Me: “A band that can do a bombastic cover of a Depeche Mode tune, and then go on to do something with acoustic guitar and whiny male vocalist? SIGN ME UP.”
I thought it would suit my professional blog pretty well too. So “People Want to Help” is over there if you care to read it.
Me: “I got back together with my treadmill recently.”
D: “Does that mean you broke up with your treadmill at one point?”
Me: “It knows what it did.”
The animals are fed, the dog has been walked, and I’m eking out a few minutes on the couch before I have to get ready for work. I’m just about to go upstairs when Milo hops up on top of me.
Me: Milo, you’re going to make me late.
Milo: folds one paw under.
Me: Milo, why do you always time it like this? I’ve been here for 15 minutes and now you want to cuddle?
Milo: folds another paw under, completing cat-loaf position.
Me: Dammit, stop being so soft and cute at me. You’re going to make me late for work.
Milo: purrs a few bars of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”
Me: Fine, you smug bastard.
Our local news correspondent whack-job: “Tim, I’ve been to gas stations that don’t have gas, I’ve been to Radio Shacks that don’t have transistor radios…”
Jill: “But I’ve never been to me.”
John tries to explain a martial arts movie to me halfway through.
Me: “That contains way too many antecedentless pronouns and requires me to care.”
John: “Did I just use ‘like’ about three times in a sentence?”
Me: “Yes. But to be perfectly fair, you were talking about Men At Work.”
Making the rounds of news and blogs is this shocking new study: The Generation X Report.
What makes it so shocking? Well, apparently those of us who were born between 1961 and 1981 are not the “insecure, angst ridden” underachievers everyone expects us to be. We’re not “detached and melancholic.” And we are not, as a group, “slackers.”
Here’s the thing – in my experience, we never were.
Insert the standard caveats about how the plural of anecdote is not data and how this is just my experience, but let me lay the early 90′s out from my own perspective. I, along with almost everyone my own age that I knew, was having a really hard time finding any sort of “meaningful” work – for the values of meaningful that include: interesting, somewhat secure, decently paying, and carrying any sort of benefits.* So what did we do? We worked whatever way we could. We took jobs as temps, waiters, and bartenders. We often worked two jobs or more. We added whatever seasonal jobs we could on top of that. We made every effort to prove ourselves, to wedge our way into something resembling a decent opportunity.* Some of us, including me, went back to school to try to improve our chances of getting decent work and hopefully to wait out the bad economic times.*
For this, the media labeled us “slackers.”* I really don’t know if it was because the generation(s) before us didn’t like the fact that we were overwhelmingly employed in the service industry (most of us didn’t have a choice) or the fact that a lot of us resigned ourselves as best we could to the lifestyle we had at the time (we did have a choice about that, but the alternative was to be miserable). Most of us didn’t seem to react much to the “slacker” label either. Maybe that irritated the prior generation(s) as well. But why should we care what names we were called by the very people who pulled the treehouse ladder up behind them? Or maybe we were just working too damn hard at our 2+ jobs and worrying too much about getting sick and having to declare bankruptcy from our medical bills* to be worried about whether or not the editors of Time magazine thought us lazy.
So, I’m glad that a longitudinal study says that the majority of us are “active, balanced, and happy” these days. But it doesn’t surprise me overmuch, considering most of us were at least active and balanced and working on happy during the very era we were painted as a bunch of disaffected, mopey losers.
*Does any of this sound familiar? Current, even?
John: “The news says lines for the new iPhone are wrapping around the block.”
Jill: “Wait – were you thinking of finally getting a smartphone on launch day?!”
John: “I had thought about it.”
Jill: “Are you high?!”
John: “Quite possibly.”