Surfistas and Freddy: our kids are in trouble

By Dave Kirkpatrick

They call themselves “Surfistas.”

They are the young daredevils of Rio de Janeiro who perform a ridiculous stunt known as “train surfing.”

The less-privileged youth of Rio, without money to purchase surfboards made of wood or fiberglass, opt to exercise their bravado on surfboards made of steel which run on rails and travel in excess of 60 mph. More than 60 have died within the last six months, and hundreds have been injured in this test of “courage.”

So what? Who cares? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Just a bunch of stupid kids clowning around on moving trains, right?

It seems like the only people concerned with this suicide game are local officials and movie stars who have appeared on television in order to put an end to all of this senselessness.

It’s nice to see politicians and actors concerned with the lives of misled youth, but my question is, where are the madres and padres of these kids?

I am becoming increasingly concerned with stories such as this one. It seems the youth of our country and others are foundering in a sea of educational, entertainment and social despair.

Some stories are sickening, like the one emanating out of Rio, and some are not so disturbing. However, it seems it is becoming increasingly clear that parenting is taking on a much different form in the 1980s.

I am not pretending to be an expert on parenting. For all I know, I am not a parent yet. It just seems that some parents are not as concerned with their children’s futures as they were when I was a lad.

A prime example of this materialized before my very eyes when I was working at a video store over break.

Parents would come in with their kids screaming and begging for some afternoon entertainment which came in the form of a mindless videocassette.

Now I’m not talking about movies like “Dumbo” or “Swiss Family Robinson” or something even semi-educational. I saw these parents rent movies like “Nightmare On Elm Street” or “Beverly Hills Cop” or “The House That Dripped Blood.” Good, quality educational experiences for the whole family to enjoy.

The owner of the store loves every minute of this ghoulish practice, because the more movies he rents, the better lined his eel-skin wallet becomes. But I have a major problem with it.

I can see the note now: “Junior, Mommy and Daddy are meeting the Smiths at the tennis club after work. I hear they just bought a new BMW. Isn’t that great! Maybe someday we’ll trade in the leased Cadillac and get one for our very own. Anyway, there is a bag of Doritos and a box of Ho-Hos in the cabinet and a 2-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper in the frig. Help yourself, but don’t eat too much before dinner. If you want to watch ‘Freddy’ again, go ahead. You know how to use the VCR. Please don’t climb on the new sofa, and behave yourself. Love, Mommy and Daddy.

Kids. Fat little kids are coming home from school to an empty house with great news that Mrs. Snodgrass gave them a gold star on their class work, and no one is home to appreciate it.

Kids, whose heroes these days include such influential figures as Eddie Murphy, Arnold Schwarzenegger and “Freddy,” are becoming products of this country’s bogus sense of morals.

Even Halloween costumes are changing.

Instead of seeing cute little “Supermans” or “princesses” running around on All Saints’ Eve, I’m seeing more “Freddy Kruegers” and “Madonnas.” Ick!

Studies are showing that kids, as well as college students, can’t even tell where the capital of the United States is.

These facts don’t surprise me since so many kids are learning how to tie their shoes with “velcro” these days.

I think I’ll go home now and start playing with my “Lincoln Logs.” I don’t have a toy AK-47 to play with.