I think three times in the last couple of months I have heard teenagers butcher “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. There is something about this travesty that captures for me why I hate adolescents.
Give me children up until the age of 12 and I will love them. They will love me. We’ll bond. Once the hormones kick in, save them from my presence because my patience drops to zero and my sharper tongue needs to be held back. They are so simultaneously self-conscious and self-obsessed that I want to slap them for being so inappropriately cocky and at the same time kick them up the arse for being so inappropriately insular. I know. I know. I should be mature enough to understand what they are going through. They are going through hormone shifts. And that means they can torture us with their ennui, their unformed opinions and their mis-applied foundation. Gitmo Marines know nothing about torture. If they did, they would just trap Al Qaeda suspects in a room with a 100 screeching teenagers and that would have them singing Bin Laden’s location.
I know how annoying teenagers can be because I have been a teenager. I was chief amongst teenagers- utterly convinced I was the greatest thing since sliced bread, utterly malicious in my seeking after approval and totally ignorant about any number of topics I waxed lyrical about. Now that I am a man, I realise I am not all that special. I sill have a lot to work on in the other two areas.
Of all the traps of adolescence in modern Ireland, singing Hallelujah in public, or at worst in a church, like in two of the cases listed, must be the most brutal. There is no way a 15 year old girl has the emotional, sexual, spiritual or even aesthetic capabilities to comprehend a song as glorious and dark and twisted as Hallelujah. I wouldn’t be surprised if its basis in the life of King David would come as new information to the soloist I most recently heard squawk it. At base, I don’t like teenagers (generally, specifically I love lots of teenagers) because they still basically have the competency of a twelve year old but none of the humble wonder. On Sunday, one of my favourite ten year olds arranged for me to get her a book as a gift to her mom. She thought this was the coolest thing that had ever happened. Ordering a book online. As a surprise. Another ten year old beamed like a gormless idiot when I introduced him to Soapbox as my friend. A nine year old, with all the cynicism he could muster, told me that while penguin bars are good, they are not as good as heaven will be.
The teenagers moped and listened to dreadful europop music on their mobile phones.
When they get up to sing “She tied me to a kitchen chair…”, that is the only time in my life I desperately long for someone to stand up, hold up a cheap plastic Sony phone and start blaring Scooter tunes through the microphone.
Your Correspondent, Like, so needs to get over himself, know what I mean?