Things are changing, and not for the better. The future is a murky forest I dare not delve into for fear that I will not be able to find my way out unchanged. I am here, held captive in this awful present, where too many things seem to be changing –– no, warping –– before my very eyes. I don’t know how to deal with this.
Everything is different now. It all feels … wrong. I don’t like it at all. What happened to good old-fashioned values? Take, for instance, the way these young people respond to the simple “thank you.”
Back in my day, we used to say “You’re welcome,” every time we were thanked, but young kids say “No problem.” You don’t say “No problem,” after some nondescriptly-dressed man pulls up in his rumbling 1968 Ford Galaxie 500 and thanks you for your patience because you’ve waited two hours at an abandoned garbage heap. You say “you’re welcome,” because, well, it was hard, and sort of creepy.
See what I mean? There’s no such thing as a civilization anymore. No artistry. I am one of the only people who still remembers how it used to be. I am a relic of a better age; I know this. My posture is bent by time, yet unbroken; my form, backlit by the noon sky, still retains a liquid grace as I chuck military-grade explosives that look like literal sticks of dynamite. The target, a surprisingly realistic rendering of what context clues and weird filler lines can only vaguely hint to be my commanding officer in ‘Nam, is more than 50 paces away. Do kids even own sticks of labeled TNT? I’d worry for this generation if I wasn’t so full of hatred for them.
Could anyone in these so-called “modern times” have the explosive detonate before reaching the dummy? Would they manage to look on (steely-eyed) as a quick camera cut shows streaks of gray soot on their face? Do you really think they’d have the sheer skill to carry the explosive motif throughout the entire plot, symbolizing their own literal short fuse and the general insouciant recklessness that is sure to be their undoing in the end? The answer, of course, is of course not. I’ll bet they haven’t ever signed a contract to kill a man only for their target to figure out the plot and offer them an even greater sum of money.
Kids these days aren’t being raised right. I think I’m the only one who sees how low the future generation has gotten. There are no back-door dealings. There are no furtive handshakes viewed only as the shadow of two hands clasped behind a sheer screen. There are no corporate takeovers seen as just one man walking into a bustling room in the process of being emptied, and in surprise saying “What’s going on?” only to have his supposedly-dead business rival reveal himself and say, “Oh nothing, just trimming the dead branches of this pitiful place. You’re fired, by the way –– as of this morning I own 51% of your company,” which is, of course, in line with the subtle arboreal hints given earlier on, as his opening scene portrayed him delicately cutting at a bonsai with intense, almost brutal precision.
I’d bet if anyone not from my generation were to find out that they, too, had been betrayed, they’d immediately fly off the handle. They wouldn’t be able to hold it in, not like I could, trained by sweltering days of patience when my bastard commanding officer shouted three inches from my face. No, they’d start crying or some shit and change jobs, or maybe go to therapy or some shit — not immediately subsume themselves in getting revenge. Young fools would implicate themselves. But people like me, people who carry explosives on them at all times with an hidden detonator inside their vest, find that revenge is a dish best served —