Every preceding generation complains about the same things when it comes to the one that follows. “Kids today have it so easy! Why, back in my day…blah, blah, blah.” “Kids today have no respect! If I tried that when I was their age…blah, blah, blah.” “Kids today expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. God forbid they should have to work for anything!”
It’s not true. Kids today aren’t any different than what they were ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred, or a thousand years ago. Kids have always just been smaller versions of adults. Some are awesome and some are complete idiots. A percentage of them are born that way, while a percentage of them turn out the way they do because of the guidance, or lack thereof, they receive.
That’s why I’m doing my best to make sure that Carson grows up right. Carson’s not my son. He’s my…well, I’m not really sure what to call him. Little buddy? Protégé? Student? How about I tell you our story and then let you decide?
I first met Carson three years ago at a 7-Eleven, when he was twelve. I had come in to pay for gas while he was there trying to figure out what to shoplift. I could tell the second I laid eyes on him that’s what he was up to. The way he kept looking towards the front to see if the cashier was watching him was a dead giveaway. I thought I’d save him the hassle of being arrested over something so dumb by talking to him.
“You know, kid,” I said. “Shoplifting’s a pretty stupid thing to do.”
“I’m not shoplifting,” he said in return. “I’m just trying to find, um, the chocolate bars.”
“Right, sure you are. Here’s a bit of advice anyway. If you’re going to go down for something, make it something worthwhile.”
The kid stared at me dumbfounded. Is this old guy giving me advice on how to be a criminal? Yes, as a matter of fact, I was.
“Go big or go home,” I continued. “I mean, do you really want to break your mother’s heart, go to juvie, or have some cop go all Rambo on you over a Snickers bar? At the very least, go to a jewelry store and swipe a pair of diamond earrings for her. Big ones, like you see actresses wear to the Oscars. Of course, if you were truly a tough guy, you’d rob a bank.”
“How do I do that?” he asked.
“Here’s my address,” I said as I scribbled it on an old receipt I had in one of my pockets. “You come to my place tomorrow afternoon and I’ll teach you everything I know about being a badass.”
Thus began his tutelage. It took this long to teach him the ins and outs of big time thieving, but in fairness he was just a naïve little punk when I met him. Tomorrow’s our first heist. We may go down for it but like I said, it’s better to go down trying to bag a million dollars than trying to pocket a chocolate bar.
Wish us luck!