I am afraid for the rising generation. I don’t know if they will have the intellectual wattage to handle what life may will throw at them.

Case in point: I dropped by Taco Bell for a quick lunch away from work. While I was there finishing up my current read, I overheard a conversation next to me between two people I would guess to be in their late teens, and the Taco Bell assistant manager. The two teens had been given the food they had ordered, but it wasn’t what the girl wanted. I know it was what they ordered because they checked the order ticket against the actual food, but the girl complained that it wasn’t what she thought it would be. The assistant manager offered to make a quick order of Nachos BellGrande for her, since that was what the girl really wanted.

Now I can understand saying one thing while meaning to say another, since it is very easy to get your tongue tangled up in spoonerisms and malaprops. I have problems with thinking one thing but saying another, sometimes because I’m looking at the wrong thing, and I know that I can’t type one word while saying another. Either I’ll type what I’m saying or start saying what I’m typing. So I don’t fault her on not ordering exactly what she wanted. But here’s why I’m concerned for the rising generation — she couldn’t understand the simple words the assistant manager was using to explain.

The assistant manager said she would get the Nachos BellGrande that the girl originally wanted, but she needed to know if the two still wanted the food they ordered, or would rather have it tossed. The girl said that the manager could just take it back behind the counter for the next customer since they hadn’t touched it. The manager replied that she couldn’t do that, because once food was handed to the customer, it couldn’t be brought back behind the counter because of health rules. The couple’s options were to keep their original order and eat the nachos that were coming, or toss the order and eat the coming nachos. Again and again the girl said that there was no need to toss the order since the manager could just take it back for another customer, and again and again the manager told her that she couldn’t do that. This conversation went around and around five times. The guy finally told the manager to bring the nachos when they were done, and that they’d keep the current order. Hearing this, the manager left to start making the nachos. I heard the girl complaining to the boy that she still didn’t understand what was going on.

At this point I decided my brain was in danger of exploding, so I headed out, shaking my head at the inability of this girl to understand a simple concept even when it was explained to her multiple times. I have to wonder whether her demonstrated intelligence — or lack thereof — is indicative of the general intelligence in our rising generation.

Heaven help us if it is.

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