Tim Tharp

“I remember reading about these primitive initiation rituals in school. They had one where they take the kid way out into the wilderness and drop him off and he has to get back by himself without any weapons or tools. He’s just out there with his bare hands, digging up roots to eat, making fires with rocks and sticks or whatever. I mean, he could starve or a mountain lion could eat him or something, but that’s all part of the test. When he gets back, he’s a man. And not only that, he finds his Spirit Guide. Talk about embracing the weird.

But nowadays they don’t do anything but leave you at home by yourself with a kitchen full of potato chips and soft drinks. Then, in your bedroom, you’ve got your TV, video games, and the Internet. What do they expect you to get from that? A big fat case of I don’t give a shit?

These days, a kid has to go looking for his own initiation or make his own personal war to fight since the wars the atomic vampires throw are so hard to believe in. It’s like Ricky says—every time they trump one up, it gets worse.

If I was in charge, it’d be different. You wouldn’t have to go to military school or get dropped off in the wilderness or fight in a war. Instead, you’d head off for what I’d call the Teen Corps. It’d be like the Peace Corps, only for teenagers. You’d have to go around and, like, pile up sandbags for people when hurricanes blow in and replant trees in deforested areas and help get medical attention to hillbillies and so forth. You’d do it for a whole year, and then, when you got back, you’d get the right to vote and buy alcohol and everything else. You’d be grown.”


Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now
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The Spectacular Now The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
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