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During last spring’s first lockdown I decamped from Toronto to a rural place that didn’t have the bandwidth for streaming services so spent my evenings watching retro movie channels on satellite TV. Among the classics we saw, many were coming-of-age stories about the pains of youth. I re-watched ones I’d seen before, like Footloose and Grease. And I finally got around to Saturday Night Fever and Mystic Pizza. Though I spent my days digging into government reports on emerging COVID-19 data, it was those evenings of watching flicks of young people who thought their summers would never end and that the hurt of their first break-ups would never heal that made it clear how much harm we were causing our youth by depriving them of a normal life. For adults who are settled down with their jobs and partners and routines, to be forced to stay at home for a year or so and watch TV and eat takeout is a manageable nuisance.

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