Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

Further proof that I am old

My friends and I made an unfortunate choice for lunch today. We decided to eat in a place that was across from Lubbock High.

We didn’t notice the proximity when we first sat down, but as we were waiting for our order, the giant bells rang and a couple hundred teenagers came pouring out of the building.

Within a couple minutes, the dining room was full of teenagers and my friends and I ended up trapped, a lonely Circle of Old in the middle of the room.

I want to stress that the kids didn’t do anything to irritate us. They weren’t screaming or throwing things or being rude. Just the sheer weight of numbers made us uncomfortable. I was torn between a desire to be 16 again, with no responsibilities beyond sitting in classrooms all day and no worries beyond whether or not I still had my lunch money, and a strange curiosity about the kids themselves.

They didn’t look like “thugs” or “gansters.” Nobody was dressed wildly or indecently. They were just kids, in jeans and baggy t-shirts. If anything, they looked more respectable than we did in the ’80s, simply because they were wearing darker colors.

I couldn’t really spot the nerds, although one girl did have a Harry Potter lunch box. That endeared me to her, somehow, and to the whole generation, to know that someone could carry a Harry Potter lunch box to high school and not get mocked for it.

People weren’t quite as forgiving of my Return of the Jedi lunchbox in 1986.

So there we were, three grown men with jobs and homes and kids of our own, and when the teenagers invaded…we ran away.

I wish I could spin this as some kind of judicious retreat, but the fact is, we ran. We grabbed our food and ran like hell, looking over our shoulders in case the kids decided to attack.

We ended up eating lunch on the benches outside the A-J, scarfing down food as our plates tried to blow away. All because we couldn’t stand to sit in a dining room with 30 harmless teenagers.

I’m sure being 16 sucks, and if I had it to do over again I’d hate it as much as I did the first time, but watching the kids sit and talk and joke around with each other today, I missed it, just a little, and wished there was a way to tell them how lucky they are.

Written by Michael B. Duff

May 19, 2009 at 13:28

Posted in Humor

2 Responses

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  1. You could have shared with them the fact that youth is wasted on the young, but that would have been a waste of time– as the old saying correctly points out.


    May 19, 2009 at 13:50

  2. The essence of their condition is that they cannot know how lucky they are.

    If they did/could, they would be marvelously insufferable.


    June 12, 2009 at 14:55

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