfing.
Someday I'll write a blog in which I ponder the meaning of this cultural shift: when we were kids, we did stupid things, but we kept them in our memories, not in our phones. Some of my favorite moments with Ali involve random acts of embarassment, but none of them are caught on film. Would my memory of her falling off of Darby Gym be different if mediated through the lens of a camera phone? Would our famous New York rest stop coffee coolatta fight of 2001 have reached the heights of stickiness and hilarity it did if one of us had to stop to film it? And is this complaint, this "Oh the youtube generation..." diatribe just another rant of Old vs Young, Us vs Them, Lame vs Awesome? No different from the hundreds of senior classes of Grinnellians complaining that the freshman classes are SO conservative this year! They're not Grinnellians at all! et cetera.... Is it just that? Am I old?
This blog, I assure you, will be thoughtful and poignant and hilarious. It will delve deeply into the collective psyche of Young America, their foibles and their faux memories. It will get at the very fabric of existence of which we are all a part, eternally creating and dividing and attempting to control.
It will blow your mind. You'll be thinking about it for days.
...when I get around to writing it. It's just that I've been so tired lately! Why don't they do a 10:00 newscast at 7:30? And my arthritis has been bothering me lately. These fingers can't type the way they once could. Sometimes I can hardly hold the pen to keep up my daily fiber intake diary. The effort it takes to stay regular! I tell you what.
But I'm not old!
(and speaking of old... happy birthday, natalie!)