We were teenagers: our guidance counselors scheduled a tract that would guide us down the golden path to college and a career with more money than our less educated peers.  Our parents had us open savings accounts to save up for that new-to-us-used-car and checking accounts to learn how to construct grown-up financial transactions.  The internet was a mysterious gateway that our rich friend’s dad afforded and cellular phones were a Zack Morris source of comedy.  The front doors to our school were unlocked.

And rock music was “Top 40.”

<KABOOM>

I wish someone had told us that everything we knew was wrong, but nobody knew that everything they knew was wrong.  My college diploma rests uselessly in the storage room of an apartment I can barely afford.  I haven’t written a check in ten years, but the bank recently sent one to the used car dealership to finance a vehicle I could’ve purchased outright when I was 17.  My smartphone buzzes relentlessly by my side, while the World Wide Web makes it possible to read this blurb in Budapest.  I would love to get some work accomplished, but Facebook has me distracted by the dueling partisan commentary among “friends” on the latest school shooting.

At the risk of sounding smug, I left my hope in 1997.  Let’s see if we can find it together.