by P. Isdhoff
This is a typical Friday night conversation between me and some friends:
Me-“Well guys, its Friday night what should we do?”
Friend 1- “I don’t know.”
Friend 2- “Me neither”
Me- “Ahhh screw it let’s go to the walk.”
Friend 1- “You know what that leads to?”
Me- “Yea, but whatever.”
Ten minutes later we are at The Walk on University Drive. We go and get our usual Jamba Juice, take the typical walk to Barnes and Noble, pass the same people at Starbucks that we usually see, spend 10 minutes in Barnes and Noble and then we walk back. Twenty minutes after we arrived we have completed 25% of what Coral Springs has to offer teenagers. The following five minutes passes like this:
Friend 2- “Well guys, what now?”
Me- “I don’t know.”
Friend 1- “Lets just go get drunk.”
Me- “No, I don’t want to become one of those kids that get drunk because they’re bored.”
Friend 2- “So, think of something else.”
Friend 1- “I don’t have money for a movie, and bowling is pretty expensive too.”
Me- “Okay, let’s go get drunk!”
The irony of conversations like this really struck me a couple of weeks ago when “Money Magazine” rated Coral Springs the number one place in south Florida for kids to grow up. That is if you’re looking forward to raising an alcoholic, drug addict, or sex freak. As I was watching the news report I stood in utter shock as NBC interviewed some mother who was blabbing on and on about how great Coral Springs is and how there are so many things for kids to do. That’s about the time I got angry. “You moron!” I screamed, “Your kids are probably eight years old! Just wait till they get to high school!” The fact is “Money Magazine” is written by adults, who don’t live in Coral Springs. Adults! How can you have the audacity to talk about what it’s like growing up in Coral Springs when you’re not even growing up here?
Once a child passes the age where he or she is allowed out alone the establishment of Coral Springs offers absolutely nothing to do. Let’s face it, bowling, movies, The Walk, Java D’lites, and legal Wal-Mart can entertain teenagers for only so long. So, what is there left to do?
The only solution to being bored is to create fun. However, with the cops cracking down on being in a park after dusk, or innocently loitering somewhere, there are few options left. So, what now? Now, comes the retreat back to the safety of our homes, where we know there is a bottle, a drug, or a condom with our name on it. Have I not made it clear enough yet?
With nothing to do the kids will play, illegally. Can you really blame us though? Adults are so busy blaming drug and alcohol abuse on whatever they can that they don’t realize it’s the establishment they created that’s the problem. Parents are so busy reading up on the wonderful things a child has offered to him or her in Coral Springs that they completely miss the lack of opportunities offered to teenagers. Maybe if the city invested a little in the youth – such as a rock venue or a teen club – the cops wouldn’t have to trouble themselves with needless harassment of teens in a park. Give the high school kids something fun and inexpensive to do and you won’t have to worry about the gangsters, the boozers, and the drug users.
If the adults would just pay a little more attention to their surroundings they would realize why kids these days are acting out in more illicit ways at younger ages. Teenagers aren’t bad because of societal influences – that’s a whole different subject – teenagers are bad because they are bored. So until you, and the editors of “Money Magazine,” come back to high school and live as a teenager in Coral Springs stop talking about how great it is, because its not. Now excuse me while I enjoy my rum and coke.
– P. Isdhoff