When Tom Brokaw called the Americans who lived through the Great Depression and World War II "The Greatest Generation," it struck me as somewhat self-important. Yeah, our grandparents deserve our undying respect, but isn't it a little presumptuous to proclaim your peers the best people of all time?

When Tom Brokaw called the Americans who lived through the Great Depression and World War II "The Greatest Generation," it struck me as somewhat self-important. Yeah, our grandparents deserve our undying respect, but isn't it a little presumptuous to proclaim your peers the best people of all time?

Brokaw's book felt like a rapper-worthy boast from a generation that supposedly prized humility. Didn't the youth have anything to offer?

Then I realized my generation spends most of its time browsing Facebook. Oh, and complaining - lots of complaining.

All that navel-gazing and self-pity has made us soft. There are go-getters among us, those who subscribe to a do-it-yourself ethic rather than paying a professional. But on the whole, today's young adults seem lacking when it comes to the practical skills that help humans function - not exactly a "pulling yourself up by the bootstraps" bunch.

Maybe I'm just projecting my own deficiencies on my peers. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born, and both grandmas are gone now too. I fear that even if they were still around, I would be too lazy or self-involved to pick up whatever skills they had to pass on.

For all my book smarts, I don't know how to work with my hands. In the event of a total economic collapse - not a far-fetched scenario! - I'd be out of luck. And supposing I end up with grandchildren of my own, what am I going to pass on? How to rhapsodize about the latest Kanye album in 140 characters or less?

So last week I took some tentative steps toward learning skills that don't involve being ironic or internet-savvy. I visited Bakery Gingham and baked Christmas cookies. I shot trap and traversed the Pickaway County wilderness with hunters from the Hilltop Sportsman's Club. I got to know my car's anatomy at Luke's Automotive Services.

I emerged far from an expert, but at least a little more proficient at life outside my little bubble. Come along and see what I learned.