It's official. Google is old enough to drink today. And that got me thinking. About my kids who never knew a time without Google or computers in general. About how changed the world is. About how when illness stole my mother's voice, telephones were still attached to walls with long spiral cords holding their parts together. About payphones, and rusty playground equipment, and neighborhood cops, and walking places without adults because you could, and being forced to sit in the back of the classroom with the other brown kids.
When I was a kid, none of us were special. None of my friends believed the sun rose and fell just for them. No one expected to have 5 let alone 15 minutes of fame. You've heard us named before. The Latchkey Generation -- the ones who went home to empty houses and frozen dinners; the ones who learned that there's certainty and sometimes safety in being alone and taking care of yourself. Generation X -- the cipher generation, the unknown quantity who learned that no matter what someone calls us, it doesn't change who we are. No matter whether or not those who come before us see us, we're still here. The Middle Kid Creeps -- the ones who never got Big Government's attention because we were never showy, neither perfect or messed up enough to count, always flying in beneath the radar. We were the self-proclaimed losers and slackers and unworthy who took it on the chin and kept coming back for more. We were the sardonic grinners, the quixotic heroes, the persistent pains who understood the long game, the ones who still know how to bide our time.
Some of us are approaching middle age, and some of us are already there so, logically, if fairness was a thing, it should mean that the truly elderly should be passing the torch. Yup. You may not have noticed, but we're still here. In the race. In the thick of things. We're still here with our quirky ideas, our passion for the underdog, and our self-deprecating humor. We're still here. And we have kids that we nurture without smothering. And we have ideas about saving the planet. And we are passionate about social issues even when we are on opposite sides of the fence. We're here, and we're oddball adults. We understand the ones who came before us who continue to suppress us with their hunger for power, and we understand those who come after us who will eclipse us with their narcissism and greed. No need to be peppery; we get you and we don't resent you. Not really. It would just be kind of cool if you guys refrained from breaking the planet so that our kids could maybe not die in a high school shooting or maybe have oceans that could sustain life. Just a suggestion. It would also be cool if, you know, you would not undo hundreds of years of social progress either through active hatred or passive acquiescence.
Of course, it's hard to define a generation or to paint one broadly with only one stroke. We are, after all, a group of individuals as contradictory as that may seem. Nevertheless, since hitting my 50s, I have found that my comfort in my own skin has led me to be rather fond of the group that I am lumped together with. We speak in jingles and comic book heroes all the while trying to save the world and sell the disenfranchised hope for the future. We speak geek and have sharp tongues all the while wrapping our hurts in dark cloth humor. And even though we are not waiting for our closeups, each of our lives has a soundtrack which includes music for the lonely, the quirky, the resilient, the invisible revolutionaries that we are.
Tip of My Tongue