Posted by: jgurner | September 16, 2013

This Post Is Going To Be Boring

Did you realize that being bored is the worst thing in the world?

Let me set the situation up for you:

“I’m bored,” the young ‘un says on a long, lazy summer afternoon.

“Find something to do,” I reply.

The young ‘un tromps around the house for 10 or 15 minutes and then repeats “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”

I look around the living room. There’s a TV with a Blu-ray player hooked up to it and stacks of movies and TV shows on the shelf behind it. There’s a Wii hooked up to the TV. There are two computers. There are hundreds of books on the bookshelves lining the living room walls. In the young ‘uns’ room there’s another TV and DVD player, a Playstation, more movies, more books. There are board games, handheld video games, card games. And that’s not even mentioning the five acres of land in this place called “outside” that’s just aching to be explored.

I try to explain this, but it’s going nowhere.

“There’s just nothing to do,” comes the complaint again.

I make the suggestion that, if that is the case, then there are dishes that need to be washed, clothes that need to be washed and put away, grass that needs to be cut, etc. Any of these would be a fine solution to the current level of listlessness.

Again, this goes nowhere and the young ‘un continues plodding around the house announcing her boredom. I go back to whatever it is I’m doing. Something boring I’m sure.

Being bored, I have come to find out, is one of the most terrible, horrible things that can happen to you. Failing a test. No big deal. Getting in trouble at school. Nothing. Losing an eye in an icepick fight. A mere shadow to the horrors that come with a slow afternoon, when none of your friends are calling or texting and there is “nothing to do.”

Sadly, I’ve been unaware of the awfulness of boredom for more than four decades. I was well aware of boredom, but just didn’t realize all of the traumatic effects it must have had on me. (Okay, I’m well aware of the trauma that has come from actions taken to alleviate my boredom at times, but that’s a different story.)

Rather, in an obviously misguided effort, I’ve tried to tell the young ‘un that being bored is really not such a bad thing and that it’s actually good to be bored sometimes. Boy, was I wrong, because it really is the absolutely worst thing ever.

It’s sad, when I think back to my childhood to know that all the adventures I had that stemmed from a boring summer afternoon, all the woods I romped through, all the “forts” I built, all the wanderings around on bike or on foot, were the result of the most evil of human conditions. I hate to realize that all the great books I read on long, boring winter nights, all of the records I listened too and all of the practicing I did on my French horn were all tainted with the foulness of boredom.

And, really, I guess, we must have had a lot of it. I mean growing up I was so underprivileged. Only one TV and it only got about half a dozen channels, two of witch were, *gasp*, educational TV. No video games. No computer until I was a senior in high school, but even then, Al Gore had yet to invent the Internets, so what’s the use. No cell phone. Only one house phone. A few board games, sure and, of course, hundreds of books lining the walls.

Now that I think about it, how did I survive?

And now, I hear others talking about their young  ‘uns having to struggle with the same horrible bouts of boredom. At least I’m not alone. Apparently, it’s epidemic. Children everywhere are being stricken by this most malevolent malady and parents are having to work harder and harder to stave off this crippling affliction.

But I fear that, ultimately, there’s nothing to be done. Sooner or later there’s going to come a Sunday afternoon where the young ‘un will once again feel blasé about the world around her and there will be nothing left to dissipate  the feeling. There will be no stimuli adequate to help pull her from the ravages of her ennui. All will be lost. There will be nothing but darkness.

And all I will be able to do on that day is weep. Weep for her and for all of those young people everywhere who have had to experience the true vileness that is boredom.

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