I have heard of the “snowflake generation,” but, on some level, thought the idea of grown men and women unable to tolerate anything outside their “comfort zone” without crumbling to dust, was a clever, media-derived sound-bite thing.
However, I recently had an encounter with one of the not-so-mythical creatures and it was an eye-opening and frankly frightening commentary on what’s become of America’s youth.
First, let me say, that I am a middle aged woman (assuming I live to 120 or so) and stand about 5 foot 2, on a good day.
This becomes relevant later — believe me.
So, the other day, I was driving through my city and noticed a local eatery had changed hands, and now produced a new ethnic cuisine. So, as the local paper’s business reporter, I stopped in to see if I might write a feature story on the new business.
I parked myself in line behind (well, technically beside, due to the layout of the counter) a man who looked to be in his 20s, who was at the register, speaking to a man I assumed was the owner of the establishment.
At one point, when it appeared their immediate business might have been concluded, the man behind the counter turned to me with a questioning expression, so I introduced myself as the paper’s business reporter, and my purpose as discussing the possibility of an article about his business.
At this point, the fully grown man in front of me — who is probably about the age of my sons — wheeled on me and declared that he was placing an order right then, and I was “just going to have to wait.”
Rude, but, what the heck, right?
So, wait, I did.
But three seconds didn’t elapse before this young man rounded on me again, this time declaring that I needed to back away or leave the premises because I was making him “uncomfortable.”
This is evidently a “man” with an exceedingly low comfort-level threshold.
“I’m OK where I am,” I said.
So, the little dweeb whipped out his cell phone, like it was a weapon — which, I guess it was, in a way — shoved it in my face, and said, “you think you’re OK where you are?! I’m going to call the police!”
Had I not been so flabbergasted, I might have burst out laughing, from the mental image of the cops’ reaction to this “man” telling them that a little old lady was intimidating him by standing too close to him in line.
I should have said something like, “ooh, sorry, cupcake, I promise not to hurt you,” or some such thing, but, like I said, I was flabbergasted, and, basically stricken speechless — a very rare state for me.
The man behind the counter, at that point, said something to the twerp in Spanish, which I took to be along the lines of, “Dude! Chill out,” which he did, retreating to a table to await his order.
I had my brief conversation with the owner and set an appointment for a later meeting and I left. But I was disturbed by the incident — one of the strangest encounters of my entire life, and it bothered me all the rest of the day.
I related it to a good friend, who suggested it was the fact that I’m a reporter that set this poor little snowflake off. Or, maybe a sense that, judging from my skin color, I must be a person of “white privilege.” I’m Jewish, though, which, in my opinion, sends the whole idea of “white privilege” — a clear case of prejudging a book entirely by its cover — directly into the dustbin of politically correct history.
My son, on the other hand, thought it was funny, and said I should have called him so he could “beat the guy up for messing with you,” a suggestion I’m reasonably certain was said at least half joking.
But, the whole thing got me thinking about the state of the youth in this country.
I mean, if a grown man is made to feel so “uncomfortable” by someone who a normal person would not consider intimidating, that he’d resort to guerrilla cell-phone video-ing tactics, then, there is little hope for his generation. And that means, there is little hope for the country.
I’ve heard that under certain stressful situations — like an unpopular election result — some college kids, enabled by their coddling professors, demand coloring books and hot cocoa, served in “safe spaces,” where no one is allowed to say anything that might hurt anyone’s feelings.
These people would not have lasted five minutes in World War II, or the Great Depression, or on my elementary school playground, for that matter.
We’d better hope another large armed conflict never develops again, because the “greatest generation” — men and women of my parents’ age — are nearly gone, and this generation of milquetoast, crybabies would fold in an instant.
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