My favorite band is the Wiggles

So I was at a party with some millennials a few weeks ago and they asked me who my favorite band was. And I answered as confidently as I always have since 1984, The Police. There are plenty of other types of music that I like and I have lots of bands I like. But the Police were just “THE BAND” for me forever. I hardly even listen to them anymore but when I do, I still love them. Is the idea that there is a band that you love and will always love something just Gen X has? Is your favorite band from when you were 18 still your favorite band or must you pretend to love trap music so a not to feel hopelessly old?

—Don’t Stand So Close To Me With That Vape Pen

Doo doo doo doo, doo da da da is all I have to say to you, DSSCTMWTVP.

If you were “at a party” and did not have to leave that party at 6:45 p.m. to a) attend to the whims of a miniature tyrant or b) go to the chiropractor, I hesitate to believe you are a Gen-Xer. NICE TRY, FAKER!

…and are they in CURSIVE?

Do people write each other love letters any more? 

— An Epistolary Romance (with Mix Tapes)

My Dearest & Most Cherished AER(WMT),

Beats the shit out of me. I’ve been with the same dude for thirteen years and the closest to a love letter I’ve ever gotten is a post-it on the oven that says “light on the cheese on my side of the pizza please.” The last “love note” I got was in 1994 and it was mostly Hermann Hesse quotes.

Yours in Faithfulness & c.,

Dr. Mrs. Rebecca Schuman, M.F.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Monday Speed Round

Were chicken pox really so bad we need a vaccine for them? Kids hate getting shots. Who decided board games like Life and Uno and Clue needed to be updated with electronic gizmos, and does that actually make them better? What’s the deal with hot dogs in Mac and cheese? Do you ever miss cassette tapes? Or CDs? What was it like to have to watch TV shows one episode at a time, and only at the scheduled time, and if you missed it you were screwed?

—I’m Not On Cocaine Right Now

OK, INOCRN, here goes:

Yes. Some asshole Baby Boomer; no. It ruins perfectly good Mac and Cheese with lips and assholes. Yes, so much, especially the mix my high-school boyfriend made for me and the mix my early-aughts boyfriend made for me (already a retro thing to do by then, which made it all the better); no. It was super fun because you only chose one or two shows that were “your” shows that were worth not going out at night for, and everyone stopped what they were doing and squeezed around the one TV in the Main Dorm smoking TV room and then when Melrose Place exploded in the cliffhanger of that one season ender like 55 people screamed OOOOOOOOOOOOOH at once, and it felt like you were part of something and doing something and not just hunkered down in your pajamas hoovering up all 10 episodes of Mrs. Maisel one after another, and now your life feels pointless.

Can I bum an Insta?

Is social media the new smoking? How will you teach your child about the harmful effects of a thing in which we actively participate? Do we have to quit?

— Kissing You Is Like Kissing an Algorithm

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy KYILKAA:

Yes and no. On the one hand, social media is toxic, addictive, and everywhere, and, as you said, Gen-X parents are prime I Learned It By Watching You Passive-Aggressively “Like” That Obnoxious Pumpkin Patch Photo By That PTO Mom You Hate. So yes, I think that if we’re going to tell our kids not to do it, we do have to quit. On the other hand, smoking, though gross and deadly, was extremely social and really goddamned fun. I made so many friends (and quite a few more-than-friends) thanks to smoking. Social media is profoundly alienating and destroys all the fun from life. On the balance, I sort of wish I’d never seen a Facebook but I still got to have smoke breaks with my cool coworkers in the stairwell of the old Chinatown building where the weird “professional” TV-trivia writing job I had in the early Aughts used to be.

#HoHoHoMeToo

Why do people still insist on telling their kids that Santa is real? Why don’t people think it’s creepy to tell their kids that Santa watches them while they sleep?

—North-Pole Truther

Happy Festivus, NPT:

Oh don’t get me fucking started on Santa Claus. I don’t know what I hate more about the Santa myth. Is it how inextricably bound Santa is with forcing behavioral normativity onto children? (Here’s a mind-blow for you: being “good” is actually just “acting in a way that is convenient to adults,” and adults, for the most part, are assholes.) Is it how cruelly capitalistic and class-unaware Santa is? (Oh, sorry, poor kid in class, I guess you were “bad” while Chet the rich little shit who gives you a swirlie every morning just scored an entire Best Buy! Welcome to fucking capitalism!) Is it the blatant disregard for the space-time continnum? Is it that Mrs. Claus is forced into a life of domestic servitude? 

Last year we did Christmas in Arizona with my in-laws and another family they’re tight with, and that family didn’t schlep 9 Toys R Usses to Arizona so the presents that “Santa” brought were modest, whereas my daughter’s grandmother had so many gifts for her that it required four ancillary Christmases to dispatch with them all, and this poor little 7-year-old girl was reduced to tears, like, Wait, was I not good? Does Santa not love me? and I was like We are really fucking doing this right now? I was prevented from dropping the truth onto that sweet, wise little child by relatives more concerned with “preserving the [classist, heteropatriarchal] magic of Christmas,” and I regret it. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the family, a few years ago my niece and nephew’s cousin (so, like, my second cousin-in-law or some such?), who was five at the time, somehow deduced that his presents didn’t come “from Santa,” they came “from Amazon,” and on the night before Christmas he requested (AND WAS GRANTED) the obliteration of a Santa-shaped piñata, after which he hoisted Santa’s disembodied head atop a stick and paraded around with it, a la Lord of the Flies. The irony of this, of course, is that Amazon really does see us when we’re asleep and awake and everything in between, and doesn’t give a fuck if we’re good or bad as long as we keep renewing Prime — and by and large, we’re cool with it.

What. EVER.

Why do Gen X people always single out Millennials for criticism? It’s always, “Hey, when I was in school you had to learn cursive, but now Millennials are too lazy,” or “these Millennials spend too much time on their phones, and it’s not as wholesome as the Atari console I used to play.” Yeah, we get that MTV used to have music videos but you get that we didn’t lobby to have that changed, right? It seems like you’ve had more of a say in making the world that Millennials have to live in, and it’d be nice if you actually “took responsibility,” to use a term that Gen Xers seem fond of. What gives?

—I Wrote This In Emoji

What’s your DAMAGE, IWTIE?

Sorry for being a Gen-X-splainer, but I’m gonna do it: Well Actually, friend, it was the Boomers who did all that shit, and it’s the Boomers who are complaining that you don’t know cursive. Fuck cursive! And anyone who tells you that the 19 hours a day they spent playing Atari was somehow more wholesome than whatever it is disaffected youngsters now do in their basements is just in denial about their own sociopathic tendencies.

But I swear, for the most part the primary complainers about Millennials – or those whose plaints are actually listened to by literally anyone — are Boomers. Outside of a niche subset of the film industry between the years 1991-1997, nobody listens to us. Ever.

You don’t like being blamed for young people’s shit, like that “startup” called Bodega literally invented to kill the bodega? Or the other startup where a “group rideshare” picks up riders on specific street corners at a specific schedule for a small fee, aka a FUCKING BUS? Well, I don’t like being blamed for old people’s bullshit either, man.

I know I look 900, but that’s just because my daughter sucks out my life force and I wake up every morning like that puckered corpse in Arachnophobia after the dinner-plate-sized spider spends three days feasting on it. But I’m only 42, and I have no influence in the world. 

PS I only got three “C” grades in my entire life. Two were in college during my junior year of work strike against Heinrich von Kleist and William Wordsworth, and the other one was in the fourth grade, in “penmanship,” and now I’m a professional writer, ipso facto, cursive has literally no purpose.

Well, how else are they gonna listen to that sweet Spin Doctors bootleg? Have you thought about that?

I’m a millennial married to a gen-Xer (or tail-end baby boomer depending on how you define it). My partner brought to the relationship a set of stereo equipment dating from the early 80 to 2000s: set of 5-foot-high Time Window speakers, amplifier Yamaha double tape deck (yes tapes!), 5-disk CD player. All of this takes up considerable space in the living room of our small apartment, and we NEVER listen to it! We got a bluetooth speaker 2 years ago and we both use either it or our computers to listen to music, podcasts, radio, etc. My partner will not hear of even putting the stuff into storage for someday when we have  a larger house, much less giving it away. What do you think?

— So I Married a Hoarder

SIMAH:

WOMAN! 
Whoa, man,
Whoooooooooooooooooooa, man!
Boomin’ the bass!
Junk in my space!
Get this shit out of my house!

Does anyone else remember that in 1993, Mike Myers’ character Charlie in So I Married an Axe Murderer makes an entire full-ass living as a shitty coffeehouse slam poet, who just self-plagiarizes the same tired quasi-misogynistic shite every single…I don’t even know how often he performs? But he lives in like a fancy house in San Francisco? Also, just as improbably, the soundtrack to this film features both versions of “There She Goes?” And that “There She Goes” is about heroin? Which does not feature in So I Married An Axe Murderer? That shit was legit my favorite movie for like five years. What the fuck is wrong with me?

Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. That is some borderline-Hoarders bullshit and completely inexcusable. What sort of emotional attachment does your spouse (who may or may not be a wo-man, it’s just that I had to make it fit with the poem, you see) have to this ridiculously outdated piece of equipment that, yes, cost a lot of money at the time it was procured but would scarcely beckon $25 at a garage sale now, given that it probably has no way to be hooked up to a phone?

Don’t be direct about it, because Gen-Xers think directness is way moody —but see if you can use whatever gentle manipulation you usually use to have delicate conversations with your spouse, and try to find out what’s really behind the attachment to the stereo system (that, by the way, is what we used to call it: a stereo system). Once you have made it clear that you value and honor whatever real thing is actually there (again, not directly but with actions that may or may not include accompanying your spouse on a trip to the record store), maybe your partner will come to their senses and get rid of that shit themselves. 

In unrelated news, my parents still have both their 60s-issue hi-fi (which now only operates in mono) and the Stereo System (with a six-6D changer and a DOUBLE TAPE DECK and an AM and FM radio!) my dad bought “for my mom” (she never used it) in their living room today, despite the fact that the only thing either of them ever listens to is NPR podcasts on the kitchen Bose thingy.

Jane, get me off this crazy thing…called love!

BONUS: Which version of “There She Goes” is better?