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I have a well-documented aversion to lazy, fat losers. Which, of course, means I have a discreet, taboo aversion to most kids these days. Pale little chumps who don’t have scabs or callouses or splinters. Little goopy turds who sit around all day collecting likes and Insta-hearts and fictional points in some lame digital universe.

Cool life, bro.

Despite systemic racism and the Gulf War, growing up in the 80s and 90s was AWESOME. Everything was bright neon because Lisa Frank said so. Our markers smelled amazing, except the black and brown ones because of the aforementioned racism. And we made such daring innovations such as changing pogo sticks to Pogo Balls and rollerskates into rollerblades.

90s racist

It was truly a golden age. And I, a benevolent stranger with no children of my own, am not going to hoard life lessons from growing up in the 80s and 90s that might benefit kids these days. No one asked for my advice, but I’m giving it anyway. It’s over here in the box on the curb with the words FREE STUFF written on it.

Go ahead. Pick through and take what you like, but you might want to rinse it off before you use it.

1. Don’t worry about stains.

Kids, your parents are going to ask you to be gentle and kind to the clothes they get you. But this is a test. They just want to see what you’re made of.

Get filthy dirty. Skin your knees and get grass stains. Ruin your favorite shirt and rip your dress pants and step in dog poop.

It’s called freedom. And I promise, it’s worth the smell.

2. Stop looking for answers.

Kids these days are experts on how to look for answers, using computation to solve virtually every problem. Kids have this mistaken perception that finding answers is the end goal. Game over, you won.

But kid, you didn’t win. You quit. Finite answers are rarely enough. And sorry to crack your Hatchimal, but some questions don’t even have answers.

So, instead, be a questions person. Embrace being annoying. Ask how? Why? What’s next?
Or maybe try being a creative weirdo who just makes shit up from scratch.
Or get comfortable being wrong. It’s fine to make mistakes if you show your work.
Or keep searching. You may not find the answer to whatever you wanted to Google, but maybe you’ll find something different altogether. Maybe you’ll figure out something no one ever even considered.

I know it can be tempting to be a smarmy little know-it-all. But no one is actually impressed by some little twerp with fast fingers and a faster core processor speed. So, stop looking for the fastest path to the answer because mostly, it turns you into an insufferable twit.

3. Unplug your e-life as often as possible.

Let me tell you a story. There once was a little kid who stayed indoors all the time. Spent time in his parents’ basement playing video games and shielding himself from the sun. He smelled terrible, obviously, like a musty cat. He didn’t develop friendships beyond yelling at the television.

I asked him to unplug his computer and his TV and his X-Box, but he didn’t. He just kept playing for years and years. He went from being a little kid to a teenager and from a teenager to an adult.

This little kid was really good at World of Warcraft, but that didn’t get him a job or make him healthy or happy. It didn’t earn him friends or love. In fact, the second he stepped away from his gaming console, every fleeting sense of happiness escaped him, and he realized that it does not improve his life in any enduring way whatsoever.

There is no second act to this story. This kid didn’t listen to my advice, and now he sucks and will suck forever. So, heed my wisdom, children: If you own/use anything with ‘e’ as the prefix (e-book, e-bike, e-cigarettes, email) switch off the power, unplug it, and walk away before you turn into this fermented soul.

4. Wear something traditionally associated with the opposite gender.

Your whole life, people are going to tell you what you can/can’t and should/shouldn’t do. Some of those things are legit because they have real consequences: DO your homework. DON’T hit people. DO eat your vegetables. DON’T worry, be happy.

But when parents get power hungry and try to control every aspect of your life, trust me, they will come for your wardrobe. They will try to force you into neutrals and khakis. Blue for boys and pink for girls and never the twain shall meet.

But irreverence builds confidence. So ignore what the boring, conventional people in your life tell you to wear and just do you. In my experience, an inexpensive way to find your own brand of personal flair is to drift happily into androgynous style choices. If you’re a boy, wear pink or lace or floral headbands. If you’re a girl, wear baseball caps or neckties or sleeveless muscle shirts.

Give the haters something to talk about: your muthaf*ckin’ freshness.

5. Go outside.

Oh my God, PLEASE. Please go outside. PLEASE. I’m literally begging you. You want to fight me on this? Fine.

I read this article that said kids today spend half as much time outside as their parents. And I hated it.

We can all agree that turnips are one of the worst vegetables, right? Bland, starchy, and ruinously bitter. Well kids, let me tell you the real reason that turnips, the bulbous garbage potatoes that ruin Thanksgiving, suck.

turnip

It’s because turnips don’t see the sun until it’s too late. They stay underground where they don’t interact with anything other than worms and other turnips. They are dumb, bland, and ugly. And that’s what happens to kids who stay indoors their whole lives.

Going outside changes your brain. It lowers your risk of depression. It even lowers murder rates.

NOBODY LIKES TURNIPS OR MURDER. GO OUTSIDE.

In Conclusion: It does not get better.

Kids, I know Tim Gunn wants you to think “it gets better,” but it really doesn’t. It gets so much worse. Being a kid is the easiest, best part of your life. So build some resilience and grit, reduce your murder-y tendencies, and prepare yourself for that imminent late-20s nihilism to kick in. Better enjoy this while it lasts.

Kelaine Conochan

The editor-in-chief of this magazine, who should, in all honesty, be a gym teacher. Don’t sleep on your plucky kid sister.

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