My generation is weird. I can’t think of a better description; simple and straight to the point – WEIRD. We live in a strange no man’s land somewhere between Gen X’s damn the man cool grunge ways and Millennials tech savvy computer driven worlds. Some people call us Gen Y but really, let’s admit it, we made that shit up in a weak attempt to fit in. And Gen Y isn’t even that creative. We deserve a better designation though I can’t think of one that would pass as acceptable. It’s like we are the silent always ready to please middle child of the generations.
Think about it, we are the last ones to say we used a library card catalogue to find our “Choose Your Own Adventure” books but, also have navigated the computer catalogue system searching for the latest Anne Rice novel so we could imagine a dreamy vampire Brad Pitt seeking us out in the shadows. Heck, we remember going to the library to use actual books to research papers as well as scouring the internet for legit citations. We remember the awe of the first home computers and saving digital files but we can tell you how to load a typewriter tape and make manual type corrections. We can tell you tales of committing numerous phone numbers to memory, hand dialing them in to the phone mounted to the wall of our kitchen to see if someone wanted to go ride their bike to see a movie but, we can also tell you how to program a recording on your cell phone to become a ringtone. And bless our middle child hearts, we know what life was like before social media. Back when if you took a picture, you made damn sure it was a worthwhile memory that you didn’t want to forget because each one cost you precious earned money for the film and the developing. Then again, we also know what our friend from 3rd grade, now 35 years old, had for brunch on Sunday thanks to Instagram.
Thankfully we were lucky enough to learn to navigate those shark infested waters as relative adults. I mean, I didn’t even have MySpace until I was in my 20’s and Facebook I was closer to 30 and I’ll leave it at that. We didn’t have to worry about some bullshit whiney post complaining about one thing or another coming back in 8 years to bite us in the ass and eliminating us from getting a job we applied for. Or worse, getting us fired from a job we already had. I mean, when you are 16 and you type “I’m stoned as fuck and I don’t caaaaaaarrrrrreeeeeezzzzzz” Do you really think about being 22 and applying for your first internship at a law firm? Or better yet being 38 and contemplating getting into politics? Heck no. You’re not thinking because you are 16 and dumb to begin with and now stoned on top of it.
We didn’t have to worry about super creeps trolling for young girls and boys to prey on by disguising themselves virtually as a same age love interest. Then proceeding to lure them to sneak out and hop a train or a bus to their “hometown” to meet where they are attacked or worse never heard from again. Don’t think it doesn’t happen. It does, and it’s scary. This, this chills me to my core. The internet helping predators find young people who are naive, looking for love and attention and exploiting it. My friend once worked with “To Catch A Predator” as a young 20-something posing as an underage girl. The things these pervs would type to her… It left me aghast at what she would talk about. Some things she just wanted to forget and I will never know.
We didn’t have to learn the harsh reality of cyber bullying. Once we made it through the gruelling days at school of being pushed into lockers or your head being bopped down into the drinking fountain while you stole a sip on the way to your next class, we were safe. Save for your evil older siblings and the occasional weekend run in with the trashy girl from the next block over that always seemed to be dating a boy several years older that somehow seemed to always catch you riding your bike around the block or walking to a friend’s house. Inevitably she would make her stupid grit stash boyfriend jump over your head or power lift your scrawny self over his head because you were skinny and nerdy and helpless… her name was Yvette and she was a bitch, I’ll never forget but, I digress…
Outside of school we had a relative safe haven. We got home and played our 8 bit Super Mario Brothers, climbed trees, rode bikes to the playground or just aimlessly walked/rode around the block and went about our kid lives for the most part. We didn’t log onto the internet to continue the barrage of insults and cruel jokes. Lets face it, the buffer of the internet rather than face to face has empowered a whole new league of hate filled shit mouthed brats. I have personally witnessed some of the evil and vile venom these little punk ass clowns have spewed at there peers and it’s horrifying. I walked away from my computer screen feeling like a worthless rat and I am am adult (well in theory I am at least). I couldn’t have handled it. It would have broke me in a way that is vile and sad. It practically brings me to tears thinking of the poor girls and boys as empathetic as I was at that age enduring that kind of blind hate and insults.
When you start to break it down, we are the last innocent generation. Oblivious to how hate filled and ugly the world could be on such a personal level. At the same time, we are adaptable in ways we never imagined as young’uns. We have changed with the times and rapidly at that. We know and appreciate the innocence and simplicity of our youth and can successfully deal with the in your face digital sensationalism that is our adult years.
I weep for current and the near future generations. They don’t know any better. They will never know or understand the freedom of not having a cell permanently affixed to their hand demanding immediate and constant attention. They will never know the anonymity that having a digital free life brings. They will always have information at their fingertips, immediately and in most cases whether they want it or not. Social and online news media will report world events before they happen and quietly slink away into the shadows when the fear mongering stories turn out to be less than a blip. That fear will stay with them and continue to be fed by each successive in your face breaking news story jammed down their eye sockets. The grass will always be greener in the Jones’ lawn proudly displayed all over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They will always strive to keep up with the next, to post the better picture, to get more likes and to have the most viewed life so much so that they will forget to enjoy it. Or worse yet, they will over look the unhappiness that those hundreds of “happy” pictures cover.
I shudder at the thought of where their bigger faster more better I hate you because you’re different generation will lead us and the next generations to come. We could turn out like the Jettson’s with Rosie pressing buttons to 3d print our hot family meal before we get in our flying car to go to the 4d cerebral movie venue or we could become Huxley’s “A Brave New World” limited by each other to such extremes that critical thinking and emotion is frowned upon just do what you’re told but here, here are limitless amounts of material things to play with and amuse yourselves for as short as you like, then just toss them. Like Dick and Sue next door. Just don’t start thinking for yourself or feeling and we will keep giving you more stuff.