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by Michael D. Brooks

“You know, I just don’t understand these kids these days.”

“You didn’t understand us when we were kids, Pop.”

“I understood you and your friends better than I understand your kids.”

“Pop, you know darn well that you didn’t always understand the things we did.”

“Yeah, but at least you guys made more sense when you talked.”

“That’s not what you told us, Pop.”

“Well, now that I think about it, you guys did make more sense than the kids today do.”

“Okay, what brought this on? Did you have some kind of epiphany?”


“Then why are you sitting there telling me now that you understood us when we were kids?”

“Your daughter.”

“I thought you liked it when she talked to you.”

“I do, but not when she’s not making sense. When she was a baby, she didn’t make sense and it was cute. Now she’s a preteen and she still doesn’t make sense. It might be cute if I knew what she was babbling about.”

“Tween, Pop.”

“Between what?”

“No, not between. Tween. Preteens are now called Tweens.”

“See, the English language is going to hell in a handbasket.”

“Are you going to explain yourself or am I going to have to drag it out of you?”

“Okay. Okay. Trina just came running in here talking about how she just friended somebody, and how she’s got seven hundred friends, and now she’s got a new gf to add to her list, and that she’s got to IM her bff.”

“Yeah. So?”

“What the heck is a gf, a IM and a bff? And how’d she get so many friends? I thought there were only three hundred kids in her school. And how’d she get to be friends with all of them anyway? You better check with her teachers and find out if she’s got a, you know, a reputation.”


“Hey, you never know nowadays.”

“Trina doesn’t have a reputation and she’s not friends with all of the kids in her school, Pop. She was just talking about all of the friends she’s friended.”

“See, there you go talking that slang. You’re as bad as she is. Talking about friended and all that. Is that even a word? If you thought I didn’t understand you when you were a kid, I really don’t understand you now. And how do you know about all that stuff anyway?”

“I’m her father, Pop. It’s my job to know what she’s doing. Just like it was your job to know what we were doing.”

“I got a confession to make. I didn’t always know what you and your brothers were doing, but your mother always did.”

“Why am I not surprised?”

“What was that, wise-guy?”

“Nothing, Pop. Please, continue.”

“Humph. Now where was I? Oh, yeah. But you got to admit I did a darned good job of making you think I knew.”

“Uh, yeah. Right, Pop. You sure had us fooled. So what are you trying to say? What are you trying to ask?”

“What the heck is all that gibberish she was spouting off when she was in here?”

“Well, to answer your first question, a gf is a girlfriend, an IM is an instant message, and a bff is a best friend forever.”

“So how come she didn’t just say all that?”

“She did, Pop.”

“No she didn’t.”

“Pop, that’s the way the kids talk to each other nowadays.”

“Well, that’s a dumb way of talking to each other.”

“You thought the way we talked was dumb.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did.”

“No I—”

“Pop, you told us so.”

“What did I teach you about cutting off your elders, son?”

“My bad.”

“See, there you go. Talking like your daughter.”


“There you go again.”

“Geeze, do you want me to finish explaining it to you or what?”

“Okay. Go ahead.”

“You do know that the kids today spend most of their time on their computers, cell phones, and whatever else they have, right?”

“Yeah. And it’s a crying shame too. They just got way too much time on their hands. If they had more to do, they wouldn’t be bored all the time. Why back in my day--”


“You did it again.”


“Cut me off.”

“Look, do you want me to finish explaining it to you or not.”

“Go ahead. Finish.”

“When the kids are on those social networks—”

“What works?”

“Oh, brother. Online hangouts like Facebook or—”

“What book?”

“Facebook, Pop. You know. Like MySpace?”

“What about your space?”

“No, no, no. Facebook and MySpace are social networking sites on the Internet. You do know what I’m talking about when I say Internet, don’t you? It’s been around about as long as you have — since the days of the dinosaurs.”

“Ha, ha. Very funny, wise-guy. It was so funny I forgot to laugh. Just get on with it already.”

“I’m trying, but you’re not making it easy. Anyway, you know how you used to hang out with your friends at the playground and I hung out with mine at the mall?”


“Well, the kids today still hang out, but now they do it online. They make friends online and they call it friending someone.”

“So why do they, what did you call it? Oh, yeah. Friend so many people. They can’t know all them people.”

“Most of the time they don’t. They just do it because it’s the thing to do.”

“So let me get this straight. The kids hang out on the computer and make friends with a bunch of people they don’t know and then see who can get the most friends they don’t know?”

“That’s pretty much it.”

“So what do they do if they don’t want to be friends with someone they never knew anymore?”

“They unfriend them.”

“Geeze, no wonder I don’t understand the kids today. That makes no sense to me. They’re dumber than you guys ever were.”

“It’s a complicated world we live in, Pop.”

“You’re telling me. So how come you didn’t ask me how I knew what you meant when you said, ‘instant message’?”

“Oh, brother.”

Copyright © 2009 by Michael D. Brooks

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