Coming so close on the heels of the introduction of the iPad, I barely caught my breath before the introduction of the new iPhone. I can’t say which version it is, since I don’t have one, never used one and couldn’t distinguish one version from the next if my life depended on it. But that’s just me. It appears that other people think it’s a marvel, even if Steve Jobs couldn’t get it to work.
I don’t have every new shiny toy for a very simple reason. I don’t want to pay for every new shiny toy. I don’t want to pay the ancillary costs for the service needed for every new shiny toy. I work too hard to piss away money on every new shiny toy. Yet it seems like every young person around has one. Or two. I see them, on the train, walking about the city, with a shiny thing in one hand and another shiny thing, but with a bigger screen, in the other. There are often wires coming out of their ears as well.
I’ve seen newborn babies. They do not come out with wires in their ears. I surmise that the wires connect to something shiny, even if it’s hidden in a pocket.
How do all these kids manage to have all these shiny toys? It could be that they are all far wealthier than I, and hence the massive constant expenditures to be on the cutting edge of technology doesn’t affect them. And yet I keep reading about layoffs, deferments, huge unpaid student loans, no jobs to be had. In my day, there was a causal connection between jobs and the accumulation of wealth. Did I miss something?
I fear I did. I fear that one of two things are happening, and right under my nose. And I missed it. Since I know that Apple gives nothing away, and that they must pay for all the shiny toys, these people must have plenty of expendable income. Either they earned it or somebody put it in their hand and told them to have lots of fun. If the former, it may signify that they are earning great sums of money, or that they are spending every penny they make. These toys aren’t cheap, and I know for a fact that a house, food, children, vacations, clothing and cable television aren’t cheap.
If they are spending every penny they make, what will they do on a rainy day? I can’t believe that holding an iPad over their head can be very good to keep the rain off their head. Or their iPad. And what about the other stuff one needs to survive? Can they afford that too?
But worse than spending every penny of disposable (and not disposable) income is the idea that someone is putting money in their wallet when they aren’t looking, perhaps as they are sitting on the couch playing GameTube and eating Cheetos. If that’s the case, I bet I know who it is.
I’ve often rapped the Slackoisie for their entitlement and narcissism. But watching the two-fisted technophiles strutting their stuff, I realize that it’s their parents, my tribe, who have and continue to enable this. Will they ever believe that a day will come when they have to turn in their iPad for baby food or a new interview suit? If they never learn, how can they continue to cruise through life with all the toys they haven’t earned? How can we expect them to learn to grow up, to appreciate the value of a dollar and a hard day’s work, when money continues to appear in their wallet as if by magic, and converts itself into the iPhone 97.0 (platinum card version)?
There’s no reason for the young to stop when we won’t stop enabling their most unproductive tendencies. It’s bad enough that we’ve blown their priorities, but now we exacerbate the problem with disincentives to take responsibility for themselves? We tell them it’s a rough world out there, but then put little pillows under their feet so their every step can be cushy and soft. How do they learn to walk by themselves?
Yes, despite our mistakes and misguided love by shiny toy proxy, they will ultimately have to grow up and take responsibility for the world. But the persistence in enabling them isn’t helping. And it’s most assuredly hurting. Don’t put another twenty in their wallet. Don’t make their bed or wipe their cute little tushy. Let them chew their food themselves. Heck, make them chew their food for themselves.
And for crying out loud, don’t give them the money to buy anything that begins with a lowercase “i”. If they want an i-whatever, let them wait until they can buy it for themselves. And only after they’ve bought enough food to feed the baby.