All of Germany wants them damn kids off their lawns. According to the Times of India, the “German government on Friday said it was working on a bill aimed at battling a growing tide of complaints against noisy children in what is a rapidly ageing society.”
This makes sense; or, better said, this makes senescence. Because there is a strong, well-documented negative correlation between advancing geezerhood and tolerance for noise. Consider: a twenty-year-old is so insensitive to repellent sound that he can fall asleep to the Beatles. By the time he reaches thirty, he can still be soothed to somnolence by listening to celebrity tittle tattle from a late-night talk show.
But once past forty, silence rules at night. And fifty onwards, that cone of quiet extends to waking hours. Once a man is eligible for a senior citizen’s discount, the sounds of screeching children begin to grate. Unless, of course, the cacophony arises from one’s biological grandchildren.
All this is natural enough; even the call by grumpy old Germans that “There outta be a law!” is understandable. What saddens, however, is that instead of being “laughed out of court”, the proposed German law has to be vetted by the “environment ministry.” A spokesman for that agency said, “Noise made by childcare centres, playgrounds and places where ball games are played do not generally constitute a harmful environmental effect”.
A, Lord help us, “harmful environmental effect.” And it’s not that kids can’t constitute a “harmful environmental effect,” but that they “do not generally” do so. After reading this appalling language, we picture an army of government environmental engineers dispatched to playgrounds with dB meters in hand, documenting potentially “harmful environmental effects.” Studies will be written, and meetings convened. Serious discussion will ensue.