The education system in the United States is broken, we all know that. There are several theories about why this is, but that’s not what this post is about. This is about intern punks.
I work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and I am happy to do so. I also commute by bus more often than not, which I’m also happy to do. But now that we’re into the summer season, a huge influx of dorky college kids have flooded into Boulder, and we all compete for seats on the “GS” regional bus from Boulder and Golden and back each day, and this has been a source of irritation for me these last couple weeks, as the intern population has reached critical mass at NREL.
They are young enough to not fully grasp the idea of a line, or a queue — that embodiment of the “first come, first served” concept. No, the stragglers walk up to the front of the line, where their fellow geeks have congregated, knowing full well that the meager northbound bus population is barely able to hold us all. Strike One.
They yammer and giggle all the way up Rt. 93, unconcerned with real problems, and despite being the future geniuses of the world, they lack the basic skills to ring the fucking bell when their bus stop is coming up. This actually gave me great pleasure last week, as I observed the 27th Way stop getting bigger in the windshield, and all the interns blissfully ignorant (and giggling). Generally, some fully developed adults get off there (like me), and ensure the complex chore of dinging the dinger is handled. But on that day I was headed further north, so no ding from me. The 27th Way stop came and went, and suddenly about a dozen geek heads popped up from behind the seats like prairie dogs, wondering what the hell was going on. Once that stop was assuredly behind us, I slowly reached up the six inches, wrapped an index finger around the cord, and pulled. DING, you morons. So, that was fun. I got off with the geeks and took my local bus the rest of the way home, feeling sadly smug about the whole thing. But then yesterday, the geeks broke though my protective shield again.
One of Them was talking to another One about movies. Here’s a rough transcript:
Thing One: “do you know about a movie called ‘A Fish Called Wanda”?
Thing Two: “yeah.”
Thing One: “Oh, I had never heard of it (giggling ensues), what’s it about?”.
Thing Two: “oh, it’s like a comedy, it’s old, it’s like, from like, the sixties—”
Thing Two was cut off by my neighbor, another NREL dude and seemingly a tad older than the interns:
NREL Neighbor: “Oh man, you’re WAY off, that was like the 80’s.”
Thing Two: “Really? I thought it was black and white”.
Strike Two, punk.
I am really growing sick and tired of sciencey geeky youngsters who know how to deal with differential equations but don’t know how to ride a bus, not get taken at three card monte, and lack some very basic historical and cultural knowledge (even pop culture, for chrissakes!). I’m not looking for kids to know when the civil war ended (but that would be nice), I’m simply asking for these kids to know that there was a transoceanic cable across the Atlantic long before we had “satellites” handling things, and that there were funny movies before “Superbad” (which was a hysterical movie, BTW).
Gonna be a long summer.