What the World Owes Me
The world has changed so much since my birth. I arrived at the tail end of the 60s; the peace generation. Of course, people forget the violence and social unrest. This generation protested against the pleasant memories of the 1950s. Remember poodle skirts? I have only seen pictures.
The 70s went crazy. People confronted the unrealistic peace movement and rebelled in a different direction. This gave rise to disco music, real drugs, video games, and computers. This paved the way to the 80s; my decade. I loved the culture, the style, the movies, and the people. MTV, John Hughes films, good word processors and the best music ever. Remember Compact discs? I still have an enormous collection of them. Of course, behind the great times, I watched the evolution of organized street crime, Ronald Ray-Gun, and people struggling to fit in.
The 90s began with a major letdown, the grunge movement and techno music. Quite depressing. Of course, computers were insanely good, the movies got more realistic and people took on their own style. Who cares about the top 40? Get an MP3 player, and use Napster to download whatever you like for free.
Then, the 2000s rolled out, and adulthood took over. I got married to a wonderful woman and had a fantastic daughter—time to man-up. And so I did. Life became less exciting but more stable. Overall, I was a lot happier.
The 2010s kind of slipped by. Did we do anything back then? Did anybody play music? I don’t think so. Now, we are in the 2020s, and the entire world has turned upside down with Covid and wars. The foundation of society is tearing itself apart. Where will this decade end? WWIII? Zombies? Will they cancel the Simpsons?
Well, what does it all mean? Where do I go from here? In all likelihood, my life will be more of the same. I will raise my daughter, go to work, write in my spare time, and try to start a business. Who will help? Friends, family, and the Internet.
When I came into this beautiful world, the state gave me a birth certificate and a few laws against child abuse. Other than the air I breathed, the world offered me nothing more. Of course, I have been blessed with a healthy body, two wonderful parents, and a fantastic sister to guide me into adulthood. Therefore, I do not feel I am owed anything, but others do. In fact, they think they are owed a lot. People are demanding more and getting more.
Three weeks ago, a server at a local restaurant accidentally spilled my food as she brought it to the table. Remember that the food was not spilled on me; the incident only resulted in a delayed meal. She apologized, the manager apologized and said he would take my entrée off the bill. It was as if the restaurant owed me a free meal for her mistake. I informed the manager that the server did a great job and that I did not require a free meal. I imagine he thought, “Who would turn down a free meal?”
This incident falls under the category “No harm, no foul.” It is a privilege to have enough money to buy dinner at a great restaurant and get served by this remarkable woman. If the server had poured hot coffee on my lap, that would have been a different story.
Others disagree. Getting a free meal because a server bumped her tray is not a privilege. It is a right in the same category as getting a fair trial and free speech. Not getting a free meal will cause bad Yelp reviews, boycotting the restaurant, and hacking their computers. Take that, you evil corporations!
Why am I writing about this issue? To complain about other people? No. My humble article would alter nobody. My problem is that I need to change the attitude of my characters to reflect this new modern reality. The latest generation works less and expects more. So, let’s write some new dialog:
“Oops, sorry about that.”
“My meal is going to be free? Right?”
“I’ll get my manager to take that off the bill. Have a splendid dinner, sir.”
“Alright, that’s better.”
Gahh. Hey, customer, man-up and stop acting like a jerk. I want to hate that guy. This reads like an excerpt from a horror/crime drama. The dreaded motorcycle gang leader entered the dinner, intending to commit a crime. He needs an excuse to shoot. Wait a minute. She dropped the plate. That is all the motivation he needs.
This new sense of entitlement is hard for me to accept. I want to scream, “Grow up! Take responsibility!” However, entitlement is here to stay. The world may not owe me, but it owes everybody else.
In writing, I have to think like the present generation. One of my upcoming books has a daughter who will be a modern girl. The world owes her something big. Is she going to demand a free meal? Girr. Yes, she will. Her parents will not like that. I see some spanking in her future. Wait a minute. You can no longer spank your child. She will post on social media for the world to read about and offer her their undying demand for a free meal. Girrr.

You’re the best -Bill
March 13, 2019 Updated February 10, 2024
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