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The more things change, the more they stay the same

August 28, 2012
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for

authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place

of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their

households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They

contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties

at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

The quote above, complaining about the behavior of modern youth is generally attributed to Aristotle. He was from Greece, the first democracy, and the latest country to go broke. Actually, this is at least the second time Greece has failed. They lost their empire to the Romans, who also lost it. The English had a good one and lost it, almost to the Germans, and then America had one, which we are in the process of losing to the Chinese, who have never tried to have one. What lessons can we take from this? How about this: childish behavior hasn't changed much and neither has politics. Do not lose hope. I have discovered a change in youthful behavior, at least in American kids. They have lost their love of cars.

Some of you may remember the old days, when young boys couldn't wait to make it to their 16th birthday and that all-important driver license. Usually we had a car already bought, preferably an old jalopy, which we had stripped down and "souped" up. My spell check program doesn't even recognize the term "souped" up, that's how much things have changed. We took Auto Shop in high school, and learned how engines worked, and tore them apart and improved them to have more horsepower, so we could get faster in drag racing. We had the world figured out. You just needed a faster car to get the hottest girls, defeat your buddies, and therefore succeed in life. Pretty simple. Then along came emission controls.

Open the hood on modern cars and look in. No engine is visible, just plastic covers hiding mysterious computer stuff that nobody understands -at least nobody in their teens. They don't need to be "souped" up. They actually have much more horsepower per cubic inch than we could ever have hoped to get back then. You can't mess with them. In most states, it is illegal to tamper with the engine because is would upset the emissions. Is it any wonder teens don't care about cars anymore? I've noticed kids who don't bother to get driver's licenses because it's just not worth the effort. They'll ride with friends or whatever. Who cares? They can just lay around the house, texting friends, or playing video games, and not have to talk with adults. Or, hey, wait a minute, I think ole Aristotle may have been on to something. The more things change, the more they stay the same.



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