Friday, April 8, 2011

GASP! - Conversation Overheard

The letter G is for GASP!

Okay ... my regular followers know I like to eavesdrop ... really, who doesn't? Truth!

Wednesday, I had to pull my daughter from school for an orthodontist appointment (a-whole-nother story). While I was walking from the parking lot to the entrance of the school, I eavesdropped on the two teenage boys walking behind me.

Conversation caught in the middle:

Guy with two ear rings: Can't he drive you?
Guy in purple jacket: No! My brother can't drive anywhere now.
GIPJ: The last time he drove he killed someone.
GWTER: What!?
GIPJ: Yeah, but it's no big deal. It wasn't his fault.
GWTER: Who died? Someone in his car?
GIPJ: No. The other guy who hit him.
GWTER: Died?
GIPJ: Yeah. He was on a motorcycle, and he hit my brother's car.
GWTER: Is your brother in trouble?
GIPJ: No. Worst he'll get is involuntary manslaughter. But, it wasn't his fault.


Seriously? Someone is dead and GIPJ was only focusing on the fact that it wasn't his brother's fault.

It makes me wonder if our teenagers are desensitized to death and violence. They see so MUCH more of it than previous generations.

I wanted to turn around and shake him.

When we reached the doors, I held it open for him so I could get a good look at his face. He was not joking. His face was sad. Maybe that's just the way teenage boys talk, or justify in their heads, or avoid emotion; but OH. MY. GASP!

Are teenagers desensitized to death?


  1. great bit of dark dialogue to pick up on.
    Moody Writing

  2. What a good question! I think the answer is yes, too many violent movies, games, and even the news! The media has created a monster that has grown over the years. Sad, truely sad.

  3. Gasp That is appalling isn't it?
    I think society these days is down to all rights and no responsibility, so that would explain such a cold response. :O/

  4. I would have been gasping too. It's a wonder you didn't say something to them. You say that kids today see so much death that they're desensitized but those boys would have been in the trenches in the first world war and then they wouldn't have been so dismissive.

  5. I would've been in shock, too. Equally stunned that this kid's brother was involved in that type of accident.

  6. It is said you don't really know how to live if you fear death. Difficult to trust that everything is for a reason. This will shift these boys for the rest of their lives. And perhaps the readers of this blog.

  7. Gosh Now that was a piece of overheard conversation to gasp at! I'm really nosey, so I'm alway ear-wigging. LOL.

    Ellie Garratt

  8. GASP. I do worry some for the kids coming up. They seem disconnected rather directionless. Even with my generation as wild and crazy as it was, there was direction and connectivity; anti-war, civil rights, women's rights, free love....

  9. I know I am. I see a dead body in every morning's paper (and they don't even cover them up here in Mexico). I have become desensitized. If I am, I can imagine the young people here are too.

  10. I see it in my students. My male students love me to read anything that has war, death, blood, violence, and fighting. They play a lot of Halo, Warcraft, etc. I can get them hooked on a book just by saying someone dies. It's sad. We're reading The Hunger Games right now and they love it.

  11. With all these stupid wars and killings and everything, I'm surprised we're not worse. Just wait a couple hundred years. We'll be like the people in The Capitol (The Hunger Games) watching people die for our entertainment.

  12. Holy gasp. Maybe he was trying to talk himself into the fact that everything was okay because it wasn't his brother's fault.

    Violence is over-rated. At least that's what I keep telling my teenage son. Perhaps one day it will sink in.

  13. Who knows what was important to him? Boys spend a lot of energy trying to look 'cool' and uncaring. Although the conversation leaves me with the impression that he was slightly peeved with his brother for not being available to drive. Great bit of theater.

    BTW, I've been known to ignore my dining companion because I'm listening in on others' table talk!

  14. I don't necessarily think it's a matter of desensitization, but teens (boys, especially) think they're invincible. They have no sense of their own mortality, so I don't think they can relate to death. They don't really get it unless it touches them in a more immediate way (like if his brother had died).

    But a great convo to overhear and possibly use in some way in your own writing!

  15. *Gasp* is right! That is one distrubing conversation.

  16. I wouldn't call him desensitized. If he was sad, perhaps he was just in denial. Or he didn't want to think of his brother as a killer so he repeats that single fact to himself over and over again. Just so make the burden less so. I wouldn't call him desensitized right off the bat, so I give him the benefit of the doubt.

  17. I wouldn't say they are completely desensitized, but death has sadly become a norm for them. I remember two kids from my high school class dying in a car crash - that kind of thing never happened. But today - I see it happen to so many. It's sad. It's like their sense of immortality has escalated exponentially in the past ten years.

  18. Sounds like he was desensitized to it. Maybe if he would have known the person who died he would have had a different reaction. Sad story.

  19. I will refrain from going too deep into a controversial (and polarizing) political/religious issue, but if society can rationalize that unnamed behavior, they can rationalize anything.

    Sadly, my belief is that as a society we are desensitized to death, and it is not just our young.

    There was a golden rule I heard of ("do unto other...") that turns out to be pretty good advice and used to guide our actions.

    The chap who said it was pretty bright.

    Now the rule seems to be every man (and woman) for themselves, and trying to see who can die with the most toys.

    I believe America is headed for some hard times, and I hope that they will be a wakeup call for people to just give a damn about each other again.


  20. Unfortunately, I think we are desensitized to death and violence. Teens will see murders and assaults in video games, on television and in the movies. And to think more people are upset by the thought of teens seeing naked body parts. Great, thought-provoking post.

  21. Omigod, there is a collective gasp as we all read this. As my son gets older (16 now), I hear more and more crazy things coming out of teenagers' mouths. Luckily not from him.