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March 3rd, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise, And Hope for the Future

Due, no doubt to my own advancing age, I have become rather disillusioned with the future of the world; especially with those coming behind me that will be responsible for its care once we are gone. As a rule, much more than an exception, young people and children today...disappoint me. What I see is a burgeoning generation of self-absorbed, inconsiderate little cretins. Not all of them, naturally - but a good enough number to cause concern.

I can't say I ever feel encouraged concerning the future when I take time to notice what's going on in the world of television, music, and the Internet. While there are certainly bright spots, the up and coming youth of our world have a decided lack of quality entertainment and brain food at their disposal. Education, also, is a failing institution in these United States and the results are all too painfully obvious. The celebs that young people today look up to and emulate make my stomach turn, and the accepted illiteracy with which they conduct themselves via spoken and written communication are appalling. Common courtesy and common sense have long been abandoned, and young people today spend the majority of their lives with a one ear in a cell phone, the other in an iPod, and a mind on everything but what is actually going on around them - they especially pay no heed to the people in their vicinity. "Thank you" or "excuse me" are foreign words I rarely hear spoken by anyone under the age of thirty. They are too busy and preoccupied with self and their own goings-on to notice anyone else - much less to step around someone, hold a door open, or apologize for bumping into another person.

Again, I want to reiterate that this is not all of today's youth of which I am speaking. Certainly there are number of wonderful, bright, polite, and considerate teens and young adults in today's world. It just seems their less pleasant counterparts are the ones you run into more frequently.  In light of this, it's always a great pleasure for me to come into contact with some of the hopefuls.

This very thing happened to me on Friday evening, when I stopped by a local Best Buy in search of the The Sims 2 FreeTime  game guide.  As I was chatting up the very helpful Best Buy employee, Craig, as we searched - fruitlessly, I'm afraid - for the guide in question, I noted two young men with a The Sims box in their hands.  They queried Craig on whether the old game would work on a Vista-run machine, and I jumped at the chance to help out a possible future-Sims fan.

We struck up a conversation, as I told them about The Sims 2, the newer version that would definitely work on their computers running Windows Vista and extolled on the merits of the game, and how it was infinitely superior to its predecessor.

I would guess that the young brothers were around 18 and 10 or 11.  We ended up chatting about games, computers, and - of course - The Sims 2 for near an hour (in which time, the wonderful Craig was able to find my game guide - woot!).  I learned they were from a small town very near where I had grown up, and I gave the oldest my MySpace name so that we could stay in touch and I could help them if they had any further questions/problems about the game.

I left that store in the happiest of moods.  The two young men were polite, well-spoken, funny, and genuinely just all-around good people.  Me, the ultimate cynic and people-hater, was pleased to have my faith in humanity restored for a moment.  It was also nice to see two boys interested in such a creative, family-inspired game - rather than the usual violent, gory, or sports-only mindset that a lot of young men their age are into.  It isn't to say that they don't play these types of games (hell, I do as well) - but that they were interested in expanding their game-play into the realm of simulation and creative imaginings.  I found that impressive and endearing.

I suppose, then, I would just like to extend a small thanks to Brandon and Hayden for instilling a little renewed faith in our future, and in humanity in general, in this old cynic.  Thank you, guys - I see great things in both of your futures.

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