I know that compared to how I had it, my son has a pretty easy ride. Yeah, sure, some things might be more difficult these days – getting affordable van insurance, affording a home, worrying about venereal diseases – but our kids' generation is somehow protected. They've never quite had to go it alone, if you know what I mean.
For example, just this week I was finally convinced to put my son on my Citroen Berlingo van insurance. It was a treat for his 19th birthday – he's been hassling me since he was 17 and says that having the van will do wonders for his burgeoning DJing business.
Anyways, so I give him the van on Friday afternoon with only two instructions – drive carefully and keep it tidy!
When I have the Berlingo returned to me on Sunday afternoon I was not best pleased to discover that the little terror has left chip wrappers, soft drink cans, cigarette butts and some rather insalubrious looking stains all over the upholstery. To top things off, there's a rather skimpy looking pair of women's knickers draped over the headrest.
When I confront him about it, he's completely non-plussed. "Yeah, but dad, you drive your van on a Monday, I was gonna clean it up this arvo," he says.
"Respect it all times, and never let your mess get out of hand," I say, sternly.
"Don't be such a narc," he replies, "Oh, I'm just got take the van for another half an hour – Lucy wants her knickers back, they're Coco De Mer."
I mean, c'mon, in my day, if I'd done that to my old man's bakery van he would have had my guts for garters. In fact, he'd probably have removed me from his van insurance, forbade me to ever drive the Berlingo again and given me a good wallop round the ear.
When I tell my youngster this his reply is simply, "Yeah, but dad, compared to nowadays, back when you was my age, grown ups was hardly civilised, was they? If you did that to me, it would not only be unfair, but the wallop round my ear would be in breach of my rights."
The cheek of it! Maybe he should abandon the DJing and start training as a lawyer…