Tuesday, 28 February 2017

09:16 – It was 41F (5C) when I took Colin out this morning around 0700. It’s currently up to 52F (11C), with today’s high forecast in the mid-60’s. Tomorrow evening, a blizzard moves in, with a light dusting of snow in the forecast. Barbara is volunteering at the Friends of the Library bookstore this afternoon, but the rest of the week we’ll be working on science kit stuff.

Several comments recently about anniversaries. I’d be interested in seeing a comparison of the marriage habits of deplorables versus progs. My impression is that deplorables tend to marry when they’re 18 to 30 years old, and stay married for a long, long time, while progs tend either to not marry or to marry and then soon divorce. That’s a gross generalization, of course, but in my experience it tends to be true. Not that there aren’t deplorables who are divorced, particularly some who married young and divorced soon after. But many of those later remarried and stayed married.

Last night, Barbara mentioned a conversation with a friend whose soon-to-be-16-year-old son is giving her fits. The other night, he climbed out his bedroom window and was gone all night, out with friends. They didn’t do any really bad stuff, except they decided to go street racing. As she was telling me the tale, I thought “boys will be boys”. Turns out, the friend’s husband had exactly the same reaction. He’d done the same kind of stuff as a teenager (as had I), and he said every guy he knew had done the same kind of stuff. It’s just being a boy growing into a man, but women don’t really understand.

It’s what boys do and have done throughout history and across cultures. It’s what happens when pubescent boys are exposed for the first time to a flood of testosterone. It makes them grow faster, taller, bigger, stronger, and much more aggressive. They become young warriors, in other words. That’s a couple million years of evolution in action, and there’s nothing societal pressure can do to change their behavior.

The problem, of course, is that those changes are also responsible for the very high number of accidental deaths among teenage boys. Teenage boys feel immortal, which again is just part of preparing them for their role as young warriors. If you’re going to face a man with a sword or spear who’s intent on hacking you to pieces, you damned well better feel immortal or you’re going to turn and run. So teenage boys are programmed not to turn and run, even when that’s the rational course of action.

For the last hundred years or so, teenage boys have been proving themselves to themselves and their friends by driving like maniacs. The problem is, they really are as good as they think they are, almost. Their vision is the best it will ever be, as are their motor skills and reaction times. What they utterly lack is experience, and that’s what kills a lot of them. And it’s also why every parent of a teenage boy is terrified at the thought of them out there driving like a maniac.

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