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This was written during an election. I can’t remember which one, because they all run together and, it seems, never stop. One election ends, you think it’s over, and another begins. And still, the politicians and their ilk never talk to me and my people as they should… But this piece is re-running here at TG Geeks because I strongly feel that there are some of us being Okay Boomered who don’t deserve it…
I was born during interesting, turbulent times. Of course I, like everyone else born in the same and surrounding years, was too young to pay much attention to them. But I hear they were fascinating, vital times for our country.
It’s election time, and as always, the pols are focused on the Baby Boomers, which make up a huge amount of the population, the AARP Warriors, making up another huge chunkola, and Generations X, Y and Z, all of whom can, apparently, vote. (Whether they WILL or not is another question for another column probably written by another writer.)
However, MY generation is never considered.
“What do you mean?” you ask.
Here’s, exactly, what I mean.
Those of us born between the years of 1961 and 1969 are a people without a generational tag.
“Baby Boomers!” you say, quick as you can. And, yes, in some studies and some places, those of us born in the earlier 1960’s “count” as Boomers. Only…we’re not.
I know we’re not, clearly, because the Boomers all did things like desperately dodge the draft. Hey, when I was five, we were WINNING in Viet Nam, okay? At least, in my childish view of things. By the time my compadres and I were old enough to worry, we were out of ‘Nam, out of Nixon, and out of forced armed servitude.
“Gen X, then!” you say, just as quickly.
Hardly. We didn’t wear pants so low that we couldn’t walk. Sure, we wore bell bottoms almost so wide we couldn’t walk, but only ‘cause our older siblings and/or parents did it. We didn’t whine about not having pensions or social security or jobs or whatever it is that Generation X is so fond of whining about. We didn’t major in Angst and minor in Slack.
The real Boomers diss us. We’re too young for them. Well, not in terms of dating or marriage or employment. But in terms of association with The Generation. We’re not really in the Baby Boomer Club.
Gen X sees us as painful reminders that there but for the grace of birth order could go they. We’re no more allowed to be in Gen X than we’re allowed to joyride in Air Force One.
But, never fear, my generation of lost souls. I have figured out what, in truth, we really are.
We’re the Pepsi Generation. (And, as someone who vastly prefers Coca-Cola products, that’s a hard one to get out willingly.)
“Why so?” you ask, with a whole lot less enthusiasm than you did earlier.
Because those ads – ridiculous excess combined with Michael Jackson flaming on camera – represent much of what mattered to us. Brands. Atrocious dressing that’s still better than what Gen X puts on and still less dorky than what the Boomers think was hip. Grooming – again something that neither the Boomers or Gen Xers got right on their first million tries. Massive excess. Girls wearing ties. Boys wearing things that look, these days, like they’re part of a female impersonator’s revue but were, in our heyday, considered both sexy AND manly. We’re the generation that came of age in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Our musician IS Michael Jackson, through ALL his periods. (It’s not Michael’s fault. He THOUGHT he was a Boomer.) The movie that actually captures best what the late ‘70’s were like is “Saturday Night Fever”; the movie doing the same thing for the ‘80’s is “Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Fourth Dimension”. (Don’t agree? Watch the night club scene and look, really LOOK at how everyone’s dressed, then go look at your HS and college pictures. I’ll wait. Yep…ol’ Buckaroo had STYLE, man. OUR style.)
When the “You know you’re a Boomer” email comes by, we can only relate to about half of the “remember this” questions. When the Gen X one comes by we can go, “hey, but that was sort of accepted for me, too”, but only half-heartedly. Only a few of us WANT to join Gen X (other than for drinks, later, particularly if Gen X is buying).
So, I say we embrace being The Pepsi Generation (especially if they’ll give us huge endorsement deals for pimping their product in our name). We need to organize, though. Our generation should be courted for votes and opinions. We may be the Lost Nametag Generation, but none of US are close to retirement age. We have years of improved buying power ahead of us – and, let’s face it, the Pepsi Generation likes to shop. We need buttons, flyers, lobbyists, and our own “face”. Sadly, since Michael Jackson is gone now (and when he was still with us, seemed to be lacking a nose), he’s probably not the best choice to represent us.
But someone else is. Someone who boldly went baggy while maintaining modesty. Someone who came from nothing, got it all, lost it all, and is building back again. Someone who is one of us, born between 1961-1969.
I give you M.C. “Can’t Touch This” Hammer, spokesdude for our lost generation. Oh, and trust me – genie and parachute pants are coming back. And, lucky us, we have VINTAGE in OUR closets. Pepsi Generation – it’s Hammer Time!
Excerpted from Random Musings from the Funny Girl, copyright 2014 Jeanne Cook. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org.