Anybody over the age of 40 knows that kids these days have it good — way too good.

One example from my childhood was getting punished by not being allowed to watch TV, and that, to me, was like being beaten with splintered bamboo shoots.

If a parent today would want to punish a kid in the same way, they would have to strip them naked and lock them in a 1950s bomb shelter. That’s because, this day and age, you can watch TV or movies, listen to music, read books or articles, play video games and talk with your friends on your phone or even on your wristwatch because imagination is way overrated.

Some kids are even smart enough to rig the ham radio in the bomb shelter to access their Amazon Prime account.

My sautéing jealously of this current generation of brats and punks reached its boiling point when my friend told me about her son having the opportunity to dissect a cat in his high school’s science class.

Before I could state my envious disgust through the art of interpretive dance, she went on to say that not only did he and his class get to dissect a cat, but also cut open a deer’s heart, a sheep’s brain and the standard frog.

Despite how you feel about dissecting any kind of animal, you won’t deny that I was getting the short end of the stick after you learn about My School Dissection Experience, which sounds like a show on The Learning Channel, but it’s not because it would have been rejected by the network for being both sad and boring.

You see, back in the day, many schools were giving their students the opportunity to dissect frogs, but not my school. Through middle school and high school, we were stuck with dissecting one of the most fascinating beasts on the planet: an earthworm.

Yep. An earthworm, AKA Lumbricus terrestris, AKA fish bait.

I’m sure those who passionately study earthworms for a living have taken grand offense from my obvious sarcasm over my stated enthusiasm of dissecting an earthworm.

I’ll admit, if you get down on a microscopic level, perhaps the earthworm would be an interesting subject to study and learn about, but not when you’re a blood-thirsty teenager with very few outlets for your sinister curiosities.

For those teenagers like me, dissecting an earthworm was the equivalent of a roller-coaster enthusiast spending the day on a toilet in an amusement park.

While it’s shocking to learn, the setup for dissecting an earthworm is pretty simple. You have your scalpel, pins and a tray where the dead, formaldehyde-soaked worm is in the center.

The idea is to use the scalpel to slice down the center of the worm, which requires the same skill to basically draw a somewhat straight line two inches lengthwise.

You then use the pins to spread out the earthworm’s skin to open it up to view the array of organs, which basically looks like someone blew their nose and arranged the nostril debris in a straight line.

Don’t get me wrong, it was gross — or so said some of the girls in my class — but just on a smaller scale as those girls didn’t experience any loss of partially-digested food, full body shivers or nightmares like they would have to a cat, deer heart, frog or sheep’s brain.

All in all the dissection was pretty routine for a science class — even the teacher found the whole thing boring.

“Yes, class, that’s what makes up the mighty earthworm,” the teacher said while yawning. “If you weren’t already aware, these are what birds and fish eat. Any questions?”

“Can we dissect fish or birds next?”

“Stop asking questions! No. We would have to bait the birds and fish with worms and, in doing so, we would have robbed you of this educational opportunity…plus, it’s not in the budget.”

I don’t know if things have changed at my old high school since then or not. I’m sure I’ll find out when my kid starts attending and comes home shivering with puke stains down her shirt while muttering she’ll never sleep again.

That’s when my theory will be confirmed that kids like her have it way too good.

According to Hofmann is written by staff reporter Mark Hofmann of Rostraver Township. He hosts the “Locally Yours” radio show on WMBS 590 AM every Friday. His book, “Stupid Brain,” is available on

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