KIDS! I don't know what's wrong with these kids today.”
It's a time-immemorial lament that was made into a song sung by the character of Harry Mcafee in the 1960s musical “Bye, Bye Birdie.” I should know, since I played him in a 9th grade production.
The song came to mind after I had a confrontation with high school students at the sports oval last Monday afternoon.
I was with a couple of friends having just done five rounds and were on our sixth when we came upon four students, who, by the looks of it, belong to a volleyball team, promenading on the first and second lanes.
To those who are not familiar with oval rules, the first four lanes are reserved for sprinters, runners and etc. Walkers are relegated to the fifth and eight lanes.
As we tried to avoid the quadruplets, I told them to move to the right since they were on the wrong lane. Didn't they know the rules, I added.
One of them retorted: “Kahibaw mi kay taga-Abellana mi (We know. We're from Abellana).”
I turned around and told them, “Then you must be dense (the word I used was “bogo”) for not heeding them.
“Kids, they are disobedient, disrespectful oafs...”
We then went on our way.
I thought nothing of the exchange so I was surprised when, during our next turn, I heard someone call out from behind. Really loudly.
I turned and saw one of the four boys I had earlier confronted. The perpetrator, who claims to go to UC, looked me in the eye. I pointed at him.
By then, my blood pressure had shot up. I wanted to do something, but our momentum had carried us quite a distance. I decided to continue running, hoping I'd cool off after a few hundred meters. I hadn't.
“Kids, you can talk and talk till your face is blue...”
I didn't want to talk to them because I was afraid I'd say things or do things I'd later regret. But I needed to do something. I headed to the oval office to get help.
I asked one of the staffers to talk to the boys for me. She obliged.
I decided to walk my anger off, and sidled up to another runner, a lawyer. He asked what happened. I told him.
When we reached the group of volleyball players, one of the four boys called out to me. The one from Abellana. He told me to stop and to settle the matter. When I ignored him, he yelled “Gamay man ka'g utok!”
My friend looked at me. Are you going to let that go? he asked. Of course not. This time, I confronted them with the oval office staff and my lawyer-friend in tow.
No, he never called to me, the UC student claimed. No, he never called me “gamay man ka'g utok,” his Abellana pal insisted.
In the end, I decided to let the matter go. I just wondered, though, if their schools were aware that their students behaved this way outside campus.
“Kids, why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way? What's the matter with kids today?”