(The following is an excerpt from an essay in my newest book, Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off About, Humorous Essays on the Hassles of Our Time, which was available May 1.)
Every generation since Adam and Eve has criticized the next one for their music, fashion, work ethic and inexperience, forgetting that all those same criticisms were once leveled against them. Also forgetting they raised the next generation.
And every generation since Cain and Abel has criticized the last one for being hopelessly out of touch, as though they alone are “cool” and will be the first and only generation to remain that way forever.
And so it goes, generation after generation, like some hereditary disease, young people forgetting they stand on the shoulders of the geezers who came before them and older people forgetting the whippersnappers will soon be running things, possibly better than they did, but certainly no worse.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised to see the following article in my internet news feed recently: 25 Tragically Uncool Things Baby Boomers Won’t Let Die. But I was surprised to find there were actually 65 items on the list, which suggests that proofreading might be one of the things the authors find tragically uncool.
They didn’t mention their names, maybe fearing their grandmothers would stop sending them birthday money. Nor did they mention what generation they belong to—X, Y or Z. I’m sure in their minds that goes without saying. It’s the cool one.
To call wallpaper, throw pillows and Mrs. Dash tragically uncool seems a little overdramatic. And the authors are prone to sweeping generalizations too. As I read their “list of things that baby boomers think are cool, but they so aren’t,” I realized I, an actual baby boomer, don’t find most of them cool at all—or tragically uncool for that matter.
I’m a live-and-let-live kind of person myself, which I think is one of my cooler qualities. And while I don’t own them myself, if someone wants to wear air-brushed t-shirts and Crocs, I’m blissfully neutral about it, as I am about golf, scripted wall art and Yahoo.
I don’t even own a tragically uncool landline anymore, though I wish I did every time I misplace my cellphone somewhere in my house, which is fairly often and also very uncool.
I don’t play racquetball, but I think anyone who puts their smartphone down long enough to get up and move their body is pretty cool.
I don’t type messages in all capital letters, another alleged uncool sin of baby boomers. You’ll notice I haven’t used all caps once in this entire piece. SO THERE!
And I don’t “jump for joy” when I see a Reader’s Digest, as the authors claim baby boomers do. I don’t even subscribe to it, but if you do, more power to you. At least you’re reading something besides social media posts.
I do occasionally shop in malls, which are, according to the authors, tragically uncool since they can buy whatever they want online. I have two words for them: Orange Julius. Besides, malls are staffed with people, some of them very cool, who need jobs.
I’ve been known to iron, but not because I think it’s cool. I do it when my clothes look like I slept in them, which is not cool at all.
I’ll be happy to let email die and learn the next cool thing, but cool or not, people keep emailing me, so I better keep emailing them back.
I have neither the time nor the energy to discuss them all, but I will say that of all 65 items on the list of 25 tragically uncool things baby boomers supposedly love, there were only a few I’d call cool. My husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary with a cruise, and I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Anyone who thinks meatloaf is uncool never ate my mom’s. And I enjoy an episode of NCIS now and then; it gives me something to watch while I iron.
Somewhere between tragically uncool juice from concentrate and paying bills the old fashioned way, the authors managed to blame baby boomers for the Social Security predicament, though we don’t find that any cooler than they do
I’d advise them to start saving for retirement, because whether they believe it nor not, they’ll be older and uncool someday too. But the cool part about getting older is you no longer worry so much about being cool. That’s a good thing because there’s an entire generation coming up behind you, ready to tell just how uncool you are—exactly like you once did to someone else.
(Dorothy Rosby likes avocado toast as much as any millennial.)
The coolest generation: young forget they stand on shoulders of geezers