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Kitchens: The chicken nugget generation

Posted: September 27, 2017 - 12:54am

They've been labeled all sorts of things: Generation X, and their younger counterparts, Millenials, or Generation Y, etc. But I have made the executive decision to call the 25- to 45-year-old age group the "Chicken Nugget Crowd."

Seriously. We have raised a whole slew of young ‘uns who are pretty much helpless when times get tough. Heck, most of them don't even know how to eat chicken off the bone, or fish that's not filleted.

It's not that all they got as children was McDonald's Happy Meals or Cap'n D's, but they do seem genuinely baffled, and even disturbed sometimes, by what their parents and grandparents term "real food," or the kind they grew up on, and by the way, were often thrilled to get.

For example, we actually did try to introduce our offspring to an array of fruits and vegetables.

My oldest adored beets or green beans, when he was four. And my youngest begged for cabbage or turnip greens as a toddler too.

Now they both seem to get slightly nauseous just thinking about an orange that isn't in the form of pulp-free, or "hairless," juice.

But actually food preferences are just the tip of the iceberg, even though it is crushingly sad to consider what they're missing by being so juvenile and stubborn in their choices. Tangentially, here's a unique thought: coffee can actually be brewed very easily and quickly in one's own kitchen, now that we got ‘lectricity. I remember overhearing a conversation between two 20-somethings, bemoaning the long lines at Starbucks, and how they were late getting to work because of it.

Uh. I was speechless, which ain't normal for me.

I sometimes get dizzy just thinking about the way the world is changing everyday.

Most of this younger generation wouldn't know what to do with only two or three channels on antenna television either. What? No Netflix, Amazon or Sling on my Roku? Going to any store is pretty much a novelty for young folks these days as well. Everything can be ordered on-line, by phone, or "Dick Tracy" watch. (Just ask them who he was!)

The really tragic part in all of this is not connected to food or TV or brick and mortar shops, of course. What scares the beejeebies out of me is that my offspring, and others of the same generation, don't seem "equipped" to really handle life.

By equipped, I mean they can't handle stark reality very well sometimes. They think earning money is for having fun with as soon as they get it. Most have practically zero idea about budgeting or saving, and blame my crowd, and even everyone who came before it, for any predicament they're in. One of the dumbest statements I've ever heard anyone say on Dr. Phil, was "Well, I didn't ask to be born." It was followed by the "logical" reasoning that, therefore, my parents now "owed" me a complimentary free ride.

No one asked to be born. I am pretty sure I never visited my parents in a dream one night and begged that they come together right quick because I was itching to make an appearance.

I guess what it all comes down to is that I'm truly afraid for our children and grandchildren. I've told my own that I won't always be here to buffer the "slings and arrows of outrageousness," to grossly paraphrase our old friend, Shakespeare.

I hope I can leave something behind so my kids can bury me, and perhaps even have a bit left over to smooth the transition. But what I really hope I've instilled somewhere, even if it's lost in their subconsciousness at present, is the understanding that everyone has to eventually take care of himself, and often even a whole new passel of those unable to manage for themselves for one reason or another.

Perhaps they'll then find that life, like chicken, is always sweeter next to the bone.

 

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