28 Jan

 Text and image by Rick McVicar             

     Tom and Tamara sit arm-in-arm at the senior prom with their slender hands clutched tightly around their smartphones, watching reels of other teens dancing the night away. They both laugh and giggle, while a DJ works his arms around an apparatus of electronic machinery.             

     The air is punctuated with profanities as the sounds of gangsta rap bounce off the walls. The dancer floor sits empty while teens line the floor along the walls with bulging eyes glued to tiny glass screens.             

     I am beginning to doubt the younger generation’s ability to solve the problems that my generation leaves behind. 

     Youth used to be such a well spring for hope. Their distrust of anyone over 30 was their motivator. Now they distrust anyone who is not a cartoon character.           

     An image of a flower power girl from my lost era runs on my Facebook feed. Her smile seems seductive, and her eyes look dreamy, as if she is desiring an utopian future. Her eyes are not strained by an electronic glass screen. The flower power girl is the look of youth that used to give me hope. Now that look is gone among today’s youth, replaced by the reflection of pixels dancing on a small glass screen. 

     So what now gives me hope? For that, I look to the other end of the spectrum, old age.

     When I worked at The Madison Press in London, Ohio, the reporter sitting next to me was an 85-year-old ambulance chaser. She was a reporter on the emergency and fire beat, Bernice Gallimore, aka “Scoop.” She was a bit of a tech freak, taking her police scanner with her to the restroom. Bernice clutched her scanner in the same way Tom and Tamara clutch their phones at the prom. 

     A call for a firetruck would blurt out over the scanner and Bernice would jump out of her seat to dash to her car. She always returned with a story. 

     Eighty-year-olds are getting a bad rap these days. Politicians are not helping their cause. Still, for hope I will go to an 80-year-old flower child before turning to an 18-year-old glued to a glass screen on a phone.

     Now go out and have some artful health today and tomorrow.        

A digital pencil sketch of an eye.

                                                      The Eye of Doubt

                       Click on image to view a music video on YouTube.

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