I heard a TV talk show host blathering the other day about generation Z, and I realized I had no idea what she was talking about. I know generation X and generation Y had been labeled a while back, but I hadn’t heard of Z. Some people also refer to the Millennials, which I think refers to anyone over a thousand years old. Show of hands?
Anyway, as she continued to slather the blather on thickly, one thing became apparent: each generation is getting shorter. I don’t know why that should be. Life spans are getting longer, so this generation trend seems to be bucking the bigger trend. Trends typically don’t enjoy being bucked, so I figure this can only lead to trouble. So, I tried to part the mists in the mirror to see what was going on.
In the beginning was the Greatest Generation (GG). Or so said Tom Brokaw, and who am I to argue with a nightly news god? The GG, according to Tom, was the generation that fought WWII. I believe they also invented acronyms. I don’t argue with Tom’s reasoning, or with any of the GG’s heroics and accomplishments. I just think Tom failed to take one thing into account. The generation he venerates is also the one whose solution to any childhood ailment was to administer an enema.
In those days, most children were on the wrong end of maybe seven or eight enemas a month. I think some of those enemas were preemptive strikes. I mean, nobody needs that many enemas, right? Of course, the GG was not naïve, and did not think that a single type of enema could combat all diseases or conditions. So the ammo that was loaded into the rubber bottle varied.
I believe many of my enemas were root beer. I’m sure some were just hot water, occasionally with bb’s or marbles. Parents had to be resourceful, as times were tough. These people didn’t get to be “Great” by shirking an enema just because they were low on pharmaceuticals. Based on my enema recollections, I believe the GG era lasted eight or ten decades; check with Tom, to be sure.
Next came the baby boomers. Geez, what a disappointment those dope-smoking hippies were to the GG. It was about this time that The Who sang “My Generation” while smashing their guitars. They didn’t say what generation they were, though, unless you count “my” as a generation. This was just after the Beatles discovered America and led the British Invasion. Fortunately, Paul Revere and the Raiders spread the word that the British were coming, allowing General George Washington and Jimi Hendrix to rebuff them at the Battle of Woodstock. This led to the famous saying, “How much wood would a Woodstock stock if a Woodstock would stock wood?”
There is strength in numbers, and there were several million baby boomers for each member of the GG. So after a while the BB’s took over and put a stop to enemas. Which is why they get my personal vote as the greatest generation.
Then, all of a sudden, when the BB’s aren’t looking, Generation X comes along. But Gen X barely has time to enjoy the pubescent phase when Gen Y pushes them out of the way, who are in turn promptly trampled by Gen Z. I know a trend when I see it, although you wouldn’t know that by the way I dress. Extrapolating the shortening span of each generation, I calculate that by the year 2020, each year will be its own generation. Worse, by 2045, a new generation will be born each day!
Just think of the consequences. Soon we’ll need an entire department of the federal government just to come up with names for these generations. There will be incredible jockeying for power and federal candy and trinkets. It will be special interest group mania. My Gen vs your Gen smackdown. Everyone will demand that they get special treatment.
In other words, it will be just like now.