Come on… own up – you were young once

OH come on!

You can’t lock people indoors just because they’re under 18. Not even if it’s 10pm!

I know they’re hardly people at that age but the thing is… they’re not doing anything wrong.

Well, yes, of course they are doing things wrongs, but that’s in the design. Not their design – our design. We’re designed to think they do.

Not only that, we’re designed to forget that we did exactly the same things — or very similar things — when we were that age.

Now someone is going to pull a mouth like a cat’s bum and say, “Oh no, we knew when things went beyond a joke.”

Rubbish. They never went beyond a joke. And the further they went the funnier they were.

Look, I will admit some stuff to you. I can do this because I think I’m protected by the statute of limitations.

I used to stand on the footbridge over the shunting yards and compete to drop the most house bricks down the funnels of locomotives. I don’t know what they did to the locomotives, but me and my mates got covered in soot and the tracks were littered with near misses.

I’m surprised we never derailed anything. If an engine driver had ever got out of his cab to see what was going on he would have died in the bombardment and I’d have gone to prison.

But he didn’t and I grew up to be a respectable member of society (well, a member, anyway).

But I couldn’t possibly be the only one!

For a start I know there’s at least nine more people out there who did those things because I remember their names.

And no amount of posturing will convince me we were any different to most young people anywhere, any time.

Like most of them we were just lucky.

Some weren’t. Some poor sod will have chucked a stick over the bridge parapet, derailed the express, and killed 200 people. He might not even have known there was track beneath him but he’ll pay for it forever.

But young people — them now and us then — don’t think about that. I hear the bus companies are going to stop sending buses where bunches of kids run out and rock them. I’d love to rock a bus. We only ever got to rock cars. There were never enough of us to rock buses, which suggests that if we have anything to worry about now, it’s that they’re getting organised.

I know it’s upsetting for the passengers and the bus companies are absolutely justified in fighting back, but it’s all part of the process and locking them in their homes won’t achieve anything.

Besides – who’s going to keep them there? Their parents are probably down the pub!

Actually that’s not true, either. My parents were never down the pub. When I arrived home late they used to be on the doorstep peering up the road. They used to worry something bad would happen to me!

I never had the heart to tell them.

I’m not saying we have to put up with it. Young people might be designed like that, but we’re designed like this. It’s our job to fight back and whinge and bring back the birch and introduce national service and send them to prison.

Also we could let their tyres down, poison their food, make their beds and tidy their rooms. We could tell their friends we think their music is really cool. We could start chilling out on the corner and instead of saying g’day to each other we could say “Yo, bro'” or whatever’s in vogue this week.

But they’re only young. It wouldn’t be fair.