Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I want to talk a bit about Scary Stuff---and perspective.

More and and more I'm struck by the young people of today, especially the college-age students, who seem to feel entitled to a perfect life---or else! We hear terms like "micro-aggressions" and "triggers" and the need for friends and professors and all of society to be aware of how they are damaging the feelings of too many young people.

Part of this attitude, I suspect, comes from the narcissism of our times, the need to feel important, the center of one's own universe---and the rest of the world be damned. Part of it comes from the Grievance Industry, which has encouraged too many people to think they have a right to feel offended, to complain about even the smallest things and expect redress. (Talk about the Tyranny of the Minority!)

And of course the legal profession has encouraged this, bringing lawsuits over trivia and knowing that big companies would rather settle than go to the bother of a trial, which only encourages MORE lawsuits over imagined offenses.

And so young people must be protected from topics that "scare" them, that make them feel like outsiders, that make them demand "safe spaces" on campus. Dear Heaven! I knew that we had descended into an adolescent culture in the last few decades (most of the "big" movies that make money are comic strips! Ye gods!).

But what's happening now, in too many schools (with too many teachers and professors who came of age in the '60s and '70s, and thus never grew up themselves) amounts to babyhood, not adolescence!

Scared of hearing opposing political viewpoints that might upset your preconceived notions, children? Boycott the speaker, of course! Scared of reading about assault in a classic novel because you were once assaulted? Bring charges against the professor, naturally! Scared of hearing negative things about someone in your class/race/sex that is upsetting? Throw a Pity Party, take to the streets and demand redress! Doesn't everyone?

Let me give you a few genuinely scary stories. Some are mine, some are friends or family.

Scary is feeling sorry for yourself because you lost a baby, then speaking to a friend who lost three babies in a row through SIDs. (It's a real wake-up call, and squashes the self-pity in a hurry!)

Scary is having school friends who were coming back from England, and hearing that the plane crashed in Lockerbie, then waiting in terror to find out how many of your dear friends were on the flight. (Two, who were lost, and one who blessedly didn't board at the last minute.)

Scary is hearing about the Boston Marathon bombing, and knowing your son and daughter-in-law were there, then holding your breath for long minutes until you could find out they were safe.

Scary is hearing about the knife attacks at OSU, and knowing your grandson is at that school. Scary is waiting for the email from your son telling you the kid is okay.

Scary is having someone on the downward subway escalator just in front of you, who has a large bag that gets caught on the bottom and can't be pulled off right away. As the escalator keeps moving, people knock you over, step over you, push you down. Scary is thinking you're going to be trampled to death.

Scary is being at a large social gathering, with lots of noise and crowds of people, and suddenly choking on a dry piece of meat, and knowing with certainty that you are going to choke to death. And being saved at the last minute by someone who spots your distress and does the Heimlich.

Scary is carrying a baby for 9 months (before sophisticated procedures that could answer pre-birth questions), knowing that you'd already had a baby who died, and fearing the baby you are carrying will also die.

Scary is seeing the live footage from 9/11 and spotting a friend running away from the Border's store where she worked, and not knowing if she survived.

Scary is being an Army wife in Germany in the 1950s, during the Hungarian crisis, when it was feared that the Russian Army could sweep across the border into Germany. Scary is being called into the Army post and told how to evacuate into France. And forget about your husbands, because they were cannon fodder, only expected to hold back the superior Russian Army for 48 hours. And then they were on their own.

Scary is living through wartime, with the draft, and not knowing if your Daddy would be drafted.

Scary is waiting for the call from the hospital, where your mother was in surgery for nine hours, and dreading the inevitable call that said she was gone.

NOT scary is hearing words that disturb your fragile psyche! If you're that sensitive, you don't need understanding from others---you need a good therapist!

But stop expecting the world to bend to your whining. Roll with the punches, grow up and stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Maybe I should have  titled this entry "Boo-Hoo" for the babies---far too many of them---that are part of the Millennial generation.


  1. Amen, Mom! And I would add: Scary is watching World Trade Center fall down before you (with ash and fluttering papers falling in your neighborhood)....and spending eight hours fairly certain your father is likely dead (until you get his call at 6pm).

  2. I love this, Sylvia: "Scared of hearing opposing political viewpoints that might upset your preconceived notions, children?" I suspect this is amplified by the fact that most people--not just millenials, alas--now read all their news on the internet. So we only listen to those voices we want to hear.

    Can anyone say "political polarization?"

  3. And half the time they don't even KNOW the news, Lisa. I can scarcely keep from gagging in disgust when I see those "Man-on-the-Street" interviews on TV---especially on Ivy League campuses or with college kids in general. And they are the EDUCATED ones among us? They don't know diddly squat, and don't seem to care. (See my take on this in my blog entry, COTTON-CANDY KIDS.)

  4. Scary is knowing Sylvia is right and there's nothing you can do to prevent this entitlement situation but work with your own children and hope for the best. I dub thee the Sage of Forest Hills.

  5. Thanks, oh Queen Irene! And how the hell are you?

  6. Well said. I think it's good to have our children be a little afraid of us too. It keeps them smart.

  7. Thanks, and hi there, Donna!

  8. I've checked your blog like you'd said to me.