The Millennial Generation has finally overtaken the Baby Boomers as the largest segment of the population. Various press sources reported this, including SEE-NN and The Bunion (including its Midwest affiliate The Bunyan). They seemed barely able to contain their glee. I think they were casting lots to throw the first shovelful of dirt on Boomer caskets.
As a Baby Boomer, though, I’m ecstatic over this development. I’m tired of the BB generation being blamed for humanity’s ills, just because it’s an incredibly bloated, self-centered segment of society that dominated for half a century. Millennials have shown themselves to be worthy heirs to that crown, and I, for one, can’t give it to them fast enough.
As many Baby Boomers discovered, the easy part of life is whining about being mistreated and misunderstood, and proclaiming, “when our generation takes over, look out.” Yes, that previous generation was a bunch of screw-ups who demolished the planet and our country and anything else they could get their avaricious mitts on.
The hard part of life is when a new generation ascends to power. “OK. now we’re in charge, and geez what a mess you old guys left. It’s going to take longer than we thought to clean this up, and wait a minute, my mortgage is due. And geez, someone else got my promotion, and my back hurts. And why do I have to pay back this college loan?” The Millennial Generation is just finding out about these realities.
Speaking of generations, what happened to Gen X? They certainly got short shrift. Gen X was swiftly booted aside for Gen Y, who then promptly changed their name to the Millennial Generation (having two names seems to me particularly narcissistic). And did we really start with “X”? What happened to the other letters? Where are Gens A through W?
When did we decide that generations should be given names, anyway? It seems a presumptuous conceit. As far as I can tell, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, et al, didn’t feel the need to call themselves the Revolting Generation. Wait – maybe that would be the Revolutionary Generation. Whatever – they didn’t do it. Neither did Lincoln and his contemporaries. So if they didn’t find it necessary, why do we? Are we that shallow and self-centered?
Aren’t segmented generations an illusion, after all? People are being born continuously. We don’t have a colossal slug of new people born, and then declare a birth hiatus for some years while we decide when it’s a good time for another slug. Although maybe we should do that. It would give us time to think of a good name for the next generation.
Fortunately, none of that is my problem. I’m so deep into fogeydom that it’s all I can do to come up with my own name, let alone divine a name for an entire generation. I’ll barely see them, anyway, unless I’m peeking in from the Great Beyond.
Maybe I’ll do that. Houdini said he’d do it if he could, so maybe I’ll look up Harry, and we’ll get ringside seats to the next generation’s trials and troubles.
So if you’re reading this 25 or 50 years after I wrote it (and why wouldn’t you be?), and you think you hear soft chuckling when no one’s there, don’t worry. That’ll be Houdini and me. We’ll be having a good time at your expense, and calling your generation frivolous names.