Generations

I was at the barber the other day and while waiting my turn, the barber was cutting the hair of a man who was talking continuously. And the man was saying incredibly uninteresting things. So I decided to put on my headphones.

But then I realized that I’d be listening to something and inevitably Val (my awesome old Italian barber) would call my name when it was my turn and I wouldn’t hear him. He’d say my name again and then perhaps motion to me with his hand, which would perhaps startle me. And I didn't want that to happen.

So I looked on the table next to me and decided to pick up the comics—the “funny pages.” Out of 40 or so comics in the LA Times, there were about 3 that were funny and about 8 that were mildly amusing—leaving about 29 that were not funny. Really, LA Times? It always astounds me how many unfunny comic strips make it into major newspapers and land a recurring gig that lasts years. Is it that there’s a shortage of funny people trying to write comics? Or is it that newspapers want recurring strips (so fans will make a point of buying the paper for their favorites?) and the comics who get these secure gigs can take the job for granted and end up just doing a half-assed job? Is having a recurring comic in national newspapers a dream for a comic? Or is it a B-list dream, where they’d much rather be writing or illustrating for a TV show or something else if they could? Is that why the funny pages aren’t funny? Are the people who write for them spending the majority of their time trying to further their career elsewhere? In any case, Non Sequitur made me laugh.

So I’m sitting there reading all of these subpar comic strips when I hear the uninteresting guy say something about “Generation X.” I’ve heard a lot of people say something about Generation X before but it was in this state of severe boredom that it gave me pause.

Exactly what years constitute Generation X? Why is it called Generation X? Which generation am I? I was pretty sure Generation X people were older than me but I wasn’t positive. The only other generation I had heard of was the Baby Boomers.

So when I got home, I googled around and found this.

I found this thoroughly interesting. Some thoughts:

-The Lost Generation (currently ages 108 – 125) is mad old.

-The G.I. Generation (currently 84 - 107) is a very unique one. They lived through the Depression and World War II, and when the war ended they all got married, settled down, and had kids at the same exact time (hence the Baby Boomers). Now they’re all ridiculously thrifty and they’re obsessed with financial security. And they’re horrible tippers.

-The Silent Generation (currently 67 – 83) is mad random. Does it suck to be part of a random generation?

-The Baby Boomers (currently 55 – 66) are by far the most discussed generation, in part because of all their shenanigans in the 60’s. The Forrest Gump generation. My parents and everyone I know’s parents are Baby Boomers. Given that, shouldn’t I be part of another especially large, concentrated generation of kids? Grandbaby Boomers? For all I know that’s the case, but I’ve never really heard anyone say that.

-Generation Jones (currently 43 – 54) is ridiculously random, except for the fact that Obama is a member.

-Generation X (29 – 42), as it turns out, goes (at least in this account) from 1964 – 1979. Also a little random, right? They were teenagers in the 80’s and early 90’s. I’m sorry, but I’m not impressed.

-Then I was shocked to see something called “Cold Y Generation,” whose members were born in 1981 and 1982 (current 26 and 27-year-olds). What? I’m part of a 2-year generation? All the other generations are between 10 – 20 years long and mine is 2?? I read on further.

-Generation Y people are currently 11 – 28, which also includes me. Generation Y is, at the moment, defined by technology. They grew up with cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, AIM, Facebook and TiVo.

-They cap it off with Generation Z (currently 11 and under), proving that either they officially threw in the towel with creative generation names or that it’s just too hard to really define a generation until a few decades have passed.

So back to this weird, surprising “Cold Y Generation.” After thinking about it for a bit, I began to understand the reasoning. Like a lot of other people, those born in ’81 and ’82 happen to be in between two major generations. In most cases, generation beginning and end dates are pretty vague and loosely defined. But in this case, Cold Y Generation people nicked both the end of an abruptly ending Cold War Era and the beginning of an abrupt technology explosion.

Basically, current 26 and 27 year olds are just old enough to clearly remember a time before personal computers, before cell phones, before CD’s, and before the Cold War ended. On the other hand, they’re just young enough that they were in college when things like AIM and Facebook got big, and they are fully in tune with the online social world that current teenagers live in.

Am I being my-age-centric? Perhaps. Am I justified in doing so because the article gave me my own tiny generation? Yes indeed.

Oh, and the rhyme puzzle. Someone suggested “POOH SCREW FLU.” This seems legit to me since pooh is in the dictionary. Mine was “SKI THREE QUAY.” (Quay is pronounced “key.”) I originally had PRIX instead of SKI but the dictionary seems to think Prix is a proper noun.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

you're getting old and grey

Anonymous said...

I am a member of generation X. It is a random generation, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Grandbaby Boomers ...

I like it.

Word Verification = thich

Anonymous said...

Go Cold Y Generation! Weird term for it but sweet that we get our own mini-generation.

Leonard said...

I'm looking to make a little extra money. Let's exploit this "Cold Y Generation." I have 75 seventh graders that I could weasel...umm, gently persuade into believing in our superior generation.

Miriam said...

Actually, there is a generation called "Echo Boomers," which would be children of Boomers. Obviously, this overlaps with all incarnations of Generation Y, as well as Millennials, etc.

Also, from what I've heard, Cold Y generation actually ends around 1985, which makes sense. I was born in '84 and clearly remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and all the other signifiers of the end of the Cold War. I also remember when CDs became popular and a time before cell phones. It's all very weird to think about now.