The First Lady: Thoughts from a 20-Something ‘Knucklehead’

Michelle on The Tonight Show
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Written by Betsy Wagoner. Media by Justin Smith.


With Jimmy Fallon as the new host of “The Tonight Show”, Fallon fanatics have spent their evenings watching every episode. People such as Lady Gaga, Jerry Seinfeld, Will Smith, and Olympic gold medalist, Jamie Anderson, have made appearances on the show since the opening night, which took place on February 17, 2014. Fallon has wooed his audience with his infamous “Thank You” notes as well as his #Hashtag clips.

One extra special guest that appeared on the show last week was First Lady Michelle Obama.  Mrs. Obama took part in a special Fallon segment entitled, “Ew!” Fallon, along with Will Ferrell, dressed up as pre-teen girls who say “Ew” to just about everything in their sight. Mrs. Obama joined them, calling unhealthy food such as potato chips “Ew!” while offering better options for Fallon and Ferrell to eat.

Although Mrs. Obama took part in a funny, innocent “Ew!” episode, she later sat with Jimmy to discuss the deeper issues of America.  First Lady Michelle is striving to raise awareness of her “Let’s Move” campaign, to encourage people of all ages to stay active and fit. Mrs. Obama mentioned that if enough people use the hashtag #letsmove, her husband, along with Vice President Joe Biden, would produce a video of their own about where they are up and moving.

Jimmy then segued into his next topic, the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Fallon mentioned that lots of young people watch his show and that it might be helpful if Michelle gave some information about the act. She pointed out that people are allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, but after that they are responsible for having their own insurance. She then stated, “And a lot of young people think they’re invincible. But the truth is, young people are knuckleheads. They’re the ones who are cooking for the first time and slice their finger open, they’re dancing on the bar stool.”  Fallon responded with a joke saying he would have never done similar things last summer.

I land right in the age of the “knuckleheads” that Mrs. Obama is talking about, and I completely disagree with everything she said about people my age. First Lady Michelle is saying that people around the age of 26 are cooking for the first time, most likely hurting themselves while trying to find their way around the kitchen.  I personally would have to disagree with the First Lady on her comment. I am 21, and I have been cooking (and NOT hurting myself) for the last 10 years.  If an 11 year old can cook without receiving injuries, then I sure hope a 26 year old person has the capability to do so as well.  I would also assume that most 26 year olds have had to make their own dinner before, whether or not they still live at home.

Mrs. Obama also claims that my peers and I believe that we are invincible. I would say that is far from the truth. Every day of my life I consider the actions I take, the choices I make, and the things I say because I am fully aware of how they can affect my future. I am cautious about many things, questioning whether or not a decision I make is the best choice because I realize I am not invincible, that several bad things can and will most likely happen to me in my life.

First Lady Michelle also claims that people my age spend their time dancing on bar stools.  From this comment, it can be assumed that she meant young people spend a lot of their time partying and goofing off on the weekends. Now it could be because I attend Greenville College, but I know several people my age who have never even stepped foot into a bar, let alone danced on one of the chairs there. I spend most of my free time studying, applying to jobs, and researching graduate programs, definitely not dancing on bar stools. I understand that Mrs. Obama made a general statement about people my age, and I will give her credit and say that there are people in this age range who have never cooked before, who spend their evenings drunk, and really do think that they are invincible. What I do have a hard time grasping is that the First Lady, the President of the United States’ wife, is making these comments in the most nonchalant of ways, accepting the fact that “young people will be young people.”  My hope was that someone in a position as influential as hers, would want to encourage people my age to study hard, learn how to cook and take care of themselves, be aware of the troubles that could come in their future, and most importantly, not write them off as a stereotype.


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