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Kids These Days TM

Today’s rant is on a phenomenon I like to refer to as Kids These Days, or KTDTM . KTDTM refers to the fact that most modern philosophers, thinkers, gurus, shaman, rabbis, priests, lamas, high school principals, and prophets have a tendency to state that things are worse than they’ve ever been, that people are more unethical, have worse values, talk to each other less, eat worse food, fornicate more, kick more puppies, and generally suck more than ever before in history. And the fun thing is at every point in history the KTDTM phenomenon has been along for the ride.

I don’t buy it. The world has changed technologically, yes. But I don’t think people evolve or devolve that quickly. It takes tens of thousands of years for species to develop, and I think human history is pretty damn cyclical. So you think civilization is collapsing because there’s a huge gap between the rich and poor (and this has never happened before)? French Revolution. Reign. Of. Terror. Look it up. My favorite sign of the impending apocolypse is the spawning of tons of mean-spirited reality shows about lame, stupid people. But the ancient Romans really came up with the whole bread and circuses, opiate of the masses thing.

Is technology and the infernal interweb ruining our ability to relate to each other and destroying the fabric of society? Consider what Mark Twain had to say about telecommunications in the year 1890:

“It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.”

Testify, M.T.

If gluttony (which we call the obesity epidemic), lust (promiscuity and the ensuing STDs), avarice (corporate greed), wrath (violent crime), pride (Paris Hilton), envy (coveting your neighbor’s BMW), and sloth (damned video games) are particular problems of the twenty-first (or twentieth, or nineteenth) century, why Dante know so much about them? The Buddhist-based book I talked about recently, Healing through the Dark Emotions started to piss me off for the same reason. If people are really especially escapist and immoral and without compassion in the modern era, why did the Buddha need to spend all that time under the bodhi tree figuring out how to let go of attachment and be compassionate and teach others what he discovered?

Could it be that the human condition has always been pretty much the same? That we suffer and feel joy, we cause pain and we feel compassion, and that perhaps we could learn from our history instead of negating it by claiming that everything is new and unique?

I tell you, Kids These Days TM just don’t know their history.

Travel Hell

I’m back from Belize, but before I continue with travel accounts and photos, let me say a not so brief word about the Ass that is American Airlines.

David and I ended up being two of those poor bastards stranded by the closure of DFW due to a rainstorm. Our itinerary was as follows:

12pm Leave hotel via taxi and go to tiny airport in San Pedro to take tiny plane.
1pm Tiny plane ride to Belize City
1-5 pm Wait for plane (scheduled 4:15) to Dallas Fort Worth
5-9 pm Fly to Dallas, circle Dallas for 1.5 hours, miss flight to Austin which was cancelled anyway
9-10:30pm Immigration, Customs, and a huge ass line to be told that we couldn’t be rescheduled until 9:45 the next morning, and that they wouldn’t pay for a hotel, but they could book one.
11:30pm Arrive at hotel (David went to sleep, I did a load of laundry and then dreamt that I couldn’t sleep all night, woke up at 5:30am on…

6:30am Taxi back to DFW
6:45-10:15 Waited in a huge fucking line to check our bags back in, because the morons who booked us on the flight the night before didn’t un-check our bags. Don’t ask.
10:15-12:30 Waited for our flight to Austin (scheduled for 9:45) to leave – it was grounded because the flight crew was delayed
1:15pm-2:30 Waited at the luggage carousel in Austin for our bags to arrive. They sent about 5 down at at time.
3:00 Got home, collapsed.

I figured we spent about 8 hours standing in lines over the last day and a half. American Airlines sucks beyond the telling of it. They were understaffed, under prepared, and largely unhelpful. I overheard a few employees talking, and they were pretty much as disgruntled as the passengers. I tell you, they are not at the top of my list of companies to work for, own stock in, or ever frequent again, if at all possible. I could add my complaint to the hundreds or thousands lodged in the last month, but the ineptitude and lack of accountability seems to be epidemic throughout the company, and as my studies in leadership over the past year have shown, probably starts at the top.

The frustration level of the crowds waiting in endless lines was palpable, even when I wasn’t consumed by my own. AA didn’t make announcements or give much personal attention to the people waiting, but security guards walked up and down, presumably for crowd control.

Honestly, it’s hard to write anything witty or even biting about this experience, it was so exhausting and irritating. I’m just thankful that David and I are home safe, and so is our luggage.

Next time, I’m renting a car in Dallas and driving the fuck home.