DIGITAL NATIVES AND CYBER ALIENS- POETIC JUSTICE

Since the PS3 started malfunctioning, and the TV in the kids room developed a fault, the kids have been spending more time with their books, or so I think. I was watching an Adult Movie this afternoon when they returned from school. You can imagine the alacrity with which I put off the DVD player and switched to cable TV. They met me watching Mythbuster on Discovery Channel, and they were taking positions to join in watching TV. I knew that within a minute they would have convinced me to change channel to Cartoon Networks or Boomerang.

I did a quick calculation, put on my stern face and said to them:

“Hey, You guys can’t sit down to watch TV now; go up and take your shower, change and come down for your meal before TV.”

They obeyed grudgingly, raced each other upstairs to their room, banged, and shoved, and crashed, and yelled, and splashed- doing what kids always do- turning the house into a bedlam- in a jiffy, they were back in the living room, trailing water and making tiny footprints on the marble floor. I knew I hadn’t heard the last of their expressed wish to watch TV. To deter them, I hustle them into the kitchen, served them Jollof Rice in heaps I hoped would keep them riveted till I am done with the programme on TV. But they were back in the living room almost at the same instant I got there. Belly bulging, lips shinny, and hands dripping water, they were taking vantage viewing positions on the sofa already.

“Why don’t you guys go and do your home works?”

“I have done my home work o!”
“Me too, I have done my home work too”

“So… What do you guys want to do now?

They looked at each other, turned their gaze at me like I was some specimen in a test tube and replied at once, “we want to watch cartoon”

“But there is no cartoon showing now!”
I pointed out forlornly.

In reply to that, and as if to prove a point, Junior dove for the remote control, but Chukwuteim, being the more agile one of the two, beat him to it, and suddenly Cartoon network was on the screen. And their visage was calcified in an instant into that peculiar TV-Viewing mode observable among nowadays kids- eyes as wide as Mickey Mouse’s, and mouth gapping like Elmo’s, and drooling like Sponge Bob. I like cartoons too. I grew up watching , Tom And Jerry and Donald Duck, myself, and I was a cartoon buff in those good old days and I had a dose of Sesame Street and Telly Tubies for good measure to balance things out. So what’s going on here? I have been overpowered here. But I tried again:

“I see, you guys have not been reading you books these days have you? you’ve been watching too much television lately”.

“Ahhh! No o! We have been reading o! We have been reading for three days now o!” Said Chukwuteim

“It’s true, we have read all the books finish” supported Junior.

I knew they were lying. Today’s kids are from hell or somewhere much more darker than that. How could they wield so much authority in things not concerning books? As a matter of fact, they’ve not shown much interest in the new fairytale series I bought them yesterday. The books remained unopened on the balcony where I had handed the package to them. I was getting annoyed the way they have hoodwinked me. These little imps. Are these the kind of leaders we will have tomorrow? Life is going to get nastier and more brutish than the days of the juntas. Unless perhaps something is done to re-orient the next generation of leaders, or curb the selfish nature of these little ones. Until we assert our adult authority, we are in for very big troubles.

I was killing my brain cells, going grey trying to rationalise- trying to make sense of the Generation Gap Warfare, fearing to take a rash decision in dealing with the unbecoming exuberance of these little ones. When I ran out of logic, I started a silent prayer to God for help. Then it happened as Ben 10 was just smacking his wristwatch that would transform him to a monster, the power was suddenly cut. The screen went black, And quietude returned as the screaming, screeching and chattering from the TV ceased in an instant.

The kids, as expected of Lagos Children, lamented the power outtage:

“Oooh fuck NEPA! God damn NEPA!”

They both turned to looked at me, I saw suspicion, accusation, and challenge in their young eyes. I kept my cool, their looks changed to a silent plea for help to bring the light back on, but I shrugged my shoulders and said, under my breathe,

“POETIC JUSTICE”

I quietly gloat at their plight. “Serves them right, the little imps”. I have never been grateful for a power cut, but that moment, I was grateful for the intractable problem of sudden power outtage that is besetting our dear country.

They were disgruntled, frowning and cussing away at NEPA and the power that be.

I didn’t bother to censor their use of foul language for this one time. I was too consumed in my gloatting over my point score.

The meaning of POETIC JUSTICE has never been clearer to me than that material moment in time. But how long can this cloak and dagger game between the Generation X and the Olde Worlde continue? They have become the Natives, and we grown ups have become the Aliens. We are in charge, but they seem to be taking over, somehow.

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