TBD on Ning

After two days, I'm still a little depressed about this.......

I was in a drug store Monday evening (the 20th - hint, hint), and while filling out the check the perfectly nice young female clerk helpfully offered the day's date.

I told her, "Thanks, but I knew that one. Big Trivia Fan here."

First Bad Sign: Her reply - "Huh?"

I drew a breath and asked her if she knew what world-famous event had occurred on that day, forty years earlier, that was the cause of newspaper reports and tv segments and talk radio debates and internet alerts and god knows what all else.

She gave me that look that you get when you show a card trick to a dog. Total befuddlement, a nervous sense that she was supposed to be more excited but didn't know why.

I told her that forty years ago that day, mankind landed on the moon for the first time.

Another "What?"

I tried one last time. "Neil Armstrong? 'One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind'? Apollo 11? The human race set foot on another heavenly body for the very first time?"

She stared at me for a few seconds, and then burst out guffawing and said " Get outta here! We ain't been to the MOON! That's just Crazy!!"

Now. I'm aware that ignorance knows no age or intellectual divide. I know quite clever people that are still totally unaware of some things that one would expect almost anybody living in the Information Age to be cognizant of - Like, that if it's the middle of the afternoon here, then it's the middle of the night on the other side of the planet. I know people in management positions who are under the impression that the ENTIRE UNIVERSE re-sets it's clock every time we switch back and forth from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. I'm real good at staring at somebody who's said something that dumb with an unnervingly blank expression until they get flustered and go away.

But...Doesn't a perfectly content stranger not even knowing that we've been to the Moon make any of you just a tad...sad? These are the folks that are going to inherit the planet, and it made me morose. Just how ignorant and uninformed is acceptable these days?

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Tags: D'Oh!, I, I'm, Just, Nice, Person., Very, a, don't, drive, More…for, generation, her, let, she's, sure, this, weep


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Comment by Brian on July 4, 2010 at 10:34am
A thread like this doesn't deserve to die. But my examples have nothing to do with "today's youth."
Back in the early 70's I was at a lumber yard and the person in front of me was asking about the spruce that had been advertised at a good price.
"What is spruce exactly?"
"Well, it's a kind of wood - a softwood."
"Oh. I thought it was a tree."
And that same year a friend who was at Yale expressed surprise to learn that Egypt was in Africa. "No! It's in the Middle East!"
Comment by d's girl on May 3, 2010 at 12:25pm
I saw this on your profile page & had to jump in w/my similar story.... which happened over 20 years ago I just realized, and reading this blog triggered my 'dumbfoundedness' again immediately!
(Dumbfounded is the perfect word to describe these situations)
Late 80's- I hear on NPR on the way in to work that the date was JFK's birthday. I get into work & remark, "Today is JFK's birthday. He would've been 72 years old today, isn't that something?" (meaning that he has this ever-youthful image to me &, I'm sure, to most people).

One of the young (albeit ADULT) women standing in the office to receive my remarks replied, "Now.... who is that again?"
Comment by Ubu on July 26, 2009 at 1:30pm
Ah, there you go Snagg. Maybe you need to go back and find her strong points. With my herd of offspring it varies, I have some that are very sharp and some that don't care but they excel in other areas.

One of my favorite moments was on the job and I had just painted the threshold leading into the house. Three college age students came up and I said I just painted the threshold. They glanced around like they were looking for flies and finally the only girl points at it and says "Oh, that."
Comment by Snagg on July 25, 2009 at 4:22am
I've also heard more than one teacher complain that they are constantly being pressured to reduce standards, to just make sure that every students makes it through the system, because school districts are terrified of irate moron parents suing them when their little angels flunk out or have to go to summer school - It so damaged their tender self-esteem and all.
Comment by Sally White on July 23, 2009 at 9:26pm
I confess to ignorance about more things than I know. I do love learning, and my feeling is we are all delayed in some ways. No one grows up knowing about or developing every part of themselves. Some areas we may never develop, others we can develop very well. I do a lot of shaking my head in disbelief, but do know I have grown past some of my ignorance, so I tend to be more compassionate about ignorance. I still reserve the right to shake my head in amazement.

Yet, I also confess to what I perceive as a myopic vision, regardless of what age. I was raised to have a broader view. I love difference and cross cultural connections. Always learning is an essential part of my life.

I am, however, a bit incredulous at the lack of breadth of knowledge about geography, politics, history, literature and the other arts. 85% of us in college in the 60s were liberal arts folks, now 85% are business folks. Guess which ever route one takes can and does mess up the world. Still, I prefer to talk with others about the world and what is going on.
Comment by Snagg on July 23, 2009 at 4:07pm
You're a bit off of the beam here, Gil. I did not belittle this girl to her face, and who the hell said that I was "unappreciative"? I said earlier that she was a perfectly pleasant, friendly, helpful girl.

I was more thinking that I kind of fear that this girl may have more in her than being a drug store sales clerk for her entire life, but with a lack of knowledge about things as important as that, she may be holding herself back more than she knows.

Willingness to work should not be the only standard by which we gauge a human being. I know of a very well-paid woman in her early thirties, in the entertainment industry, who, a few years ago blurted out, on air, that she didn't know who won World War II, the Germans or the Japanese.' When her fellow broadcasters had calmed down, the woman further elaborated "Hey, I'm making good money here, so Who Cares about some stupid old war? I Got Mine, Jack..."

There has to be a higher standard than that....
Comment by RayDane on July 23, 2009 at 1:26pm
I'm just hoping that the young lady was taking payment from you for the greeting cards you purchased, rather than a pharmaceutical tech dispensing narcotics.
Comment by Fire Bill on July 23, 2009 at 12:40pm
I volunteer to tutor high school students occassionally. Their vocabulary is so limited and their knowledge of history is sadly lacking. I enjoy the thrill that the students get when they are given the opportunity to learn something.
Comment by Quinn on July 23, 2009 at 7:03am
At a graduation party recently I overheard a young man (who graduated twelfth in his class) ask, "Where is Cuba exactly?" I am not the best in regards to geography, but come on? I agree that adults probably often shook their heads in wonder at some of the stupidity I practiced, but my High School taught History and Science and Math and English and we were expected to know it and retain in for future reference.
Comment by GIL on July 23, 2009 at 5:50am
OK I have to jump in here and put in my two cents. All I have heard here is how stupid this girl is and how uneducated she is and the young and dumb tag put on her. I have to start out asking, do you have so little to do with your day that you can stop and belittle an young girl for waiting on an unappreciative general public. My god man she offered you the days date. Why do you berate her. Did you stop and think that maybe just maybe that she didn't get through school and even if she did it doesn't mean she was taught anything. I happen to be involved with a school that used to tell the parents of their students " just make sure they come to class and we will graduate them ". Give this girl some credit she gets up and comes to work, " work ". She has a job and she handles money. Thank god some one saw something in this poor dumb uneducated girl. Do you know how many well educated adults that are out there that dont have a job and will not take her job because its beneath them. Shes not out on the streets doing drugs or any of the many loser activities life has to offer.
No she is working at serving a snippy self rightous public.
Sorry I don't mean to offend anyone here but who stands up for the people that have no voice here ?



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