cry, Wolf.

We’ve managed to raise a generation of stunted screaming kids. We taught them well with our Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Beatles screeches. One rarely hears the discrete giggle of nine year old girls or the solid laugh of teens together who aren’t looking at texts on their iPhones. The mad metal rock scream has replaced laughter and the Patty Cake nursery rhyme.

Oh, we were warned weren’t we? By our parents who barreled out into the yard and hollered “Don’t you ever scream like that again unless you mean it! That’s Crying Wolf, you know. Next time, no one will come when you really need help!”

So our children practice hate and fear for hours every day on American Idol, True Blood, Twilight and Mutant Kombat. The way we used to practice our chants:
Red rover, red rover, send ….
Here we go round the mulberry bush.
We Like Ike!
Heyyyyyy batttah, battttah! SWING!
Flower Power.
Give Peace a chance.
Make love, not war.

No, we have taught them well. Playgrounds, parks, pools and discount stores are filled with children’s shrill petulant and bellicose behavior without the words they need to express the true nature of distress.
Just brats, I had figured, for about 20 years as old age filters into my pained ears.

Then, I began to wonder about a diet of violence and danger we’ve fed them. Constant fears of death from The Other Races, asteroid bombardment, global warming, Y2K, ice caps melting, Mayan Calendar Apocalypse 2012, national deficit, Vampires, shoe bombers, brain tumors from cell phones.

I wondered how to teach a new mantra to a generation to help them rise over our fears. Give them the words to replace the endless screams. I dream of hearing kids calling out to each other or to us:
Ollie, Ollie, oxen free.
Come out and play with me,
Climb up my apple tree,
Slide down my rainbow,
And we’ll be jolly friends,
Forever more, more

I wondered if they are screaming, weary of the omens force fed them by the hour from every media. Perhaps they are crying because they are repeatedly told the Wolf is at the door. They can see it but know they have screamed too loud and too often. Perhaps, no one will come.


  1. screeching affects my sensibilities in all walks of life… and Im not 80 yet. quiet. peace. Indin like…yes… and always thank you to my parents and adult folks in my growing up years…. I was forbidden to scream

  2. Ouch! This is the type of day I will believe that all hope is lost… I’ll try reading it again on a new day …

  3. An editorial from the Denver Post that my is my dad’s response
    There is a picture of Philip Philips with a guitar as he played.
    The letter reads:
    Thoughts on “Idol” from an octogenarian:
        I turned 80 last month, which will likely account for the perspective offered herein.
        Gratuitously, my wife ascribes the appellation “elderlad” to me. Admittedly, I prefer it to “old geezer” or “Curmudgeon”.
         More to the point, I watched the finals of “American Idol” last week. As always, it was a test for me. Notwithstanding the excellence of the voices, even my diminished sense of the audible was heavily stressed. Again, I struggled to decipher the lyrics of the offerings, which is a small point when contrasted with the otic blowout I suffered owing to the amped-up volume of some of the participants. I’m working on it, but I don’t understand the “value” of straining the vocal chords to the max whilst delivering what might otherwise be regarded as melodic interlude for listeners.
         For now, I await a reprisal of “Stardust.” I told you I was 80.

    Harold  R. Dunn, Aurora

  4. I have heard the screams & concluded that parents aren’t free to squelch them in the ways our parents and those before did. Plus, if someone screams, people look and perhaps that is part of the motivation for the ear-numbing screams.

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