``Do you know,'' asked Dorian, as he stirred the coffee in his teacup with an unlit candle, ``the real problem with the younger generation?''
Erin considered. ``Were they looking for ones? I have some problems I haven't even started worrying about, and it's better the younger generation have them than that they just rattle around in my scary drawer whenever I go looking for flashlight batteries.''
He shook no. ``They've got problems, but I'm thinking of what's really wrong with them.''
Fernand, having learned his lesson on the other kind, grabbed at Dorian's candle wick, but was chased off by a pin Gabrielle jabbed back at him. ``They're not older, isn't that it? If the younger generation had the decency to be at least as old as we then we'd never say anything about them.''
Erin said, ``And I bet four years from now they won't be even a day older than us.''
``The real problem is the younger generation doesn't know how to do things anymore,'' Dorian proclaimed, which ought to have settled matters. ``Suppose one of them has a car that breaks down. Can you imagine any of them knowing how to handle a simple mechanical fault?''
Gabrielle rubbed the excessively many folds of her upper ear with one pin. ``That doesn't stand out. I never could myself.''
Fernand nodded. ``The best I ever did was to open the hood and maybe shake my finger at how the engine should be ashamed of itself. That clears up the trouble more often than you'd think.''
``I wouldn't think that would work at all,'' said Gabrielle.
``Maybe it does work only as often as you think.''
Erin tapped the edge of a saucer and set it wobbling around to inefficiently terrorize a fly. ``What about that time there was a rope caught in the hood? Opening it fixed things.''
Fernand shrugged, ``It started, but stopped again once I closed the hood.''
Gabrielle started to wonder if Fernand ought to have taken the rope out while the hood was up, but said instead, ``Whenever I hear car people talking about `torque' I suspect they're making up words to mock me.''
``They shouldn't do that,'' said Erin. ``It's unsporting. People have the right to be mocked in the words they've already heard.''
``My point is,'' said Dorian, ``you could handle ordinary problems. Suppose you had to change a flat tire.''
``Now that always beat me,'' said Erin. ``There's this bolt or something you have to get off with the special something and I never can get the thing for the thing to fit on the other thing.''
Gabrielle snapped her fingers, breaking the pin in half and dropping the halves beside the fly. ``I hate that thing. I got it stuck in the rain gutters this one time and I've never missed it.''
Fernand dropped a comb to signal his approving and frequent use of gravity. ``Your car has rain gutters?''
``They were my house gutters. I don't know where my car's gutters are. Maybe the scary drawer.''
Dorian set his candle down. ``My point is! You understand the problem and you can react sensibly. You'd at least know to call AAA.''
``I wouldn't dare,'' said Gabrielle. ``I'd be too embarrassed.''
``Exactly,'' said Fernand, while his fly grabbed a half-pin. ``They'd probably talk about me all day.''
``They would --- '' Dorian sputtered, ``Look, suppose you had a car.''
Fernand said, ``That's easy. I've supposed I've had one for years now and the owner is usually so surprised he doesn't even say --- ''
``Would you get into a car that you saw was on fire?''
Gabrielle said, ``Is it raining? If it's raining all that hard I might.''
As the fly rubbed the pin-halves together Fernand said, ``I'd go for the car, if it's nice and warm.''
Erin nodded. ``It's the best place to wait for rescue. You don't learn that in school --- oh, is that why the young wouldn't know to get in?''
Dorian dropped his head into his hands, as the fly ignited the pin-halves and set his candle aflame. ``This is the problem with the younger generation.''
``As I said, that they're not as old as us.''
Trivia: In 1778 the Highland Society, devoted to preserving the ancient culture and traditions of the Scottish Highlands, was founded, in London. Source: The Invention Of Tradition, Editors Eric Hobsbawm, Terence Ranger.
Currently Reading: Vegetables: A Biography, Evelyne Bloch-Dano, Translator Teresa Lavender Fagan.
PS: Did WiiFitPlus Make Things Worse? and my answer about how the expansion of fitness tests on WiiFitPlus changed the probability of getting one of the lousy tests.