THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- SEPTEMBER 4, 2021
Labor Day soirees can sometimes involve many age groups all in the same spot. Because of this, the more experienced members of the group might have the urge to offer some sage wisdom to the whippersnappers in the throng.
If you find yourself in this situation, beware that today's youth have some pretty serious concerns. 'A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll found what teenagers feel are the nine greatest threats facing them today.' They are: political divisions, cost of health care, racial discrimination, gun violence, terrorism, climate change, lack of career opportunities, immigration and access to education. (https://www.newser.com/story/310270/teens-rank-9-biggest-threats-to-their-generation.html)
These are very heavy topics for light conversation. Maybe it might be better to avoid these and opt for less controversial fare. One thing to do is to impart wisdom that is useful in everyday life.
Now, such advice can come in handy at the moment, but down the road may prove to be material for a comedy routine. Buzzfeed.com has lists of advice from former times.
When I was a lad, I received some of these gems. “You can’t use a calculator because what are you going to do when you’re an adult? Walk around everywhere you go with a calculator? Wait until after 11 P.M. to make a long-distance phone call. Don't bother learning to type. You'll only end up working in an office. Only use the internet after 6 P.M. because it's free then.”
Don't fret, however. There is some current wisdom that has the potential to have some shelf life. For example, Tim Cook, Apple CEO, touts the advantages of the old phrase: “The early bird gets the worm.” Cook is up at 4 A.M. Every day.
The reason? “Cook recently explained that the early hours of the morning are free of distractions. The early morning is thus, one part of the day which he can control better than the rest. Cook elaborated that as the day proceeds and gets busy with work, there are events that tend to blow you off course. The morning is yours.” (https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/with-1-sentence-tim-cook-explained-real-reason-morning-people-are-more-productive.html)
The weather is always a safe subject. Youngsters may not know there's a fool-proof way to predict the strength of storms. It's called the “Waffle House Index” and “... it's usually a solid predictor of how destructive severe weather can be.”
“Waffle House has been known for staying open 24/7, regardless of extreme weather. The Waffle House Index has three tiers: green, yellow and red. Green means the store will operate fully, yellow means the restaurants will be open, but the menu or power is limited. Red means the store will be closed.” If Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel is standing outside your local closed Waffle House you should be very afraid. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/08/29/waffle-house-index-restaurant-closures-show-hurricane-idas-strength/5642880001/)
If your clambake is at a beach, the younglings might be interested in knowing how playing in the sand can lead to some serious cash . That sand pail they're using might be more than just a dirt hauler.
“The sight of a sand pail can evoke childhood memories of those sunny, carefree days spent at the beach or lake shore. While you can’t go back to those days, you can buy a vintage sand pail that will fondly remind you of them. Vintage sand pails are fun to collect and easy to display and can also be considered small works of art.” (https://www.antiquetrader.com/collectibles/vintage-sand-pails-are-buckets-of-fun)
That art could translate into money. “Vintage tin pails recently sold at auction, and can be priced as high as $1,000 and more.” You can see some of these valuables at: https://www.rubylane.com/search?q=vintage+sand+pail&sb=1.
Finally, you can give the kids a reason to stay healthy and live longer – free wine. All they have to do is reach one hundred years of age and move to Switzerland.
“In the United States, 100th birthdays usually don't go unnoticed. At the very least, the local news will come out and hope you give them a viral explanation of your longevity. But in Switzerland, reaching the century mark comes with a gift from your local government — and in one region, the spoils of old age are especially delightful. The Swiss state of Fribourg offers any resident who turns one hundred years old the gift of one hundred bottles of wine.” The state once offered alternatives like gift cards and easy chairs, but don't anymore because the centenarians all opted for the booze. (https://www.foodandwine.com/news/switzerland-100-year-olds-free-bottles-wine)
On the off chance that some of this advice is met with the rolling of eyes and the scrunching of young countenances, just tell them to remember what your mother undoubtedly warned: “If you make funny faces too often your face could get stuck like that.”