The Oldest Story

Kids these days have it too easy. They’ve entered a disrespectful and slovenly state in which the privileges of life become rights, and miracles are everyday occurrences, due in no small part to frequent technological advances threatening to make hard work extinct. Look, I’m no elderly quack with a grudge against innovation; I’m just a concerned parent trying to raise a healthy and capable child. These new-age resources frighten me only because they enable our children to act like adults without the experience to play the part. Phrases like “I’m twelve, get off my back” and “Old people are stupid” qualify in my mind as gratuitous cause for alarm where generation X is involved. Many members of my community—which has been around since the Clovis family made the big move south—share the very same distress I express here. Where will our kids get the kind of character it takes to tackle the beasts they’ll encounter in the real world? So I’m setting this down in stone so that parents thousands of years from now can get this right: protect your kids from technology. My name is Grog, I hunt nine-to-five with my bare hands, and my son W’ey is lost in a world of stone tools and “evolved society.”

Three moons ago W’ey killed a tusk walker, a sound accomplishment of which any father could be proud. I waited for him in our home clearing, eager to share in his experience as a true survivor. He walked over the hill, and I greeted him with a “Tell me all about it!” His response? “Meh. Easy.” Meh. Meh, people! The boy brought home an adult mammoth, food for the entire settlement, and he thought it was easy. That’s when it hit me like a land glacier; he must have been using spears. For those of you who don’t know, a spear is a long stick with pointed rock at the end, allowing the user to attack targets well beyond his reach. I don’t have to tell any of you that fancy resources like spears and hatchets weren’t available to me and mine at his age, oh no sir! We used hands and hands alone, with the occasional knife thrown in late game. Our mortality rates were high, which means high building of character as well. Suddenly these “innovators” walk in with their straight spines to change the game (or at least the hunting of it). W’ey, always up to date with the latest in RocTech™, finishes projects in no time at all before jogging off to a practically premade meal! It’s hammer this, chop that, kill a few saber-tooth tigers before lunch… and the dating. Don’t even get me started on the dating.

W’ey is set to be married to a lovely girl named Leke from a neighboring tribe. “But Grog, how did he manage this so early on?” you might ask. Leke walks around with fine tusk jewelry clacking against her new fur pelt, all gifts from W’ey. Since when do we give women gifts? When I was a young man, we beat our chests until we couldn’t breathe to draw them over. Then, when their guards were down, we would grab them and drag them back to our caves or ditches or huts, and there it was. All this business of trinkets and affection takes the sport so far out of marriage that any scrawny scavenger boy can find a mate. Courtship, they call it. Silver platter, I call it.

I’m happy for my son’s success. Truly and sincerely, I couldn’t wish for more. I’m a proud father with an accomplished son who proves himself a credit to the tribe. I just can’t bear the thought that someday he’ll go off to start a settlement of his own with no tools and no experience of surviving without them. All true parents ever want is for their offspring to succeed and evolve; that’s why we do what we do. These tools may seem like a parent’s dream in that regard, but they really soften young minds and bodies with their convenience. W’ey and his friends don’t value achievement in any sense of the word thanks to these sharp-edged stone menaces. Bottom line, easier and safer isn’t always better. As people walk upright, plants grow where we want them to, and food gets cooked with fire, I can only shudder at the prey the real world will make out of unprepared youth.

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