The Difference between Going to Burning Man and being One

This is it, my “Hey, kids, get off my lawn” moment. I have a good reason, though. I don’t want the kids setting fire to my lawn when they set fire to themselves.

Sure, your teen years are when you express yourself, when you start discovering who you are, when you–in simple terms–spend six years acting like a complete idiot. You’re a jerk. You talk back to your parents. You protest a war or two. It’s what you do.

Oh, wait, that’s what we did. We wore our hair too long (and sometimes didn’t wash it often enough–you know who you are). We sulked and we snuck around and we smoked a little pot (or a lot of pot. Your choice.) But we never filmed ourselves doing all this stuff, because we knew that if you left evidence, you might get caught. We sure as hell never put ourselves on the Internet doing stupid and quasi-legal things, and we never set ourselves on fire just because we could film it and SHOW THE WORLD how incredibly stupid we were. I mean–really? Who told you that self-immolation was a good way to become famous? When they say your star will burn brightly, it’s a metaphor! ˆThere’s a difference between going to Burning Man and being one.

But then again, maybe this is all for the best. Because in a few years, when you’re looking to get married and (God help us all) have kids, your prospective mates will check out your Internet history, because, well, your entire life is on the web, so why not? (Don’t complain you have no privacy if you live like a reality show celebutante.) And your future spouse will see that, once upon a time, you jumped into a swimming pool to put out a person who was on fire, and lo and behold that person was you. And you had done it on purpose. And your future spouse will delete your number and marry some kid who isn’t a suicidal loser.

So, yes, please, stay off of my lawn. My fire insurance won’t cover you. And while you’re at it, stay out of my swimming pool, too. The pool guy doesn’t come until Friday and I don’t want to have to skim your ashes out of the water.

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