Let us talk for a second about Millenials. I don’t know who the voice of our generation is, nor am I convinced that we need one. Watching last week’s Bill Maher (or was it the week before?), I found myself rolling my eyes at his and P.J. O’Rourke’s glorification of the Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers weren’t the greatest generation. (The Greatest Generation wasn’t the greatest generation, but never mind.) It’s always dangerous to go making blanket generalizations about millions of people just because they all happened to be born in the same era, but Maher actually did make one or two good points. I’ve never bought that “spare the rod, spoil the child” idiocy, but I do think that a smack upside the head can teach a misbehaving child a lesson better than making them sit in a corner can. Beyond that, I think he pretty much missed the mark.
The Baby Boomers gave us Bob Dylan. Good for them. Or rather, good for Bob. I like Bob. It took me a while to get used to his voice, but he is a killer songwriter and wrote lyrics that invited a wide range of equally fair interpretations. Normally, I like Bill Maher and find P.J. O’Rourke pretty funny. (One of my favorite humorists and Baby Boomers is Dave Barry, whom I have mentioned previously and whose unpretentious humor and small-c conservatism faintly echo O’Rourke’s.) I guess what I’m really not one for is nostalgia. We don’t need to hear about how great everything was in the Good Ole Days. We certainly don’t need to hear about how you pulled yourself up by the bootstraps and got your education in the school of hard knocks. There is a thin line between tough love and abuse. My parents did not shy away from spanking. Their parents would wash their mouths out with soap if they caught them swearing. Anything harsher than that, I do not and will never approve of.
Whenever somebody older than I am tells me I have it easy, I say, “Good. That means you did your job.” It’s a relative term, anyway. Yes, I have the internet and a cell phone, but I’m also trying to fight global warming, which, if left unchecked, could destroy the planet on a level that even nuclear winter couldn’t touch. Good times, huh? I don’t even plan on having children, but I still see the value in making shit easier for my generation’s children. Who the fuck knows what they’ll have to contend with, alien invasion? Hell, I wanna be around to see that.
I don’t know if I’ve made this clear enough yet, but I’m tired most of the time. I roll out of bed every morning and think, “Oh fuck, it’s this shit again.” It wouldn’t be so exhausting if it weren’t for the fact that there is no reset button. You just keep going until you hopefully get to something better. I have a part-time job in which they schedule me for five hour-plus shifts so that I will get only a ten minute break the whole time and frequently have to leave my home two hours before the shift begins to make it there on time. Getting another job would present challenges all on its own, as two part-time jobs take up more energy than one full-time job. You have to coordinate the schedules with each other, learn two different skill sets and get to know two different groups of people, and figure out how you’re going to get from one to the other. If the Baby Boomers spent the whole day flipping burgers, at least it was all they had to do. Show some respect, guys.
It takes a lot of time to become comfortable in your own skin. I’m still working on it. There is a lot of shit bouncing around inside my skull, and I would like to make it settle down. But I can’t just grow up and become the person everyone wants me to be. I can’t get a second job and start working it when my current one still leaves me feeling run over half the time. Seriously, have you ever worked in a coffee shop? You’re on your feet the whole time, you have to balance a zillion different duties at once, and you don’t get paid very well. I’ll put what I’m going through up against any fucking Baby Boomer’s stories about having to walk five miles to school uphill both ways. The quarter-life crisis is a real thing, but I don’t think that’s what I’m going through. (Technically, it should be the third-life crisis, as people tend to experience it in their mid-twenties, but never mind.) It’s not so much that I’m wondering what the fuck I’m doing with my life as that I’m just trying to get the damn thing off the ground. I’ve never been much for nostalgia, so I can’t reminisce about the Good Ole Days. I never got to experience them. My childhood was unhappy and anxious. It’s what I got for being “gifted”.
It’s not possible to say everything you’re trying to say in a single blog post, so I’ll just say that it’s getting harder and harder for me to find time to watch The Daily Show. Maybe it’s because I’m not as enamored of Jon Stewart’s humor as I used to be (why does he keep harping on all of this Chicago pizza vs. New York pizza nonsense?), maybe it’s because I’m not able to integrate it into my morning routine as smoothly as I used to. All I know is that what I wrote almost two years ago is still true: The hardest part always is getting started.
What comes after that is only slightly easier.