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Future generation shows how life changes

The kids are not all right. Not mine, anyway.

A few short days ago -- when it was my friends giving birth to all the mutilated children, I had great faith in the future of mankind. But not now, not since my wife gave birth, not since Ernie -- my horribly mutilated son -- came into my life.

Evolution is evolution, but this is ridiculous. Mankind was bound to adapt to the Age of Technology -- of Blackberries and iPods and artificial reading devices -- eventually, but not like this. For scientific and anthropological purposes, I feel a description of my boy is in order.

Ernie is perfect 20/15 as far as straight-ahead vision goes, but absolutely no peripherals. I flash a mirror in front of his face, and he claps with glee. I snap my fingers in front of his ears, and he doesn't respond. He's like a horse wearing blinders. Who knows, maybe this specialization -- unique to his generation -- will serve him in the future, maybe he won't be as distracted as I was when I was a kid.

Ernie's fingers are disproportionately long and skinny, and come to a sort of point at the end, presumably to more easily reach the tiny keys of a Blackberry or touch-screen piano. Worse yet, the outer half inch of Ernie's fingers are made entirely of fingernail, to more easily endure the hours upon countless hours of texting and typing that made up my childhood, and will make up his.

Although Ernie's mouth is much larger than the average newborn's of my generation, his ears -- or, should I say, ear -- is miniscule and has no cartilage surrounding it. It's like the ear of a Great White -- just a single hole in his head. In fact, I originally mistook it for something else.

It is disturbing to look at, but it makes sense, I guess. Ernie won't ever need to capture any sound waves more distant than a cell phone speaker and a pair of headphones. And really, since one can only hold one phone to his head at once, two ears would be pointless for a child of his generation.

Finally, and worst of all, Ernie's rear end is extremely full and well-padded -- almost inhibitingly so. I anticipate walking will be difficult for Ernie and put a strain on his back. Swimming won't be much fun, either. He won't have any trouble sitting still for hours at a time or find church pews extremely uncomfortable -- my problem -- but still, that's not attractive.

I've been hearing from my colleagues across the country for several years now about these mutated children appearing on all corners of the globe. Apparently when one or both of the parents has spent their lives consuming media, their children, in anticipation of a life spent much the same way, adapt.

Theory has it that with daily doses of fresh air, sunshine, board games, Lincoln logs, and legs, this frightening trend can be reversed -- or at least stopped. In fact, one New England father was able to "normalize" his mutated son with the complete absence of electronics for 3 years.

But let this be a warning to future generations, if you want to keep your ability to run, jump or see the world with any perspective, you had better take advantage of those skills and keep the human race from getting really messed up, from losing more parts. Use it or lose it.

If we don't do something now, before it's too late, we're all going to lose it.

Nathan Kitzmann is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.