Skip to main content

One last gripe about baby boomers before the year ends.

Originally I was going to use my post today to review one of the various family movies that Lulabelle has been making us watch lately.  (Santa Paws and Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle were heavy contenders.)  But then I saw Dana Carvey's latest stand-up special, and it's like the irritation inside me is a burp trying to work its way out.  Might as well spew that leftover gas over here and get it over with.

If you're counting at home: it only takes him about fifteen minutes to start going off about how shiftless and helpless millennials are.  Naturally.  Can't call your special "Straight White Male, 60" and not throw in some digs at the debtor class.

The thing is, I don't even really get angry about my problems anymore.  I'm just fucking tired, man.  I've got a full-time day job that's really stressful, I've got my writing on the side that's been draining me, I've got this blog that I keep poking at, and then two kids who supersede all of that.  I don't have the energy to even pretend that there's some epic battle that needs to be fought between our generations.

So here's my olive branch disclaimer to any boomers reading this: any anger I have probably isn't directed at you.  You're here, so clearly you'll at least hear me out.  And it's pretty dumb to wave a hand and dismiss any generation as a whole, so I'd be a hypocrite to mock you.  Besides - you guys gave us some cool shit.  I appreciate that.  And most of you have provided more guidance and support than I can ever thank you for.

Sigh... but I've got to rant about this.  I gotta get that burp out.

So, here's the deal.  Dana Carvey is a funny dude.  I've always liked him.  And I still like him.  His latest special, despite its faults, still has some great bits in it and I'd actually still recommend it.  But he simply has no clue when he starts spouting bullshit about my generation.

He's been rich for decades, his kids are rich, and any pampered lifestyle that he's projecting onto the rest of us is the side effect of the bubble that shields him and all his friends (yes, including Lorne, which means the anecdote you shared on your WTF interview is also moot).  If you've got money, you can afford to be ignorant.

No, Carvey, we aren't helpless fucking babies who need you to call our landlords for us.  Your son is, maybe.  And that's kinda funny, sure.  But don't project that onto me and mine.  Some of us consider ourselves lucky just to have landlords.  Hell, I've been living paycheck to paycheck ever since I turned twenty-two, and I'm still in the upper echelon of my peers only because I managed to pay off my student loans and got a mortgage instead.

And what did that get me?  A crappy house with no air conditioning, a hole in the roof, and lead paint that I'm constantly trying to contain for fear that it will poison my kids.  But a house nonetheless.  I'm happy I have it.  I'm very fortunate.

I'm fortunate that I have a job that I like and that pays my bills from week-to-week, even if financial progress is stagnant.  My current job is salaried.  Before I had a salary, I had to work countless hours of unpaid overtime - and somehow, we've allowed that to become the norm.  Please understand what that means, boomers.  You grew up expecting to be paid for what you did.  My generation?  We don't.  We expect that we'll be cheated.  We always have been. We are surprised when we don't get screwed.

I'm humbled by those challenges.  I want to stay humble.  I want to do more for those who have less.  I want to make the world a better place.  My peers have heard the calling, too.  Sure, my sphere of acquaintances and friends may not be a perfect encapsulation of the nation, but it runs the gamut of class, race, gender, sexual orientations, politics, and religions.  We're united by a desire to not be jerks to each other.

We know we're never getting Social Security.  We know we won't be able to retire when we're in our sixties.  We know our institutions are failing.  We know the environment has been marred and it's going to keep hurting us long aft you're gone.  We know there's racism, misogyny, and bigotry at every level of government, and we know there's a huge chunk of our country that's resistant to changing that.  And we're angry, yes, and sometimes we must sound petulant to aging fools with 401(k)s and nice homes and distance from their sophomore years, oh, yes, we could never possibly live up to the sagacity of Abbie Hoffman.

But despite all that, we know we've got a planet to fix.  We haven't been dragged kicking and screaming into reducing carbon emissions - we demanded it.  Most of us don't kvetch about "my freedoms!!!" when people call us out on being racist or sexist - we apologize and move on.  We weren't even drafted for the wars you started; we volunteered.  We're not helpless and we're not spoiled.

My generation is no smarter or stupider than yours.  We spent foolishly in our teens, we were way too opinionated about music and film in our early twenties, and we have the same bad tendencies toward drugs, alcohol, and fast food that you do.  But now that we're finally coming into our own, we're trying to get by and make the world better for our kids.  For your grandkids and great-grandkids.  The same way you did when you were our age.

I don't want apologies.  I don't want handouts.  All I want is to not be nagged at while we figure things out.

A little bit of encouragement would be nice, too, but I don't expect it.  If you ever meet me, you'll be my best friend if you just say, "I know it's tough.  Hang in there and good luck."

I want my village elders to enlighten instead of browbeat.  I want to look forward, not down.  I want to be a voice and not an echo.  I want the same basic human respect that you demand.  And I want it for all of us.  I want it for our kids most of all.  To you it's a punchline - to us, it's our last hope.