I Remember Saying Stupid Shit
This Buzzfeed listicle is currently making the rounds, showing 20 “young people” holding up signs explaining why they are against marriage equality. It’s definitely interesting to see why young people, who we usually think of as being progressive and awesome, believe in something stupid and bigoted that will in time look as backwards as the arguments against interracial marriage or women wearing pants.
But as I scrolled down, I began to wonder (around #4) how young these young people are. The signs are pretty much all riddled with typos and grammatical errors, but we do stereotypically expect to see that when the opinions expressed are so, so stupid, regardless of the age of the person holding them. And some people look much younger than they are, and I’ve never been good at the age-guessing game anyway.
But #6 – I don’t know, maybe I’m off-base here, but that picture looks to me like a 10-year old writing down the thing that her proud, smiling, bigoted parents (see background) have raised her to say. “Its the nature that God gave us. And it should stay that way.” Several other photos appear to show teens who are probably still in high school.
It got me thinking, what if someone asked me at age 14 to write something I believed on a piece of paper, and then they took a photo of it, and then that photo went on a popular website? What are the chances that I would have written something that was head-slappingly stupid, and how many years would it be before I knew enough to be embarrassed and regretful?
Well, today is Bad Chart Thursday, so I did the obvious: I charted the amount of stupid shit I said by age, expressed as a percentage of the total amount of things I said.
As you can see, I began life not making coherent statements, and so the total amount of stupid shit I said was zero. As I learned to speak, everything I said for the first few years was a finely polished pearl of wisdom.
Around the time I entered first grade, though, you can see that the percentage of stupid shit I said took quite a leap. It was still at a manageable level until puberty, when the amount of stupid shit I said skyrocketed to over 75%, and continued to rise to over 90% until the day I left home and started college in a faraway town where I had to learn to survive on my own. It continued to drop until it was back down to a manageable 30% or so, where it remains today.
That’s my chart, and I was not raised by ignorant bigots. Imagine #6’s chart! Her parents took her to a protest against love! The amount of stupid shit she says must be exponentially increased due to the particular stupid, hateful fantasies that her parents have filled her head with.
So, I don’t know, maybe let’s not make fun of those kids. In, oh, six to ten years they’ll be facing the ultimate punishment of having visual evidence of the stupid shit they said as kids.