According to the Oxford Dictionary, a millennial is “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.”

This is the generation that would probably struggle with what to do with a DVD; and a VCR? Fuggedaboutit.

Some well-known American TV celebrities, along with a handful of sham news reporters, have been testing the brainpower of some millennials who walk around with a smartphone, selfie stick and designer shades. It’s an easy job, with a cameraman following them as they go. They may show up at some university campus, the beach or a shopping mall. If you ever spot such “man-on-the-street” reporters, best ignore them or be versed in some basic facts, otherwise you could find yourself becoming the laughing stock of YouTube.

On July 4, 2016, while America was celebrating its independence, one such fake news reporter stopped young adults on a California Beach and asked some simple questions. The answers were interesting.

“Why do Americans celebrate the 4th of July?”
“To have fireworks.”

“Who is your favorite founding father (of our independence): John Wilkes Booth or Jessie Ventura?”
“Jessie Ventura?”

“It’s 4th of July weekend; we are celebrating our independence from China. What do you plan on doing over the holiday?”
“Family get-together and go to the beach and barbecue.”

Now, for you non-American baby boomers, I’ll give you a break. John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Jessie Ventura was a professional wrestler and once Governor of Minnesota. On July 4, the U.S. celebrates its independence from Britain – not China. As humorous and incorrect as the responses were, they were also downright frightening.

Smartphones have become an appendage, like a extra limb to the hand or ear. In my opinion, they promote “brain drain.” Think about it – something no larger than a sardine can that fits in your pants pocket is smarter than the average millennial. The pants pocket brain can email, navigate, take photos, translate language, do calculus and even tell you why Americans celebrate the 4th of July, yet your average youth uses it only for selfies, texting, Facebook and video games. So, how is the average human brain expected to store anything that’s not being stockpiled in its neurons? The Library of Congress in Washington D.C., with 835 miles of bookshelves, holds approximately 158 million items. A 64 GB iPad the size of a thick magazine can hold around 20,000 books, yet it seems that the average brain of a mortal has been sapped of logic by endless, vexing texting.

You don’t need to be an expert in psychology to know a child’s first teachers are the parents, who are the first influence in that kid’s life. The child’s attitude, views, goals and perspective depend, to a large extent, on what he or she learns from the parents. So, maybe it’s not the smartphones, video games and selfie sticks that are to blame for a planet full of “out-to-lunch” young adults. It could be the parents … maybe? The majority of smartphones owned by young adults were purchased for them by their parents so there should be a law that all new smartphones have a Parental Advisory Warning label attached to them: “WARNING! This gadget could be damaging to your child’s educational standards.”

I’d like to be a local man-on-the-street reporter, so minus camera and sound crew I asked one of our young local resident millennials a question of my own:

“How far is the water from the beach?”
[Long pause] “Seven miles?”

I’ll leave you with this: Albert Einstein supposedly said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Wow, how did he know that 70 years ago? I had one of my children do a fact check on their smartphone (that they bought). It seems that the above quote has been attributed to Einstein many times, but as www.quoteinvestigator.com points out, there is no evidence that he actually said it. What he said was: “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

I like the misquote much better.