I’ve had occasion to consider this word, troglodyte, recently while watching the fast moving, ever evolving wave of current events unfolding in our country. It’s a different America than the one I grew up in, for certain. I really appreciate the the Internet, my phone (sometimes!), and all the other amenities of today that weren’t around when I grew up in the late 70s and 80s. There’s been some wonderful developments.
There have also been some not-so-great developments, even in the past 20 years, and I find myself longing not only for the simplicity of days gone by, but lamenting the loss of old-fashioned values that formed the way I viewed the world. In truth, many of those values were falling out of vogue even as my dad was teaching them to us. But I don’t think anyone could have anticipated how far away from sanity we would fall in such a short period of time. I am, to get to the point, what some would disparagingly refer to as a troglodyte:
Definition of troglodyte
1 : a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves
2 : a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes
It should be obvious, but the second definition is more relatable than the first, although neanderthal-ish could also be used to described those of us who believe that the thousands of years of accumulated human wisdom might have something to teach us today. And yes, I recognize that there has never been such a thing as “the good old days”. Even ostensibly idyllic eras such as the 1950s were rife with injustice and sin, but our inability to drain the bathwater without aborting the baby (literally or figuratively) doesn’t speak very well of this era.
One area in which my troglodyte perspective comes rushing forward is, if you hadn’t noticed, the destruction of childhood as a time of innocence, learning, and growth. In particular, this spot by comedian Jeff Allen brings to mind how much common sense we learned simply by virtue of being allowed to play, fall, scrape knees or even break bones. It’s funny to me, while also a little poignant because I know how much today’s children miss out on because we supervise them to within an inch of their lives.
It’s clean as well as funny five minutes, so you can watch it without worrying about what he might say: