What’s with kids these days?

by | Jul 4, 2003 | Notes while surfing

Not long ago, after browsing a bunch of old family photographs, my son asked his grandparents what life was like when everything was black and white. Angry about the onslaught of laughter, he didn’t wait around for the explanation that the film was black and white, not everything else.
Excuse me for sounding like an old geezer, but what’s with kids these days? Are they smarter, bolder, ruder, or what? It occurs to me that kids today question everything… unlike my childhood days when it was infinitely more safe to “shut up and do as you’re told.” When I was a kid, I never questioned the idle threat of a frustrated mother. “If you don’t stop I’ll knock you into the middle of next week!” But my son will. He’ll ask how that’s possible unless I’ve got a time machine hidden somewhere.
I can remember my mother’s old standby saying, “Go look it up,” meaning of course to check the dictionary or encyclopedia. But, I was floored when my son told me to “go look it up,” after I told him that “Ain’t ain’t a word.” Whelp, he was right. It is in the dictionary so it is a word after all. I wouldn’t say that my parents were from the South (they’re several generations removed), but their language was nearly as colorful as Jeff Foxworthy’s was, which was sometimes very embarrassing. “Mow the grass, it’s taller than a Chinaman’s arse.” Hoping none of my playmates, were within earshot, I’d quickly get to the task at hand. Put that phrase to my son and he’ll probably discuss how the height proportions differ for various ethnic groups. Then there’s the phrase “like shooting fish in a barrel,” which of course meant something was pretty darn easy, but my son will ask why they put fish in a barrel or why someone would want to shoot fish. My parents had phrases with roots beyond my grasp, but they seemed to make sense. Some of the phrases I’ve heard include:

…Two shakes of a sheep’s tail

…Ya got an axe to grind?

…Happy as soap on a rope

…Butter my butt and call me a biscuit

…Have a cup of coffee. It’s already been saucered and blowed

…I’ll slap you so hard, your clothes will be outta style

…Put on yer goin’ta meetin’ clothes

…Rolls off you like water off a duck’s back

…Don’t rain on my parade

…I’ve got some work to do at the woodpile

…You’d argue with a fence post!

…Like a chicken with its head cut off!

…Gives me the heebies

…Puttin on airs

…Just look at yourself

…Surer than a two-headed nickel
I too am guilty of using phrases that draw blank stares from those younger than I. For instance, recently I described something as better than an E-ticket at Disneyland. This statement made no sense to the younguns whose parents pay only one price for general admission.
All this brings me to the point that the culture in which I was raised compares to the culture of my son as if we were reared in entirely different lands. Speaking of different lands, Steve mentioned the Greek saying, “A fish smells from the head,” meaning that the leaders of an organization are usually the cause of its problems. I suppose there’s something good about my son’s ability to question phrases that I’d accepted on face value. One of the stories recently submitted to Heycuz’s Newsgroup by Martha Barnhill Peach made me chuckle when an old clipping “The History of Craigfield, Williamson Co., TN” described some mechanism as similar to “the mule driven equipment which makes the sorghum.” Thanks, now I know exactly what you’re talking about – NOT.
Share the Wealth
While updating indexes to the Share the Wealth section of our site, I was reading some of the extractions and noticed odd phrases and terms. For instance, in the deeds area, which includes many new submissions thanks to Sylvia Lane, Virginia Greene, Opal Hayes and Wava Tory Boyd, land was described by poles, links or chains. In marriages, which also has a huge amount of new submissions thanks to Wayne Bradford and Virginia Greene, wedding terms include bonds and bans. At any rate, new items have been added to Deeds, Bibles, Births, Deaths, Marriages, Military and Pensions, Letters, Census and Taxes, Cemeteries, Histories… in short just about every section of Share the Wealth and I am slowly getting around to adding them to the indexes. I want to thank everyone for their submissions. If I named everyone who submitted something in the last months I’d list practically every member of Heycuz. Thanks guys, you’re really great! I’ve also combined the extractions and scans and placed them all under the header, Share the Wealth. It was just becoming too difficult to find all the wonderful information contributed by our members.Color Color
In addition to the Indexes of Share the Wealth, I’ve added photographs submitted by Sylvia Lane, Robert Bryant, and Wanda Talbot to the The Family Album.
I’ve updated the Player Listings, because we have some new and valuable new cousins who have jumped right into our cause of celebrating the lives of our ancestors and sharing their research.
You may have also noticed that the look of the site has changed once again and that some features are missing. Ever since our webserver (freepages at rootsweb) was bought out by MyFamily.com the number of advertisements in the form of banner ads and pop up windows has trippled. Who knows what we have to look forward to now that Genealogy.com and MyFamily.com have merged. I shudder to think! But, since I cannot yet afford our own server. I’ve been told that it’ll cost me about $500 a year for a limited space. Our site is too huge for this option. Anyway, the massive amount of ads, wreaked havoc on visitors whose browsers would only load the search engine and no other links. Since the search engine only indexed a partial list of this site’s vast contents, it proved frustrating. At any rate, I had to simplify the whole site, getting rid of the extras of search engines, guest books, etc just so the web pages would load.
On a personal note
Many of you are aware that we’ve had some personal obstacles lately, including the deaths of Aunt Gayle Rennie, cousin Todd Adams, Great Aunt Talma (Buchanan) Hayes. There were days when I just wasn’t able to keep up with this column or with email. But, your prayers and kind words kept me going. In addition, I want to thank you for your continued prayers for our cousins who are going through some difficult times now including my Aunt Josephine Sullivan Davis and cousin Kelly DeVoll Robson, who are battling cancer. Please also remember Floyd Lynn Bradford, son of Johnie Clinton Bradford, who is in critical condition.


P. S., Did you miss the last column? Or want to read old, What’s New columns?