Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
A: a hunter-gatherer
Back in the early 90s, I remember sitting around in the pub (I still am), having a conversation with a few others, when one of them said, "We really don't have a higher standard of living than our parents did".
I and a few others looked at the person who said this, wondering whether or not he was talking in his sleep.
This bloke was sitting there, blowing a small amount of his disposable income on beer; had a car parked outside somewhere; his own house; a mobile phone; took at least one continental holiday per year; a good job; free health care; etc. etc.
My generation has come to take all these things for granted, and now that they are slowly (or quickly - time will tell) being taken away, have come to expect them a rights. In the good old days, one meal a day was not considered a 'right' by the ruling classes, no matter how hard the serf worked to pay the tithes.
In one way, my lot has had it so easy, but in another, we seem to have chosen the wrong period of history to get old and poor. Our parents lived through the war, then struggled through the 40s, 50s and 60s until retiring with more disposable income than they ever had before, once their children had grown up and gone.
I could have had any job I desired when I left college (which was effectively free for me), but having seen the two kids struggling to first get a place at college, then work all the way through it to minimise debt when they leave it, then desperately try to think of a way of earning a living doing something which they could bear to spend the rest of their lives on, is a real eye-opener.
Green-Eyed Girl was composing a 400 word 'personal statement' (which is a requirement for anyone who is seeking a place at university or college these days) the other day, and I said I would give her a hand - being 'good at words'. Little did I know the criteria against which this simple statement would be viewed by the officials who decide upon which entrants are even considered at the early stages of an application.
There are pages and pages of examples to look at on the net, and - as I discovered - one wrong word or intonation means a rejection - a fall at the first hurdle. I was far from qualified to give any advice at all.
When was the last time you heard an adult ask a child, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"