Kids Today

31 March 2017

When I visited my grandchildren the other day, the little ones were all frolicking outside. I was about to join them when I saw the two eldest ones, Elias and Margaret, sitting immobile at the coffee table. They were playing that damn game again – chess, or whatever it’s called. That one where the queen runs around looking for the king or something like that. They could have been helping their poor mother with the housework or their spent father with the shingles (the roof was riddled with holes). Instead, they sat transfixed by a flat of piece of wood, deciding whether the pope was going to jump over the soldier with the prawns. As a lad, the only game we ever concerned ourselves with was the game of life. We would stare at things worth staring at, magnificent things like the sun. We’d take breaks when our eyes got sore but then get right back to business because we were tough back then. After the sun set, we’d keep gazing at all the stars dancing around this wonderful world of ours and wonder about the real mysteries of life: who are we? Where do we come from? What’s for dinner?

Of course, this was only after all our chores were done. My dear Lily, the poor mother of these two rascals, was slaving away while Elias and Margaret stared at their wooden horses and princesses. She washed the dishes with one hand, tended the stove with the other and rocked the screaming baby’s crib with her right foot. Elias and Margaret wanted their hot meals as soon as the sun went down, but they refused to help with the task. They weren’t even doing their homework. They said they’d already finished it, in half the allocated time no less. Apparently they’re the top of their class, but I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen them away from the chessboard. Lily was so exhausted she actually believed them, but those little tykes had nothing on me. I leant back and watch the sun peak through the holes in the roof. I’m old enough to know how the world works.

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