top of page

How Did You Ever Get to Be So Cynical, Old Man?

It’s funny for me to hear such a question from ‘kids’ these days.

Like I’ve said many times, a ‘kid’ to me is anyone aged forty and below.

Yeah…I am that Old Man, but to be fair, there are still old men around that call me ‘kid’.

These kids are so full of the promise of a ‘better world’ that they can’t even comprehend the possibility of a lesser place.

It doesn’t matter what you lived through, old man, times have changed…that kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. We’re changing the world to the way it ‘should be’.

Ah, youth.

In a way, I envy them all. You reach a certain point in life where all of your innocence and virginity of thought have vanished from sight. And you are left with the resulting cynicism that replaced them. Sad to think about it that way, but I believe it’s true. And it has to be that way.

The flourishing cynicism fosters growth in unusual places.

The flourishing cynicism fosters growth in societal ‘norms’.

The flourishing cynicism forces tangible changes, BUT only for those who will come long after us.

That’s right…the kids, side-by-side with the cynical old folks, combine to force the changes that all of us want but can never seem to grab ahold of in our times.

Why am I so cynical? That’s big part of why.

All that I’ve seen and done and lived in this life so far have created such a frustrated want for something better. At the same time, I can see it out there, just out of arms-reach, waiting for a future generation to pluck it. Just not mine.

The other side of ‘why’ is tied to specific points in time that rang this reality in my head as clear as a church bell.

Here’s a couple of cynicism-nurturing moments from my time…

I watched as the VP of the USA was schooled – on TV – in simple spelling by a grade school girl. And he argued with the little girl that he was right when he was so egregiously wrong.

And if anything happened to the President, this guy would take over? Holy Shit!

For a while, every day we woke up had an uncertain ending.

We never knew for sure if we would make it home alive at night.

There was the highway sniper, randomly shooting folks while they pumped gas or opened the door to their cars. Such a simple, miniscule part of the day for so many of us, and all of a sudden, you might get killed doing it.

And when it was all over and the sniper was finally arrested, the world fell silent.

We all thought something ‘good’ would come out of it, but the world went silent.

And then things got worse.

Then 9/11 happened, but I will not speak about that. It isn’t necessary and it still hurts.

There has never been a greater impetus for change and cynicism in my lifetime.

Then there was the anthrax scare, and there was the ‘dirty bomb’ scare.

Would we wake up to a poisoned and dying world at the hands of some nut-case releasing killer ‘bugs’ in the air and water?

And then one day, it all stopped, and the world went silent.

And, yes, things got worse.

So nowadays, when I hear these kids pontificate on how they are forced “change the world because the older people won’t do it”, my cynicism grows stronger and the roots grow even deeper.

I would never work to suppress such a youthful arrogance. It’s admirable in a way.

At the same time, I know the ending that’s coming for them and I know the cycle it’s following.

Yes, each and every one of will change the world, but none of us will do it right-here-right-now.

Change takes time, and a lot of it.

That is the most cynical, yet the truest essence of life in this world.

While it is true that things most definitely got worse, they all still began a change in the tide of thinking and the world around us. Look around and you can see the subtle signs of progress. Problem is, when you are living in those moments, you have a real need to see them change the world, right then and there. No such luck.

And then the ‘kids’ begin to develop their own brand of cynicism.

Life is different now. We can change things right here and now. You’re just too old and you don’t understand it like we do!

And they turn a blind-eye to the very points in their own lives that will foster that ‘cynical old man’ in each and every one of them.

After witnessing decades of money-scams and schemes, I have to wonder just how the whole ‘crypto-currency’ situation will finally fall out.

In the same way that you can’t just write-off a new financial method, you can’t blindly follow it simply because it’s new and different. Those things tend to flourish for a few years…right up until the bottom finally gives out and everything falls out. Interesting that this is occurring right here and now, with a couple ‘crypto-companies’ already under indictment by the Federal Government and the SEC for money laundering and fraud committed against their very young investor base, not to mention Wall Street in general and the good old US of A.

The ‘ponzi’ schemes and pyramiding in general appear to be making a comeback as well. They’re called by different names and they’re veiled in different ways, but just like crypto, their perpetrators are being hauled in, one-by-one, by the Fed and the SEC.

These days, they call themselves ‘influencers’ and the only real financial abilities they possess is the ability to steal money from the younger folks that don’t have any money to lose in the first place. All it has ever taken is the promise of a lot of money for zero effort and the garbage and lies they throw out catch the money, hook, line and sinker.

The most recent one is a group of eight kids – influencers – that bilked so many kids out of a total of $114,000,000 in two years in a pump-n-dump scheme. Think about that. Kids that are working minimum wage jobs as they’re just starting out in the working world, are believing – whole-heartedly – that if they send in all the money they currently have today, they can retire tomorrow. The influencers they follow and worship did it, so obviously, so can they!

And still the cry goes out in defense of the scammers.

This is a new thing that you just don’t understand. I saw them on Tik-Tok and YouTube so I know they’re legit!

Consequently, all of their money is now gone and they’re left deeper in debt with no way out except to work even harder at the jobs they tried so desperately to break free from in the first place.

Tragic. But still necessary. They need to foster their own brand of cynicism to keep the wheel turning for the next round of ‘kids’ to come after them.

How did I ever get to be so cynical?

Maybe those that would ask me that question should instead be thinking about their own answer when one day, some kid somewhere, asks the very same of them.

One day, today’s youth will transform itself into tomorrow’s cynical old.

The cynical old then – just like the cynical old now – won’t be able to see the progress around them because progress, in and of itself, is not the change they seek.

Everyone is looking for that ‘immediate change’ but no one seems willing to accept the progress as it happens.

Can you imagine how much different the world will be when it does happen?

Can you imagine how much better the world will be at that point in history?

Sure, I can imagine it, too, but just like all of you, I’m having trouble seeing it.

Yes, I am a Cynical Old Man, but with everything that made me this way, I don’t mind that label. I don’t mind it one bit. I kind of like it, actually.

Change is not only possible, it is unstoppable.

But it comes at a price. It is not free. There is no easy way to get around it.

Open your eyes, think for yourself and do what you do, and the worm will turn.

Just remember that it takes much more than patience. It takes a better understanding and acceptance of the multi-layered process of change itself.

Cynicism – for lack of a better word – is a good thing.


bottom of page