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97_98_articles/Tribunea.TXT

An Odd Little Group



I am thirteen years old, which would qualify me for the label Ďteenager.í Also, some people would think that I could be put under the label Ďreckless endangerment to toddlers, adults, seniors and the general public.í Unfortunately, many people think this about many teenagers, and I think thatís just not fair.

You see, teenagers are an odd little group of people. Big noses and tiny ears, big ears and tiny noses, big noses and big ears. We skateboard, rollerblade, dance, idle, sleep, hurt, write columns for the Tribune, make video games, yell at each other, and more stuff than I could name. But thatís just us, the odd little teenagers. Of course, many people just think, ďOh no. Heís about 14 or 15. We better stay away from him. Heís a teenager.Ē But the problem with that idea is that not all of us are bad, and sometimes I just plain hate that stereotype.

Of course, there are the real menaces to society who are teenagers. Plenty of Ďem. Just the other day a few of them cut some ten year oldís hair. But then thereís the rest of us. The ones who go to school, shut up, listen to the teacher, raise our hands (once in awhile) , go home, do the homework, eat, and then sleep. Weíre not just waiting all day for somebody to torment. Some kids do, but the majority of us donít.

Take me, for example. Iíve been labeled with Ďmean, gangster trouble-makerí more than once. I have a flattop haircut so sometimes when Iím in the mall Iím just walking by a parent and I get this look of disgust from him or her, as if to say, ďOh yuck. Get back to your gang you freak.Ē Of course, this only comes from parents with small children. Everybody else who already has teenagers in the home are surprised to see one (namely, me) walking down the mall not yelling or laughing.

But even if you do count in all the teenage trouble makers, they are far outnumbered by the adult freaks out there. Murderers, cultists, insane peopleÖthey all are usually adults. You donít see in the newspaper too often that a 12-year old kid goes running on top of the Empire State Building with an automatic weapon shooting the daylights out of everything around it, only to kill oneself in the end. No, usually those are the adults who are doing that. The adults that possibly, as a teen, got labeled as a gangster.

Hereís another prime example-take a look at the the teens on Channel 12ís Special Announcement. If you watch the show and donít pay attention at all to what theyíre saying or doing, you might just think that they look like bad kids. But if you watch the show and actually listen to what theyíre talking about, youíll find out that these kids have better ideas and go-get-it-ness than a lot of adults. Itís actually a really good show, made by, dare we say it, teenagers!

Also, go look at the web search engine Yahoo!ģ at www.yahoo.com It was actually made by some teenagers, and the content there is incredibly good! Of course, Iím sure that they have hired a whole bunch of adults to work on the web site, but Iím sure that the kids are still inputting a whole bunch of time into that great search engine. Iím guessing now that Iíve told you that this site is run by kids that at least one of you will think twice about going there next time youíre on the web. But please donít. Like whatís on some commercial, there is no age on the internet. So please donít act like there is.

So hereís a suggestion I might make to adults to lower this unfair stereotyping. The next time you see a teenager, maybe just give them a smile, even if they look like they could be a future convict. Iíve learned that even the worst looking teens have some good stuffed in there somewhere, and all they need is a little bit of pulling and prying to get it out.



Karl Becker




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