Monday, July 31, 2023

Let's Stamp Out Juvenile Delinquency

I'm plenty old now. How it happened, I guess, is no more than the passage of time. I'm sitting there going "la la la" as a kid and next thing I know, I'm over 70! Lots of times I don't get too excited about anything. Today, though, isn't one of those days. Today, I've actually got my hackles up about something which is generally the environment of much younger people, vandals, morons, anti-social sicknicks, petty thieves, and evildoers. I hear about it and think, No! That's no good! But I try to justify it, saying, It's the environment.

I've never wanted to put the full kibosh on youthful activities. Of course I wouldn't be able to condone or sanction murder, robbery, and every other criminal offense that's on the OUT-THERE side of life. You can still do pranks on your friends, let's say, like dipping into their popcorn when you're at the movies. It's a kind of jovial socially-permissible prank that friends terrorize friends with. Ha, ha, really takes me back, yes, yes, there was this one guy who stole my popcorn at the movies, and it seemed disastrous to me, but, what can you do? Do you want friends or 100% of the popcorn that's legally yours? [Point of advice: You can make popcorn at home for about a dime. Eat at home, THEN go to the movie.]

One thing that is sometimes forgotten by our younger compadres is, You have to be someone a little self-censorious. Which starts, of course, with a baseline of common sense. Then along with that there's the various penalties that the law sets before us readily. The milder penalties, say, a $20 fine, are one thing. The greater penalties, like life in prison suck in an everlasting way, especially if there's truly no way back short of death. It eventually becomes a matter of one's self-interest to sketch out for yourself that certain paths must not be taken! If you need more information on avoiding prison and death penalties, there's an encyclopedia somewhere you could borrow...

OK, I feel for you. And I know that stupid things happen. You just want to get on the right side of life. As merciful as I sound, I'm all for stamping out juvenile delinquency. My feelings have run the gamut, winking at minor offenses, all the way up to an outright rejection of murder and murderers, summed up nicely in an old quote I once gave in an informational speech at school: "Juvenile delinquency ... This old crap's gotta cease!"

And, indeed, that's still my conviction. I remember, truly, thinking about it over the decades. At 20, I agreed. Then 30, 40, 50, 60, and even on my last birthday, No. 70, I was thinking the same thing. Now that I'm old, though, I'd guess I didn't sound as forceful about it. Picture me eating cake at my birthday and chewing with loose dentures, while also offering a few out-of-context jibes at criminals today, with most the guests figuring I was in LA-LA land: "You wanna live to a ripe old age without a rap sheet, don't do nothing wrong! Got that, you little whippersnappers?" I looked around the table at all my 70 and 80-year-old peers, and lifted my Milk of Magnesia as a hardy toast.

Of course! Of course this old crap's gotta cease! Let's do our utmost to be the last generation who has to sit in a nursing home judging the craziness of society outside its doors. "Juvenile delinquency is bad! Down with it!"

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