Jennifer Graham has this column in National Review Online about the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Boston’s decision to provide concierge services to area college students to help them, as a Ritz-Carlton spokesman put it, get through “the agony” of college life:
But for kids with $150K to blow and nothing better to do, college remains a draw, daily agony and all. And so employees of the Boston Ritz’ thrilled, no doubt, will soon be delivering freshly baked cookies to Harvard Square, dispatching chauffeurs to Boston College, and laundering blue jeans collected from Brandeis. We can all sleep better tonight, knowing that our best and brightest won’t be troubled with the pesky details of, well, life….
We can’t blame the kids. They’re not the ones trying to raise the driving age to 17 (that would be the Massachusetts legislature), or writing child-support checks to their grown-up offspring in such numbers that the New York Times wrote last week on the trend. No, it’s the Baby Boom parents who gave us the Boomerang kids, and we should have seen them coming. They bring to mind A Christmas Carol and the ragged children Scrooge saw hiding in the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Present: ‘He tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.’
The boy, of course, was Ignorance; the girl, Want. The Boomerang children, were they to slip beneath the Spirit’s robe, would not be nearly so threatening. Their names are Gimme and I-Don’t-Want-To-Work-That-Hard. They are good-natured creatures; their lives have not been difficult, and so they harbor little malice or dread. They have neither worked very hard, nor seen hard work performed, at least not by people to whom they’re related.
Hard work meaning any sustained effort that causes us to think deeply or perspire heavily used to be something that only the very rich or the very lazy could avoid. But work avoidance is now the obsession of the Baby Boom bourgeois, who, if not able to afford nannies, maids, and gardeners, ecstatically purchase leaf blowers, central vacs, and Swiffers and, weary from the exertion of shopping, order take-out meals when they’re done.
But as Jennifer says, it’s not exactly the pampered kids who are to blame; it’s their ever-pampering parents.