When the words Assisted Living and Paradise
Have become synonymous
Generations X, Y and Z will wonder
Where we went wrong raising the youth of tomorrow
Sometimes, I wonder too

As still-kicking centurions
Each morning, we’ll gladly text message our nurses
With our needs for the day
And a series of tubes will spit useless amounts of
Sugary protein and vitamin C into our mouths

Watching the grass grow for hours and hours out of a lonely window
The crippling boredom once rampant in homes of truer times
Will be replaced by Windows
Miles and miles of internet-ready computer labs
Just one-click interaction with friends old and new
Entertainment, games and all of the world’s knowledge as easy as G-oo-g-l-e

When our grandkids come for a mandatory monthly visit
We’ll look upon their un-pierced, dirt-smeared faces and
Implore them to live a little
Get a tattoo or play some Nintendo
To which they’ll roll their eyes and reply
“Come on, Grandpa. Only old people have tattoos.”

Yes, the youth of tomorrow will have greatly regressed
I am sorry to report
While we’ll be whisked away in video game epics of 4-D Second Life
Filled with dragons, magic and the occasional sub-machinegun
A veritable Choose-Your-Own-Adventure movie starring ourselves and
Whichever Lady Madonnaga amalgamation from our time we prefer
Our kids will be cooped up outside
Sprinting after fireflies through the meadows we had so neglected
Raising buffalo and chickens to one day eat and feed the soil
Already pleased with the world before them

They’ll share stories alright
But not the ones we’ve become accustomed to
Our tales of Mork and Mindy, Edward and Bella, Zarthon and Debbie
(I’m guessing on that last one)
No, they’ll speak about the stars, a day’s work, the sight of a soaring bird
All described without the aid of a YouTube or Flickr account
They’ll joke about us and
How we spend all of our time living online
Fidgeting with some doodad
As we multitask our minds and bodies away from constructiveness
They’ll laugh about how we’ve forgotten how to have a conversation without a keyboard
Or kick a soccer ball
Or cook meals
Or experience the chill of a breeze brushing hair and scalp
Or smell the invigorating toxin of tree sap and feel the tickle of mountain air on lungs
Or sense the touch of a loved one’s anxious fingertips on our necks

The youth of tomorrow will vow
They’ll vow never to become their vain, video-gaming, social networking, Netflix-watching
And they’ll wonder how we got that way anyway

After a long day of working behind a computer monitor
And watching the latest episode of Whatever’s Popular on Hulu
Sometimes, I wonder too