Apparently there’s this war I didn’t know about going on between Baby Boomers (67 to 49 year olds) and so-called Millennials or Echo Boomers (32-ish to 13 year olds). My little corner of the blogosphere is buzzing with criticism of how we Boomers permanently screwed up the planet and, more specifically screwed up Millennials’ future. We clash at the office, they say, we’re so different we create a dysfunctional workplace. But I’m here to call a ceasefire and shed some light on this "conflict."
First of all: why wouldn’t Millennials be at odds with Baby Boomers? It makes total sense: We’re your parents! Everything parents do is lame; we embarrass you in front of your friends. When we walk into the room you stop talking. “Gawd, mom! Tch, would you pull-eeze just leave!” We can’t figure out how to work TiVo. We’re simply in the way.
And you are our kids. Your music’s always too loud and, besides, no one’ll ever be as good as The Beatles. Your pants hang down too far, your hairdos are too weird, and we have to nag you to do your chores. I have four Echo Boomers of my own so I know the drill.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time defending Boomers, going over what we did and didn’t do. Blaming an entire generation for the actions of a few? Really? Being a Boomer was something I was born with, it wasn’t a choice. It’s who I am. I am not ashamed of my chronology.
I won’t go into how you have Boomers to thank for iPods and cellphones and Transformer movies. Universal healthcare and the Internet.
I’m not going to list off Boomers you might like: Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh. Elizabeth Warren, either Clinton, or Barack Obama.
Just like I won’t list off Millennials who you might think are totes redic: Justin Bieber, Manti Te'o, Honey Boo Boo’s Mama June, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, or Senjaya.
I’m not going to go there. I’m just going to remind you: there are currently 80 million Millennials in this country compared to 76 or so million Boomers. There are more of you than there are of us. Yep. Now the tired, ol’ “pig in a python” analogy applied to Boomers to show how much we consume or expect from life or how much physical space we take up... Now we can apply that analogy to a second pig in that python and this little piggy, thy name is Millennial. Yeah, you outnumber us. So out vote us. Run for office. Change things. Oh right, statistics say you’re disillusioned with politics. Hey, join the club.
So you chill at mom and dad’s, racking up major scores on Call of Duty, feeling sorry for yourselves, bitching about all the opportunities that got shipped overseas. I know— Millennials got to the party late and the keg’s half empty and the pizza, what’s left of it, is cold...
But it looks like a bunch of your peers have figured out how to throw a party of their own. Sure, some of them are doing a Zuckerberg and just making crap tons of money designing marketing software or running a national chain of frozen yogurt stands. But a lot of Echo Boomers are making a real difference in the world: creating new kinds of electronics, pioneering genetic engineering techniques, or new ways to distribute food in Africa. Brain-mapping. Breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s. Hell, during his freshman year in college, Josh Sommer started a research foundation to find a cure for the rare form of cancer he had! Think about that while your bootlegged songs are torrenting. He put together funding for his own foundation for his own disease! These Millennials don’t seem to be the least bit phased by Boomer’s past behavior. In fact, they’re kind of kicking Boomer ass.
Yeah, Boomers drove the country into a ditch... Sorry. It was a long, slow slide. I tried to do my part but I wasn’t driving. I was way in the back. But Millennials have the energy to pull America out of the ditch, polish it up, and get it purring again. I’m tired. I’m old, beaten up. I’ve got bad knees. When I was your age, I was full of piss and vinegar (as my father used to say). I had optimism, in many cases blind optimism. Or I was so stupid I didn’t see the hurdles. But hurdles didn’t matter. I was fearless.
I have faith in you guys. You should, too...
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