"That's the problem with kids today," my friend said, shaking her finger. "They're lazy."
"Yep," I agreed. "They're lazy. And irresponsible, too."
We both nodded, our lips tightened into grim lines as we stared into the abyss and contemplated the waywardness of today's youth.
"I mean, it's April," my friend continued, "and she hasn't even looked for a summer job yet!"
"Unbelievable." I rolled my eyes. "Hell, I was working long before I was her age. Since I was 12, counting babysitting," I reminded my long-time friend.
"Hmm." My friend squinted. "I'm not sure you should count that. Wasn't that the babysitting job where you talked on the phone the whole time while the kids played in the street?"
I straightened in my chair. "Well, yeah, but neither of them ever got hit by a car. And then I got a real summer job, working at the zoo when I was only 14. And when I turned 16, I worked year-round at McDonald's for, well almost a year. Juggling school and a job demanded a lot of responsibility."
"Heh." Her lips curled. "I remember the McDonald's job. You used to inhale the helium from the balloons they passed out to kids. Then you'd squeak over the drive-through intercom, 'Welcome to McDonald's, may I take your order please?' I can't believe they never fired you for that."
I frowned. "Well, they didn't. Because I was a hard worker. And I left there, on my own volition, for a better job, remember? At Ponderosa."
"Oh, yes." My friend nodded. "I remember your stint at Ponderosa. You worked there for one month our senior year. Just long enough to make some money for our spring break trip to Fort Lauderdale. And then you quit, without giving them notice."
"But not before they promoted me from busser to salad bar attendant," I practically shouted. "Clearly, my work ethic was obvious! Besides, I got right back to work that fall, at the university bookstore. Where I worked for four full years!"
"Oh, yes, your bookstore job." She grinned. "That was a perfect one to keep for your four years of college. They were always really understanding on those mornings you called to say you couldn't come in because you had to study for a test. Made it much easier to sleep off your hangovers."
"Huh." I crossed my arms. "But I did put in a lot of hours at that job, later in the day."
"Haha. Remember how they could never find you in the afternoon, from 3-4? They'd say, 'Sherry, where were you? We've been looking for you?' And you'd say, 'Oh, I was out stocking something on the floor,' or 'Oh, I must have been back in the stockroom then,' when really, you were just up in the student union lounge every day, watching General Hospital?"
"Sure, but come on, give me a break!" I threw up my hands. "Those were the Luke and Laura days!"
"Good point. And I'll bet you worked your ass off from 4-5."
"I did. I absolutely did," I agreed, nodding. "I had a work ethic. Not like kids today."
"Yeah, kids today are just lazy. And irresponsible."