A Teenage Hypocrite's Speech on Teen Life
Introduction and Background
I wrote this speech when I was a freshman in high school, a full fourteen years of age. Normally my school assignments would be relegated to the abyss that engulfs all pointless writing, but this particular piece seems to have touched the minds and hearts of a great silent minority. I've posted it on different sites and because of the responses I've gotten I've decided to put it back up on the Internet, to encourage the intelligent youths I know may be reading.
As for the background. This speech was to be a five minute long oral presentation on whatever pet peeve I felt like discussing. It had to have three main points. Rather then fight the system I decided at this age that it's better to break the system from within. No corrections or touch ups have been made since I passed it in. Do enjoy.
Good evening dear audience. As you all know I am here to discuss one of the most irksome aspects of the society in which I live in. I have come to talk to this adoring audience about a light-hearted and sometime humorous topic of the typical teen-age stereo-type as the announcer has already told you.
Now I'd like to start out my little speech by telling you all that I am a people watcher. All my life from the time I was barely able to talk until now I have always preferred to watch the people around me rather then actually participating in any of their activities. It is because of this that I am so bold in pointing out all that bothers me about my teen-age peers.
One of the most prominent issues brought up by this people watching is the fact that teen-agers like for some reason to sound unintelligent and unsophisticated. Whatever they say does the opposite of command respect. For instance if I hear one more person use the catch phrase "whazzup" or use the word "like" 30 times in one sentence I just may be tempted to do or say something terribly rash.
I admit I was never the typical teen or the typical girl for that matter. And there are a few reasons for this but mainly I just see the life of a teen-age girl pointless, utterly exhausting and quite frankly lame. Back to the topic of how teen-agers talk though there is one thing you'll never find me doing and that is talking on the phone for 2 or 4 hours to one of my friends explaining some useless teen-age drivel and frivolous banter. I have no idea how girls can get on the phone and yap away for hours on end to some one they've already spent the entire day with. Perhaps it's just me.
One thing that's even more bothersome then the phone talk however is the lack of any intelligent vocabulary. I find myself constantly dumbing down my speech and explaining vocabulary they should already know like "banter", "haughty", "enthralled", "caviar", "albeit", and "lewd." It's quite sad to think that these, my friends, are the smarter of the general masses. It's quite pathetic indeed.
However you have to hand it to them, whatever teen-age girls lack in vocabulary they make up by adding drama to everything. I don't know about any one else but I'm quite sick of the drama queen acts myself. You all know the girl that just exclaims "oh but Johnny doesn't love me! I could just die!" or "Today was the absolute worst day of my life. I'm never going back for as long as I live!" Personally I am quite annoyed by the over use of exclamations and the absurd over exaggerations.
However it's no small wonder why they talk the way they do. I blame the media, their music and their literature of which I'll be only talking about the latter since the media would take another half an hour to critique.
All the girls I know of listen to pop music. This wouldn't be so bad if they actually all enjoyed it and there was actually something worthwhile to listen to but it's not. Pop music is the death of anything good in the music industry. The bands don't even write their own music or play their own instruments. Worse still they don't even sound good. I think they sound like either a dying goat or a cat caught in the fan belt of a car. The only reason these girls listen to such fluff is that they are supposedly cute. Now I'm not a genius or anything nor do I claim to be but when I listen to music it's my ears doing the listening not my eyes. So where does this whole cute factor fit in anyway?
I'm also ostracized by my own peers and called abnormal for my own individualistic view on life. Just because I'd rather watch some old band on the Ed Sullivan Show that actually writes their own music and plays their own instruments and not the queen of pop Miss Britney Spears flaunt her bare skin and lip sinc on MTV does not mean I'm abnormal. On the contrary I think it leads one to believe I'm just smarter then the masses. And don't get me wrong, this isn't some slanderous anti-social statement, it's just my blunt black and white view of my own peers.
Popular reading materials aren't much better then the music industry. Their woeful lack of vocabulary and absolutely pathetic plotlines make even the best of these only worth fire starters. I tried reading some of these books once. I got through 3 pages before I got so irked at the complete and absolute simplicity that I threw it across the room in frustration. I think I would have learned more from reading "See Spot Run" than from those books. Quite simply put I am aggravated with the dull meaningless platitudes, not to mention the four for a dollar romances that fill the shelves. I have always been a true believer that quantity is NOT quality. I like conviction in my reading materials, even if I don't agree with that is being stated I admire the writer for having the guts to say it.
However the total lack of meaning in a teen-agers life is what bothers me above all else. For most teen-agers it is their only goal in life to fit in. I myself rather like not fitting in, because to fit in means to conform. Let me demonstrate my point.
All of the "typical teen-agers" I know have a whole set of unwritten rules and ethics that rule their piddley little lives. One of them is to never say anything that may even be remotely offensive to anyone in your presence with the exception of profuse profanity, which in my personal opinion makes you look like you should be on the Jerry Springer Show. Now, courtesy can be a good thing but not when it rules your life. There are certain situations in which it is most appropriate to stand for what you believe in, state what you really feel and not worry about what others think of such a bold move. I myself do this every day and perhaps this is why I have so few friends, because no one can put up with me. I'm all the happier for it though because the few friends I do have know who I am and not who they think I am.
I am also a bit of a loner. I don't conform to any clique. To me teen-agers cluster together in groups and try to fit themselves into a perfect mold. It is however like jamming a square nail in a round slot. I would never stoop so low as to alter all my opinions, what music reading and hobbies I enjoy just to fit in. I think it's horrible myself that anyone would do this.
My peers shudder at my words. They see individuality, at least in the sense I see it as a threat to the way they live. Just merely telling them about individuality is most akin to teaching the dog quantum physics. They care way too much of what people think about them to be themselves and that's why they are always paranoid and overly concerned about everything. For instance what cuts me from the herd is I don't care diddley-squat if Johnny loves me or the most popular girl in town approves of me. On the contrary I find myself very approving of the fact the populars shun me. To me this means I am doing my job, and doing it well.
An End Note
I got a 99% on this project with a point taken off, not for grammatical error, but for "lacking enthusiasm." I didn't change my normal speech patterns (absolute monotone) to deliver this speech, and I wouldn't today either.
If you are one of those precious few intellectual teenagers please don't ever let the system crush your spirit or tell you who you need to be. When you can't break the rules just find ways to bend them. Eventually it'll have the same effect - collapse of the system. Be who you are to be, and never let anyone stand in your way to being an individual.
A Note to my Readers
I had no idea so many people had commented on this article so I'd like to take the time to thank all of you and say that I am absolutely delighted to see this speech has caused such a diverse set of reactions! I also would like to respond and answer a few questions. For all you who loved my speech and who would like to use it in a presentation I will give you express permission (so long as you give proper credits, no plagiarizing please.) If you need my full name for this send me an e-mail. I don't like having it posted publicly online. Also thank you, I know most of you are younger, and I would like to say once you get older finding people who suit your own intellectual needs will become much easier. There will still be a world full of sheep but at least you'll be able to raise above the heard to find the black ones. ;) And finally someone asked if you could be bad at certain things (like spelling) and still be intelligent. Of course! When I wrote this speech I could scarcely spell anything and due to my dyscalculia I couldn't even do the most basic of math. That didn't mean I couldn't hold my own in a debate about world news, politics, psychology, science, religion, or whatever else! We're all different, celebrate what you're good at and be thankful for it.
Now for all you who had criticisms... Yes, I fully admit as a 14 year old I was quite hostile towards my dumb peers. Maybe I was angry they kept slamming me into lockers and teasing the shit out of me for having a personality. Maybe it just pissed me off the teachers always gave me a hard time while passing them up a grade because they didn't want to see them back next year. I don't recall anymore but I can tell you what I've evolved into today. I must say that people who seem to be *purposely* stupid still annoy me like no one's business. I have grown social skills that help me be cordial and friendly to everyone I meet, however I fully admit I am not going to go out of my way to befriend anyone on my own unless I feel I can have a decent conversation or debate with them. I don't really see the point of keeping someone around otherwise. Is that elitist? I don't really think so, I think it's more catering towards finding a compatible personality. All humans do that. They bond over hobbies, sports, jobs, music, support groups, whatever. My common element just happens to be verbosity. So be it. And if you still hate me for this that's fine too. I learned a long time ago I couldn't (and didn't want to) please everyone anyway.
Thanks for reading everyone, I'm off for now, but feel free to keep adding comments. I'll check in every now and then.