Grateful for no smart phones in days of youth

SEAN PLUNKET
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2014

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Sean Plunket

Let kids make their way Royal roadshow back in town Meeting a transgender 8-year-old Supermarket shopping may become patriotic Shifting house mainly a relocation of clutter and memories To the culture minister, I say 'chur' and keep up the good work Internet party amateur and vain Grateful for no smart phones in days of youth Sticky subjects at the dinner table Avatar deal first step to prosperity

OPINION: I am not sure whether to laud or loathe Bradley Goudie, the 18-year-old Hamilton youth who videoed a drunken 9-year-old boy at a Hamilton skate park last Tuesday.

Anyone with half a brain and the most rudimentary sense of responsibility would intervene if they saw a helmetless kid at a public park smashed off his face in broad daylight.

But I am not sure how many of us would whip out our mobile phone and video the drunken kid before calling the cops. It would be nice to think hardly any of us would then post that clip on the internet because the police hadn't rung us to tell us precisely what was happening in regard to the aforesaid drunken kid.

We can take it that Child, Youth and Family and the police are trying to help the boy and his (by the sounds of it dysfunctional) family but I am pretty sure Bradley Goudie's pontificating about the youth of today and the hundreds of hits his video got will have bugger all to do with whatever comes out of that process.

Online opinion seems divided as well. I have had Facebook friends condemning and congratulating Mr Goudie in roughly equal numbers.

I'm glad Mr Goudie and his camera phone were not around 36 years ago when two mates and I caught the train into Wellington from Porirua on a Friday night.

We told our folks we were going to the movies but that was just the cover story.On arriving in town we headed for Manners St where in return for a small fee we convinced a passer-by to go to a bottle store and get us half a dozen bottles of beer.With two bottles each hidden under our bomber jackets we looked for a quiet spot to drink them and ended up outside the town hall on what, from memory, was a somewhat cold and damp night.

We were half a bottle into what we thought could be the greatest night of our lives when everything went properly sideways.

Two very large policemen appeared seemingly from nowhere and grabbed our attention and our collars with the words: ''And what do you little buggers think you are up to?''It would be nice to think at least one of us came back with a witty rejoinder or we made a run for it. Truth is, we all froze like possums in the headlights as we contemplated arrest, incarceration, humiliation and permanent curfew.

First thing the boys in blue did was take our beers. The three open bottles were poured straight into the gutter; the others I presume ended up on the bar at the Central Police station sometime later in the night.

Thankfully, the handcuffs didn't come out and we weren't read our rights but we did get a full interrogation. We all coughed up our real names, home addresses and phone numbers and it seemed pointless not to blurt out the whole sorry saga of our big night out.

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At the end of all that the bigger of the two coppers spoke.

''Do you have enough money for the train home?''

''Yessir.''

''Well, the next one leaves in 10 minutes so you'd better start running. We'll have a car at the station to make sure you get on that train.''

I have never run faster in my life.

Fair to say it was a pretty sober train trip back to Porirua and without knowing whether our respective parents were going to be rung by the constabulary we decided for the meantime a code of silence was the best strategy until we knew we were busted. We never went into town to get drunk again and the code of silence has lasted to this day.We weren't 9 years old - we were 14 - the mobile phone hadn't been invented and CYF was called something else.

That night all those years ago didn't stop me getting drunk and misusing alcohol later in my life, but it did put the fear of God into me and teach me an appreciation of authority and the stupidity of seeing alcohol as an end in itself rather than an aid to having a good time.

I am grateful Bradley Goudie, his cellphone and his 18-year-old's sense of moral outrage weren't around as I learnt my lesson.

- The Dominion Post

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