Should we blame the kids for not finding work? Or should we help them figure out what to do this summer if they're jobless?
Reggie Noble: If I were a college-bound teen without a job for the summer, I would, wait for it, get a g*ddamn job. And I'll tell you why.
Those of us not born with a silver spoon in our mouths face an almost-impossible-to-climb hill when it comes to financing a university education. I sacrificed sun, beers, and road trips all in the name of a moderately palatable paycheck each and every summer. Not doing so would have left me more with more than double the debt I currently face, which is already crippling.
Fun in your teens is bad*ss, yes, but there's a sliding scale. When you're young and have virtually no responsibility outside of cleaning up wet-dream spooge and occasionally mowing the lawn, excess fun isn't appreciated as much as a work-a-day adult whose free seconds are typically spent filling out paperwork or picking up sh*t from the store for your wife so she can make dinner. It's sad, but true.
Add to that the fact that fun costs money. Don't let those pithy sayings about the best things in life being free make one bit of impact. It's fortune-cookie nonsense.
Jobs a 16- or 17-year-old lands are infinitely less taxing than the ones you get when you're older. At the time, they seem hard. A couple years removed, however, and you realize you spent 80 percent of the time either flirting or texting. They also don't require around-the-clock stress. Some jackass doesn't get his fries fast enough? Big f*cking deal. Blow a deadline when you're older, and that's got real consequences.
Yeah, I'm old and bitter. Get a job, kids. It won't kill you.
Robb Stark: If I were a jobless kid, I would make sure to say the words “the economy” at least ten times a day, particularly in settings that involve friends' parents. This would evoke prolonged stretches of sympathetic head-nodding, and would essentially serve as a free pass secretly drink in the woods with my one other jobless friend.
I'd then take a nap, complain about how it wasn't that good of a nap, and watch Maury. I'd watch so much Maury that I'd have every single line in my back pocket to use at the best possible moment in any social setting.
I would also start a blog solely dedicated to figuring out why high school girls sports teams are obsessed with making matching t shirts.
Brandon Wenerd: I also would have had a f*cking job.
You can spend your early twenties eating molly at music festivals or dicking off in Europe. Graduating high school isn't some Nobel Prize-worthy accomplishment that merits a summer-free-for-all. By societal standards, graduating high school is doing exactly what was expected of you. There's no trophy for hitting par; no reason for a “We're going to Disney World!” moment.
And, to channel my inner-Ron Swanson, I think these kids who are whining about not finding summer jobs are coddled, uncreative crybabies. Sh*t like this is the reason why countries like Finland are leading in global innovation while the U.S. continues to slips away in the rankings due to general sloth and delusions of grandeur that “the world owes us a job.” It does not.
During all of high school, I worked my balls off in the dining room/banquet facilities at a country club. By the time the summer before college rolled around, I was 18 at the time, so there were absolutely zero excuses to not pull 40-60 hours week, sometimes 12-14 hours at a time on Saturdays and Sundays. And I took all the overtime I could get, because the money was f*cking awesome, even when making $2.83 an hour + tips. And despite spending an entire summer dealing with country club member politics and sweating my ass off in black wool pants and a white Oxford serving Arnold Palmers and cleaning up after weddings, it still ended up being one best summers of my life thanks to working alongside some of my best friends. I'd never trade some of those life moments for some sort of overprivileged free-for-all.
I have no pity on any kid using the economy as an excuse to opt out of a summer job. As my grandfather says, “There's no excuses for boredom; There's always something to do.” Even if you live in a rural bum-f*ck-Egypt town straight out of 16 and Pregnant, you can still get creative. Learn to hawk your hoarding neighbor's junk on Ebay. Go sell bottled water in an amphitheater parking lot. Make something. There's just no excuse to spend a summer of one's youth coming up with pathetic excuses.
Andy Moore: Sans job, I finally get around to creating a game that I've always thought would be pretty sweet if it were made. Okay, roll with me here: 2 teams, a basketball court, the game of HORSE. Only instead of HORSE, you use baseball rules. The shot closest to the basket is a single, then the shot farther back is a double, then a triple, and the longest shot is a home run. To mix things up, you can “pysche-out” opponents by getting in their face while they're shooting and hurl insults at them. Pretty soon, I'm pretty sure the game would sweep the country and I'd make friends with the guys from my all-time favorite band, Reel Big Fish.
I'm being told I just described the plot of Baseketball.
I guess I would just end up drinking and going to the beach or something.