On Our Young People

“I don’t mind telling you, though,” Mrs. Bowman remarked, “sometimes when I see one of those teenagers looking like that, I’m afraid. I move to the other side of the street.”

“The other day,” Mr. Magundi said, “I was looking out my third-floor window when I saw a young man—I might guess fourteen or fifteen years old—walking up the street. He was strolling very slowly, with that rolling gait fashionable among young men of his age, and occasionally twitching his arms in a passable imitation of a dangerous psychopath, which is another very fashionable affectation among young men. He had obviously put a great deal of thought into projecting an appearance of menace, doubtless with a view to his reputation among his peers. Then, as I watched unseen, he looked up and down the street to make sure he was not observed, and stooped to pet a friendly grey cat on the sidewalk.

“I don’t know whether this story has a moral or not: I offer it merely as an anthropological study.”

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