First off, I feel an apology is in order. In my last column, I referenced a Pew Research article that listed Baby Boomers as people who were listed as being ages 51-69 and the article was written in 2016. I did some quick subtraction and came up with 1947, but I noticed later that the article has the Boomer generation written as beginning in 1946, not 1947. This is probably a result of Pew’s research being from the previous year before the article was published in 2016, but still, I done goofed. And, seeing as how I got six and a half hand-written pages that started with taking offense that I was one year off, I figure I should explain my millennial actions and throw myself on your mercy.
But there was something else in that letter I received that got me thinking, and we all know that’s never good. The letter started off with the following sentence:
“Hey, Eric. oops, I mean ‘hi’.”
I was flat-out confused by this. This letter was hand-written, so it wasn’t a mistake or a slip of the finger on a keyboard, so why was it written that way? I asked my sister (an even younger Millennial than I, terrifyingly enough) if she thought there was some commentary there and she replied with an online conversation she had found where some Baby Boomers were getting annoyed that us young ‘uns were saying “No Problem” instead of “You’re Welcome.”
And boy, that really got me thinking.
Language, like many things, is fluid. It’s always changing. I mean, a hit song back in 2016 used the word “cake” as a code word for, well, an act people often do, in songs sung by naughty young people. Much like how tight pants were the scandalous rage when my parents were teens, super baggy pants were in during my teens, and skinny jeans are in now, things are always changing. And I know my old history teacher would threaten to shred up my historian card for using the word “things,” but in reality very few things about our day-to-day life stay the same as the decades groan on. Heck, I’m 32 years old, so I’m still not 100% sure what “bae” or “on fleek” mean… and you know what? That’s just fine with me.
I’m not going to understand things. Trends will happen that I absolutely cannot understand (who am I kidding, that happened back in junior high) and that’s okay. I’m not, as a gross adult-creature, supposed to get them. As a ‘90s kid, I’m going to quote that most ‘90s of shows, The Simpsons, and say that when I’m subbing in a local high school, the talk and dress and ideas of the day seem “weird and scary to me,” but that’s fine. That’s what’s supposed to happen. Am I always going to understand? Nope, but I’m sure as shootin’ going to try, because if I don’t at least try to meet the new social order halfway on things, I’m just going to be another confused old codger on his hover-porch, and I’d much rather steal my grandson’s jetpack and fly to the holo-library. Because future.
Time’s not going to go backward. Things, all of the things, aren’t going to go back to the way it was when you were young and hip and with it and understood everything. It’s going to be weird and scary and uncomfortable. Embrace it, or at the very least don’t fight it, or you’ll end up as cranky, stubborn old so-and-so no one wants to be around… and this isn’t about Boomers. It’s about everyone. It’s about the kids I have in class. When things start to change, and they will, go with it, and try your best to understand it, just like you’re doing with this little bit of free advice I’m giving you.
And don’t worry about thanking me. It’s no problem.