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Listen You Little Punk

As the saying (liberated, like so much else, by the polyester queen Hillary) goes, it takes a village to raise a child. So, with this notion in mind, I want to perform a brief act of child rearing in the form of exploding a few myths that our youth of today seem to hold. None of these notions are new to today's kids, but the facts bear repeating.

First off, you are owed nothing. Nada, zero, zip. Not a meal, not an education, not health care, nothing. If your -- or your parents' -- income status does not afford you a car, a Rio player, or a new Eddie Bauer sweater, then either get a job and buy it, or shut up. Just because you were born doesn't mean that my income should pay for your health care, retirement, or give you a grant to rub kaka on a canvas and call it art.

Secondly, there is no divine power that makes every thought that appears in your head worthy of my, or anyone else's time. For those of you who have been through a public education, getting lessons in self-expression and having your "esteem" raised, please step out onto the cold hard concrete of the real world. Out here, nobody gives a damn about your feelings. Few things are more annoying than a nose-pierced mallrat telling me I shouldn't eat meat. Bite me, junior.

And just in case your parents are too busy having to work 70 hours a week to buy you those things to which you feel "entitled" and haven't had the time to explain the concept of personal property, here's a quick rule of thumb. If you take something you didn't pay for, and that item has a value, then what you have done is theft. In case this is too abstract for you, here's a clarification. Downloading the new Deftones CD before it's released, burning a copy for yourself and your friends with no intention of ever purchasing the real item, is stealing. There is no other factor involved -- not the ease of getting the material, nor the wealth of the person who created the music. This probably won't sink in until the first time some other "entitled" person smashes in your car window and steals your CD player.

But just so nobody will consider me a total grouch, here's a few other myths to explode. Nobody has a right to force you to pray to a god you don't acknowledge, to keep you from kissing any other adult who lets you, or live under a government of tyranny. (Which, by the way, you are. Point your web browser somewhere other than the PETA site or Napster and you'll discover how really ugly things really are). Don't spend your energy yelling that the world is not fair -- most of us already know this. Instead, create your own world, filled with whatever myths, lies, and beliefs you wish. Invite a few special people to experience it with you, and always be delighted at the randomness of the outcome. And never accept in blind faith anything anyone tells you.

Including me.