I stopped myself dead in my tracks the other day when I suddenly realized what was happening. That new Toyota commercial with the mountain biking Baby Boomers was what did it. The Baby Boomers were off being typically irresponsible. They continued to do what they’ve always done. Those crazy Baby Boomers were portraying themselves as young, in shape, and cool. They were everything they are not. Their Gen Y daughter was at home on the phone, and she was frustrated with them. She seemed more grown up and much more miserable than her parents.
Skipped us again, did you? Yes, that’s us. Gen X. Remember us? We let a Baby Boomer write a book about what were supposedly like, and we let him give us a name like a new master. Well, hear this, I am not Toby. I am 100% Kunta Kinte. I grudgingly accepted the label, and now I’m its poster boy. We are a generation of strange people separated from each other by our own anxieties and hang ups, and now we have just about disappeared completely.
All that’s left for Gen X and for the Baby Boomers is sucking up to Gen Y. That was what I realized. And ZOMG, I’ve done it too! I’ve said they will be awesome bosses someday, and I’ll be glad to work for them. I’ve said I’m proud of them, and I want them to take me with them since they are going places I cannot. I am sucking up to Gen Y, and it doesn’t even feel like sucking up! All the things we’ve said about them are true. They are a good bunch. So cute. Like puppies crossed with babies and covered in baby bunny fur. When we clean up after them outside we’ll be picking up chunks of rainbows.
I came across a Gen Y piece of writing not too long ago. The title caught my attention. It was “Stop telling us we’re not special.” It was a little shorter than the things I like to read, and it was very on topic. I could relate to it on a certain level. It was as if I liked playing tennis, but I was outside a posh tennis club looking over the wall at a pretty good match. I was not in the game. It wasn’t about my generation, and when I came to that conclusion, I got to thinking something typically optimistic like “Wow, it must suck to be Gen Y.” That’s how they get you. They suck you into pitying them and giving them food and shelter.
This morning I ran across a request on Twitter for advice to Gen Y folks coming up in the world of curating. I walked out there on my angry ledge again, and I took a good look down having done some curating from time to time. I didn’t write the first thing that popped into my head, which, by the way, was “Run away. Run away and never come back.” That’s just mean. It’s so unfashionable to be mean to Gen Y. It’s like kicking a dog for no damned reason at all. You can’t do it. The public will have your head.
My real advice is to not ask me for advice. That’s my advice. I’m planning to be nice to you, and I hope you are planning to be nice to me. So far, so good. You never thank guys like me who were the first in your entire county to get an earring or a tattoo. Now you all walk around with metal through all your soft tissue and paintings of naked dragons on the small of your back. You never recognize how much heavy lifting we did that benefits no one but you. I’m not really looking for a thank you. That wasn’t why I did anything I ever did. That was mostly just for me like most good things are. Don’t get me wrong. I like you. But I’m not going to fall into the trap of worshiping any generation. You have to find what’s special about you all by yourself.
You’re my hero. You speak my kinda truth – with less cursing!
It had not occurred to me that Coupland was naming us ; I feel a bit silly having missed that particular glaring point…
Wikipedia credits Robert Capa with coining the name (That’s probably the purest lineage between us and the Lost Generation), Coupland for popularizing it. Funny I didn’t even have to write his name and you knew that’s who I meant. He’s on Twitter, and he’s written other/supposedly better things. His profile says “Never left art school.” I guess I have no beef with him except I followed him and he didn’t follow me back.
Brilliant reading for those long hours I spend petting these puppy-babies on their collective heads (and picking up their rainbows. God they are a messy bunch, but not nearly as careless as their parents).