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‘Generation Wuss?  What’s all that about? Brassie asked me as she tried

to decipher what I was studying in a newspaper borrowed from the rack

in Costamuchamoulah cafe’s complimentary reading material.

Oh, it’s just that American Psycho guy- you know, the writer Bret Easton

Ellis, sounding off in ‘Vanity Fair’ about those born post-1989.  He calls them

self-obsessed, narcissistic, over-sensitive…

That’s a bit harsh, surely?

Well, he does admit that he has expressed ‘huge generalities’ but he

thinks many are unable to accept constructive criticism and buy into a

currency of popularity, dealing mainly in brands, profiles and merely

rating social media presence.

Kids have always been slammed by previous generations, Brassie

remarked.  There has always been a divide between shiftless

layabouts and those with a developed work ethic.

Like the Prodigal Son, I declared.  But The Elder Brother wasn’t

congratulated on his mean attitude.  The workers in the vineyard

who turned up late, but did some work, were given the same

wages.  And the people of St Kilda received the same ration of gugas

and gannets, whatever they did.

However, I expect that if they had overslept on their straw mattresses

and plugged themselves into their i-pads, or whatever, when there was

a gannet gathering expedition taking place, their mums would soon have

emptied a cruse of fulmar oil over their heads, or slapped them with a

wind-dried puffin..

I have been known to precipitate action myself, but I only use water,

Brassie admitted.

If the Prodigal Son’s father hadn’t agreed to giving him his inheritance

so soon, perhaps his wastrel son wouldn’t have expended it all on

riotous living.  Maybe his father wanted him to make his own choices.

Yes, said Brassie, it’s always dangerous to let people make their own

mistakes and it does impinge on other people.  It’s hard to strike the


A typical dilemma of Biblical proportions, I agreed.  What do you think

of this topical poem I scribbled at five thirty this morning?

Let’s have a look, she sighed.


The Fatted Calf speaks:


No, the Golden Calf was a relation,

but nobody bows down, or worships me.

I’ve been a long time in the fattening,

unlike those who claim, I don’t eat that much,

but who keep piling on pound after pound-

or should I say minas, pims and bekahs?

I’ve been stuffed to the gunnels and force-fed

over a fairly lengthy period:

I’d say since about the time the boy left.

Every day his father filled my manger;

he’d talk to me while tears streamed down his cheeks.

The elder son, the one who was jealous,

thought he’d sink his teeth into me one day-

maybe as the main course at his wedding,

but none of the girls like his attitude.

He still has a mother to care for him,

though she keeps comfort eating all day long.

But my mater was sold off long ago

and my younger brother was sacrificed.

I’ve felt separation anxiety!


Apparently, he was living it up

on some all-expenses paid gap year.

Now his mamma regrets ever nagging:

Tidy your room. It looks like a pig sty!

The gossip is he’s had to take a job:

Trust Fund Kid is working as a swineherd.

The Bank of Dad is into overdraft.

He’s discovered he can’t make a silk purse

out of a sow’s ear. Enough is a trough.

He’s never going to bring home the bacon.

But at least his porcine companions

don’t wallow like humans in self-pity.


In our own ways, we’re confined to our stalls-

unless he swallows his pride and comes home.

Meanwhile I’m feeling about to explode.

The elder son is imprisoned too.

His father confines himself to the farm,

not going out in case his son should call.


You could say I’m being killed by kindness

and maybe the boy feels that he was too.

Lord knows, he was a party animal,

but we could all do with cheering up now.