This week, our older son and his family are staying with us. They have come down from the frozen North,border country. Officially England, but after being Scotch 13 times it is to this day unsure of itself, is Berwick. I say Scotch, because nobody has yet explained to my satisfaction what the difference is twixt Scottish and Scotch. Why are people Scottish, like the borders, but whiskey, beef , broth and mist are Scotch?
Anyway, down they come. The girls, twins of 12 years this Saturday and identical, slide through in a slovenly way grasping laptops and phones (at least, as far as I can see, one each). The boy, 14 and better now than he ever was comes similarly equipped but at least attempts a joke about it.
6 months ago, all were playful, fun and full of beans. This time they have become ignorant, surly, sullen, argumentative, ill-educated little know-it-alls. And that's just the girls. We probably won't see them again. There's so little point, when all the time they have been here they have hidden away in our spare bedroom which is precariously half full of moving home detritus, playing on their 'phones or communicating at a distance with their laptops. Their only conversation with us is "where's Mam?"or "Where's my charger?" They seem incapable of joined speech or any activity which demands they let go of the Holy Instrument. I am so incensed by this attitude that I tell them to hang on to them or, if I find one, I will take it away, hide it and when it pleases me I will clamp it in the wide jaws of my woodworkers' vice and slowly crush it, thrilling to the tiny tinkling cries of utter destruction that will emit from the glass, plastic and other components. I will bag it all and send it back to them at my pleasure.
You know the really frightening thing about this? They can barely understand half of what I say. One of them, whilst arguing with me about their future admitted she had no idea what "alternative" meant or what language I was speaking. She was serious. What this is a sensor of is the fact that in the future they will be effectively bloody useless. And so will most of their kind. The underclass. The ones who used to be bred as cannon fodder and mill slaves. But we aren't fighting anywhere much any more and there are no mills to grind them down, so they will become dangerous without the slightest notion of why. They will become frustrated and unfulfilled without realising it is entirely their own doing. It will be in their hands, quite literally, the little slab of plastic and glass that I have not been able to crush, will have dulled what little remains of their brains to the point of utter dependability upon technology. Technology which is already fragile and often unreliable. They are moving into a world with less and less electricity. There will be power shortages. Even in California, there are now! In their world it will be a commonplace. But these kids didn't understand how it all worked. They didn't even have the nous to work out where their battery power comes from. They didn't know what a power station was. Why? Because their teachers are the most appallingly incompetent bunch of wasters and because they are almost proud to have never watched the news, believing that they can't because they only get "movies" on their telly. Their ignorance is almost mind-blowing in its completion.
It will all lead to a position in the future where there will not be enough people with the intelligence or information to even slightly HELP to run things, never mind the world. A few nerds will NOT be enough. The multitudes of brain dead morons like my grandchildren will see to that.