Angry young men

Jeez, isn't it unfashionable to be angry?

I don't mean phoning-up-the-radio-to-complain-about-them-boat-people-angry. Or even "How-dare-they-call-Leisel-Jones-fat!" and "My-power-bill-is-what?!"-angry.

I refer to your unfocused, I'm-young-and-live-in-a-dump-suburb-and-nothing-good-ever happens-so-I-play-loud-music-and-drive-fast-and-get-filthy-pissed-and-cause-trouble-angry.

There are plenty of givers for this type of anger but not many takers, by which I mean "citizens" who'll raise their hands and admit "I'm part of system that wholesale abandons inarticulate young, underprivileged people."

We seem to just want these kids to go away, clean up their act, get a job ... then shake our heads when those whinging bloody school teachers, the front line of influence for many angry young men, outrageously ask us - the taxpayers - for more money.

One of my favourite sights at my local beach is watching the horrified expressions of residents when angry young men from the outer suburbs arrive on a hot Saturday, blasting their stereos and revving their engines.

I wonder how many of the aggrieved onlookers remember, or even know, how good it feels to see your dashboard quivering from aggressive, lyrically offensive music played so loud it leaps at complete strangers and screams: "THIS IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE!"

I wonder how many realise how powerful you feel stamping on a car's accelerator and getting an instant response, perhaps the only response you'll receive all day that's not sneering or dismissive.

And when older - people with more than you - gawk and look disturbed, how good it feels that they pay attention, even for five seconds, as you crawl past their stupid friggin' cafe?


I'm a mature adult ... at least I'm old and I've got a job and "prospects" and when I get jack of something I can vent in a newspaper. But even I, when I turn up the right music and think about the wrong subjects, can dip my toe back into that pit where kids like this live and, feel that ... anger.

It's so easy to ignore what's wrong with society when you have a nice house, good job and friendly neighbours but, when you have none of that, and you don't know how to get it, the easy thing to do is lash out.

I'm not suggesting that's OK - but I understand it, I know why you'd go there. And it's only education, love and luck that brought me to where I am instead of being drug addicted, doing time for king hitting a bloke or killing my best mate drink-driving.

And if someone who's had as many opportunities as me could have fallen and not got up, I wonder how so many other kids and adults manage without them?

There are loads of young people just aching for a steady hand, someone to show them alternatives to anger and if it's not coming from their parents, teachers are often their only other chance.

Do you remember a teacher you really cared about? Who you wanted to behave for and learn from? The good ones could reach the core of even the biggest hothead at school, yet we ask these "role models" to live on a third of what a TV weatherman earns.

Think of the influence one great teacher has in a school, guiding 100 kids a day - that's serious bang for your buck - but the truth is that influence is limited when class sizes balloon and one-on-one time is at a premium.

It's really very simple: if we care about these kids, we should prioritise our voting decisions to elect government and leaders who recognise the importance of teachers, of education, and the life-changing difference both make.

That's something worth getting angry about.