So here we are.
I’m a member of Generation X, strictly by nature of my being born in 1971. Being a member of a generation is the only membership that no one signs up for, yet it still defines you.
For a while, we were the worst. Just the worst, with our flannel and grunge and tragic realization that none of us would ever get a pension, ever. We were deemed worse than the Baby Boomers, if you can believe that... and they were the ones who created disco and took all that cocaine and became yuppies and gave my generation the idea of helicopter parenting!
Thankfully, Generation Y and the Millennials came along to usurp our place atop the Worst pile, they with all their texting and streaming and usage of the word “totes” and refusal to pay for entertainment or news content of any kind.
The only generation currently alive that seems to have escaped the negative labels is the Greatest Generation. But that’s only because no one was officially naming generations until the Greatest Generation was older and better known as being made up of war heroes and Depression survivors. Their parents, in the Suffrageneration, would have laughed their asses off at the notion that their little whippersnappers, who spent their young days wreaking havoc Little Rascals-style and softening their minds with all that newfangled radio, would become known to history as the Greatest anything.
Of course, the Suffrageneration was a huge headache when its members came of age, too. Bonnet sales went way down, and the girls suddenly started having opinions and short hair. Their parents, the Little Housers, didn’t want their spawn to make history, only butter and preserves. Too bad, Little Housers.
But the Little Housers were no real treat, either, back in their younger days. Their generation made square dances downright scandalous, and their parents, the North-Southers, quickly tired of finding their kids spooning (or worse, reading) in the haylofts.
See, even before they were documented by pop culture and Wikipedia, the younger generations have always been the worst. In the 1600s, it was the Young Puritans who shocked their parents by not just being pure, but by being outrageously pure. During the Renaissance, it was the Fresco Kids who terrorized the neighborhood with their beautiful vandalism and rampant paint theft. In Ancient Rome, it was Generation XXVII who wore their togas way too short and often went without sandals, much to the chagrin of their parents, the Elders. (Yes, there was a young generation called the Elders, simply because back then everyone was born old and died young.)
And don’t forget the first generation to piss everyone off: Generation Ug, who insisted on walking upright. They thought they were soooo great, with their fancy fire and wheels. (Of course, their kids, the Crude Tools, would go on to deface all those cave walls, back when caves were called “yards,” which inspired the phrase “get out of my yard.”)
But hold on to your hats: the iGeneration is graduating from college in another 3-10 years. You’ll know them from the chips implanted in their skulls, and you’ll hate them for officially changing the entire English language by eliminating all vowels and reducing every single word into a syllable or less. That’s right, linguists, they will create the half-syllable. But it won’t really matter since most words will be replaced by emoticons.
Fortunately, Gen Y and the Millennials will be too bitter to notice because they’ll be too distracted by their rampant thumb injuries from over-texting. Us Generation Xers will distract ourselves while we run out the clock quoting old television shows and singing commercial jingles and blogging about vintage toys, and the Boomers will be trying to convince themselves at the age of 90 that they can still change the world. But we’ll all shake our fists together at the iGeneration. Because they’ll be the all-time worst. Not us.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.
P.S. I never promised you historical accuracy.