Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Kids these days...

This was written by me this summer,

I was at work the other day in the good old m&s, and was serving a customer, but, this was no ordinary customer, this was infact the type of cutomer that appears only at weekends, the cookie monster, usually denoted by grey sweat pants, ugg boots, and collar up. These young teen girls seem to crave the cookie and the hidden cocaine within, and they flock in like hungry flocks of cookie crazed humans. NEXT PLEASE boomed out my manly voice, showing the queue of customers who was boss. One of the monsters in question handed me a cookie, which retails for .90c . "Eh thatll be ninety cent please", the tiny girl extracted a fifty euro note from her louis vuitton handbag, and you know what it made me think.... It made me think of the attitude we have now in the richer areas of Dublin, this new attitude we have towards money, and I honestly cannot see it working in the long term, that is in terms of generations.
My grannys parents both migrated separately from a country that was poverty stricken and had nothing to offer its people in the way of jobs, they left to go to the promised land of America. They risked failure once they got there, and even more failure to even reach there, it was a SIX WEEK journey by boat, and the prevelance of disease and death gave these ships the rather apt title of the coffin ships. Mr McKenna worked initially on the trams in new york, he would often tell of the days he would return home with ice on his beard, and how he was fully aware that if he went back to his small room at night and did not emerge in the morning, nobody would notice or care. But still he persevered, he eventually became friends with a rich gentleman who used the trams, and was later asked to work for him as a servant in his house.
The soon to be ms McKenna worked as the companion (paid friend) of the wife of a railway tycoon. These servants and companions would often meet in the basement of these large houses during the owner’s parties etc, and this is how they met. They were so determined return to their homeland, that despite bleak prospects they decided to return to Ireland to set up a family, Mr McKenna took up a job as a milk man and they saved up to open a shop, in, what is now the vhi building beside Argos in dun laoghaire. They saved up to buy two more premesis.
My grandfather started work at age 14 straight out of school, he became an apprentice mechanic, he worked many years as a mechanic in the old garage in glasthule, and then the manager and owner offered him the opportunity to buy the garage off him which my granda did. He then made it into a esso franchise and he worked there the rest of his days.
My parents fifteen years ago had to decicide whether they would buy an extra loaf of bread or a packet of biscuits for the week, seemed that geneticists were not required in the recession yrs of the 80s in Ireland, but they worked hard and got to where they are now.
So I apologise for that frankly needless bit of family history, but in a way it is relevant because it is not a unique case in any way, Ireland two or three generations back was cripplingly poor, and most lived in poverty of various levels, with barely enough clothes to go around, to quote my grandfather ‘the first up, was the best dressed’ (describing the morning rush for the limited clothing supply) and in Dublin things certainly have changed a lot. People who are now richer as a direct consequence of the work that the generations before them put in, are choosing to ignore how they got to where they got. The attitude of it being okay to be in debt with a credit card company and to spend all your money just because you have it, will, I think not work in the long term.
In my opinion it was the attitude that got the past generations the life they wanted so badly, and the work ethic that was preached to them by their parents. So when I see someone come in with more money than they know what to do with at the age of 12, it makes me angry to see the change in norms, Parents now buy anything their "princesses" ask for, I have noticed this becoming worse in the last few years. In my opinion if you present someone a situation where there is no incentive to work for something they wont, and they won't suddenly acquire this attitude when they finish school or college (people don’t seem to realise just how much their grandparents would have loved to go to college, but in their day it was not affordable, now people treat college as a mess around and as their right, not a privilege) and then are expected to leave the home and somehow become independent. What’s the point on working, studying, striving, when you think you will just be bailed out by your parents?
To quote a good basketball coach, one Mr. Conan Doyle, ‘You practice as you play’ if you want to be able to improve or even sustain what has been given to you; you need to be constantly ready to work for things and realise how things were achieved in the past so you can shape your future.
I’m also tired of this attitude that these rich kids seem to rejoice in that they are some how any better people than the poorer sections of the population, just because they wear shirts with collars up, that happened to cost 70 euro, they are better than people who shop in Penney’s, or whatever, buddy your clothes were made in the same place, and who fuckin cares, you are in fact equally poor because the money you have earned is, a big fat zero (addressing the younger ones here), you personally have no wealth at all, zip zero, you have no dinero. So when these people go around telling of their AFFLUENCE they are just giving praise to their parents, which, last time I checked, is not the done thing when you are a teenager! So I think with this current lax attitude, i guess that within two generations they will no longer be wealthy, and i cant wait to see how the power redistributes.

I think my thoughts on the matters can be summed up by the lyrics from the song ‘Handbags and Glad rags’

‘They told me you missed school today, so what I suggest, you just throw them
all away, the handbags and the gladrags that your poor old granddad had to sweat
so you could buy’

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