A Lost Generation

Like me, JLH is the age group that is most at risk from COVID-19 (although he’s a ways further along in that group than I am). Below is his take on the current Coronamadness, and what it portends for younger generations.

A Lost Generation

by JLH

It’s a pain for all of us — wearing a mask, keeping social distance. But, in a way, it is easier for those of us most vulnerable. We just have to follow the rules and try to stay safe. Those who are considered most at risk are often retired — able to stay out of the mainstream of life until this all goes away (when?). And we also have the choice of resisting it in whatever way we wish.

Even if we live out our lives this way, we have already had lives. We went to school, had proms, dated and mingled. It’s there in our memories. What we are deprived of is perhaps one more trip we wanted to take, the parties we still wanted to give and attend.

If you live to a certain age, how much do you have to complain of? If your life was not completely to your satisfaction, that may have had something to do with how you lived it.

But how responsible is a sixteen— or seventeen-year-old high school student for what is happening to him or her? Classes at a distance — not only no real contact with the teacher, but with classmates. Maybe abbreviated, masked attendance at classes where not everyone understands everyone else. Where the teacher may sound as if he or she is talking with a mouthful of mashed potatoes. Where the teachers, too, are frustrated by seeing only a fraction of students at a time — possibly teaching the same thing twice. Where you can ask a student “What did you learn in your two days of class this week?” And the answer is “Nothing.”

What happens to the average student in an average town, in an average school, whose average parents have no idea about home-schooling? Is this their lost year? Will it be the only one? Will there be whole cohorts of youngsters whose minds and psyches will forever be stunted by the (hopefully one) year of stasis?

Nowadays, even young kids are into online surfing, texting, e-mailing. Sometimes someone of the older generations sees them with their noses in a phone and thinks, “Why aren’t they running around, skipping rope, playing sandlot baseball, capture-the-flag?” Adding a mask only intensifies the “flight inward”.

And the little ones… How do you explain to a 2-year-old that it’s okay that he/she can’t breathe so well, or eat M&Ms or (heaven forbid) chew bubble gum. Once we get home and close the door, you can, uh, watch TV without a mask on. But don’t go to your sister’s room for the next two weeks, okay?

I remember World War II as part of my life from age 6 to age 10. It was a time of shortages and some sacrifices, like gas rationing, margarine instead of butter, renting freezer spaces for large purchases like a side of beef, or mason jars and large pots and kettles for the fruits and vegetables from the garden and the apple tree in the backyard. A defining difference was that we knew from a very young age why the rationing and restrictions existed. There was no doubt what we were doing. So we collected newspapers and cans and even picked milkweed (for parachutes, they told us). It was a gigantic team effort, and it felt good.

But how good does it feel to see half of everyone’s face, to watch for the tell-tale crinkling of the eyes to see if someone is smiling. When does a 5-year-old rediscover the natural world? When does a 16-year-old go to a dance? When does life begin again?

6 thoughts on “A Lost Generation

  1. I believe the milkweed was used in life jackets.
    Hopefully, more parents will homeschool and there will be more learning and less brainwashing. I watch my neighborhood children walking to school with their masks on. So for Halloween will they go door to door without masks to scare us?
    I enjoyed your article, thanks!

  2. I believe it would be in order for members of this audience to listen to all 49 minutes of this video on the new “BrandNewTube non-political-censoring new site…. https://brandnewtube.com/watch/misuse-of-pcr-tests-worst-crime-against-humanity-ever_jIEzyvxLUfKKocD.html I’m new to the site, having followed the ever worthwhile Vernon Coleman, MD, UK who does indeed tell many truths. Check here https://brandnewtube.com/videos/top?page_id=1 and here https://brandnewtube.com/@DrVernonColeman a highly entertaining, educational, and truth telling site. These are good men, especially Vernon, also look up Pamela Popper MD along the same vane, well of merit also, who has instituted her own law suit against the governor of Ohio, DeWine for his typical fascist totalitarian diktations, as is so with Polis of Colorado, and the other some other leading worst (and incredibly uneducated governors, Newsome, Cuomo, Whitmer, to name the leads in that category.

  3. What a poignant article. For better or worse, today’s urban youth are, if anything, a little too well prepared for non-contact interaction … a little too used to relating at a (digitized) distance. Not that such experiences are the most healthy to begin with, but there you have it.

    There is a strong takeaway from this for those with some perspective. Perhaps people who are going through all of this “social distancing” will learn to place more value on sincere, interpersonal exchanges. Looking people in the eye and watching for facial expressions may have a little more currency. Simply savoring the moment in the most number of ways might be more appreciated when all of this is over.

    Like it or not, there are some major lessons to be learned from these trials and tribulations. I come from the school of, “What doesn’t kill me… only delays the inevitable.” Perhaps not quite *that* fatalistic, but definitely from a more frugal mindset than many of the pampered brats I see complaining about how long it takes to microwave their popcorn.

    I will eat food that is past its “best by” date and wear things until they are truly worn out. While being en vogue never has been a priority for me, of late being out of style has begun to be a badge of honor. Especially in this, “that was so fifteen minutes ago”, culture. Whenever some snowflake tries any of that “okay boomer” horse hockey on me, I casually remind them that the dinosaurs lasted for millions of years longer than humans have ever been alive.

    Well, that’s enough curmudgeonly grumbling for one evening. Toodles.

  4. Here’s another great article on the subject by one of our friends across the pond.

    “Our leaders need to develop a sense of perspective about Covid, something that has been lacking so far.

    Because of the absence of proportion about the real menace we face, we are paying a terrible price for further lockdowns through neglected healthcare, shattered social relations, mass deprivation and soaring public debt. ”


  5. I remember rationing, and we ate margarine instead of butter (that had to go to the troops). As a four year old, my contribution to the war effort was to save tinfoil chewing gum rappers. These, we were told, would be dropped out of allied airplanes and would confuse the German radar systems! It did feel good to be part of a great movement.

    • Tinfoil really was used for this; it was dubbed “Window”, and British and US warplanes carried it long after WW2.

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