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Only teenagers are allowed to read this

Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

It is time for us to have The Talk.

You have been awakened by nature’s bell to that thing all teenagers come to grapple with, something that may leave you confused and anxious. Don’t worry. It’s perfectly natural.

I am referring, of course, to the fact that you now realize your parents are drooling imbeciles.

I am not suggesting you cut them any slack, but it may be helpful to learn how they got this way.

You see, your parents were raised in the Dark Ages, a pre-Google, ante-Twitter, Bieber-less epoch of shade and sorrow.

It was a mirthless era. They did not LOL or ROFLMA. There were no “Likes.” Only feathered vertebrates tweeted. Phones were not smart; napkins were the only things loaded on laptops.

When it was time to do research for a homework assignment, they would have to trudge to a hushed temple of knowledge called a library, where all of Wikipedia was printed out and stacked on shelves. Like monks, they would copy the data onto papyrus, then keyboard it at home using a heavy, uni-font contraption called a typewriter.

Television had been discovered, but the cable only had 13 channels, two of them C-SPANs. They would rise on Saturday mornings and watch animated comedies featuring rodents, bunnies and a Stone Age family while munching on heavily sugared grains.

Other factors, too, conspired to drain your parents of all intellect.

Even if it was cold outside, they went to school on time. They were subjected to cruel labors, having to mow lawns or baby-sit for neighbors to earn spending money. Your kindly grandparents were tyrants back then, demanding your parents do chores around the ancestral homestead.

Mating rituals were conducted without the benefit of Facebook. Flirting via text was unknown – there were silly little notes and a lot of whispering. If they wanted a selfie, they’d have to go to Sears and pay a guy to take it, then wait a month for the proofs to come back.

As they matured, your parents got stretch marks and chose to become car-pool slaves to youth soccer leagues. They wilted in the Orlando, Fla., sun for 90 minutes waiting to get aboard Space Mountain with wiggly children who needed naps.

By the time you reached your teen years, their brainpower was so diminished that they could not remember how to buy enough milk to last through the weekend. They quit talking of interesting things and developed a fixation on boring stuff such as car insurance and in-state tuition.

Alas, this is your burden as a teenager. Bear it bravely. And know that it is possible your parents may recover their faculties someday.

Some people have even found that parents begin getting smarter in a decade or so, and are magically restored to full intelligence upon the birth of grandchildren. They get oddly cool. They LOL.

I know this is true because I found it on the Internet.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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