Sunday, June 25, 2006

"There's Nothing To Do"

Boring. Young people standing on Main Street, Point Arena, Northern California, complaining “there’s nothing to do.” Over 200 TV channels, “there’s nothing on TV.” Summertime, and the athletic fields and school yards are empty. Pacific Ocean, miles of sandy beaches, swimming holes on the rivers – only tourists are using them. Great surfing, good fishing, boating, kayaking, snorkeling – “We really don’t have anything to do. What a boring place.”

Flashback fifty years. I ran along the streets of Point Arena (both of them), hurrying to the next adventure. Long summer days weren’t long enough. We kept playing as it got dark. When it got too dark for one game, we’d switch to another. We didn’t have organized youth sports, so we organized our own pick-up baseball, basketball, and football games, and played something every spare moment. That is, when we weren’t fishing in the ocean, rivers, and creeks, swimming in the river, getting together on the beaches, picnicking on the river – we caught crawfish with our hands and boiled them for lunch on the spot – and going to sock hops and square dances.

When the weather was right we received up to three TV channels, and the next day we would retell Groucho’s best lines, even though everyone had already heard them. As entertaining as TV was, watching it for an hour after dinner with the family seemed about right. Now the average person watches TV 4.5 hours a day, and the TV is on over eight hours a day. The passive act of being entertained by TV, instead of creating your own entertainment, is probably the main reason young people stand on street corners complaining of nothing to do.

While they're standing on the corner griping, if they would just pick up a book and start reading it, boredom would disappear.

Boredom. It’s a state of mind.

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