By MIKE VINSON
Recently, a friend commented to me he felt as though we-collective American society-are raising a generation of "modern-day morons and imbeciles."
Though once used as clinical terms to define individuals afflicted with a certain level of mental defect, the medical-psychiatric profession, for the most part, has ceased using the terms "moron" and "imbecile" because of the offensive connotations.
However, Webster's New Pocket Dictionary defines "moron" as: a foolish or stupid person; and imbecile as: a stupid person. Suffice it to say that, even though they might not be the wisest or most appropriate choice of words, moron and imbecile are part of our everyday vernacular.
Back to what my friend said, one is forced to pause and ponder: Just how does today's generation measure up to past generations?
Regarding technological skills, today's generation are essential whiz kids: cell phones, texting, computer communication & games, space research & travel . . . you name it.
I found it a bit humorous when a lady friend, who's a senior citizen, recently told me she had purchased a new iPhone, and she had to go out of town to attend a class instructing her how to use the iPhone.
Another eye-opening incident was when I was visiting with a family one night. Everyone was inside the house, and supper was on the table. After hollering upstairs and telling the kids supper was ready, to no avail, the mother finally had to text her kids to come downstairs for supper. Soon as the mother texted, there came the children hurrying down the steps.
That's a long way from the rotary-dial landline with which my generation grew up. Back then, all it took were a working index finger and the ability to comprehend a 7-digit number. We even had "party lines," which allowed the neighbors to "eavesdrop" on whoever else was talking. Though tackily invasive, it kept the community up to date on the latest news . . . or, at least, the latest gossip. Still, many of those in a higher economic bracket had "private lines," which afforded them more privacy.
As stated in previous columns, a majority of today's society, regardless of age, own cell phones and use them on a daily basis. When it comes to conducting business, you're out of the loop if you can't utilize a cell phone, unless, of course, you're in an independent enough position-a wealthy retiree, for example-to sit at home all day, everyday, and answer incoming phone calls on your landline.
Talking about supper, though, if mom is too tired to cook supper, she has the option of calling any one of a number of pizza chains and having a large vegetarian pizza delivered to the family home.
However, a vegetarian pizza is made up of vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, etc. We know that every healthy person can consume a vegetarian pizza, but how many of today's generation have the skill to break ground with a hoe, plow, or tiller, and plant, grow, and harvest some of the vegetables necessary to make a vegetarian pizza?
We, all, must agree that someone has to plant, grow, and harvest the vegetables we consume.
God forbid, just attempt to imagine the economic situation in America getting so bad that a majority of the population is forced to live off the land. With a few basic skills, they might just be able to tough it out. Without these skills, they are doomed to either perish or a life of crime.
How's this for a thought: Legislators pass a bill mandating that every high school student in Tennessee , before graduating and receiving a diploma, take a least one semester of basic gardening.
Some might call the above suggestion "stupid." If so, that's fine. However, in the meantime, let's not become a society of morons.