Slinging drinks makes one privy to many a sordid and often hilarious conversation that goes on barside. And while behind the timber, we learn to keep our ears perked and our mouths shut for the most part, this ain’t no high collar place. As point of fact, the Cheers-esque environment where I collect my dollas, is a comfortable place where everyone knows your name, indeed, and, make no mistake, they also know your business. The telephone game has long been a thing (we won’t discuss how the Bible fits into the game in this entry) but let’s be honest, most of us know the deets straight from the drunken horses’ mouth.
So, without breaking any patron/bartender confidentiality (that I mostly adhere to), I will say one thing I hear a lot of bitching about: “This generation” – a bunch of narcistic, lazy, snowflakes, 80% of them worthless. And I? Think that’s an overblown load of shit.
Youth bashing is nothing new. Our parents did it, their parents did it, and Gen Z will complain about the generations that follow them, no doubt. Young people will always exist and old people will always complain about them. And, it’s safe to say that, in turn the former will also roll their eyes in frustration over the lack of understanding of their predecessors. It’s just how it is.
When the bicycle was invented, the older generation hated it, believing it would make the young kids lazy and unfocused. There was concern about metal health, and in fact, it was written “there is not the slightest doubt that bicycle riding, if persisted in, leads to weakness of mind, general lunacy, and homicidal mania” in an article in The New York Times titled “Lunacy in England” in 1894. And they considered the “plunging motion” of riding the crazy contraption wholly innappropriate for women.
In the early 1980’s, one cover story about the dangers of bringing the (massive, over the shoulder) video camera into our homes created buzz over concern of an oncoming generation of unfocused, materialistic, lazy narcisists. Huh. Well, doesn’t that sound familiar. The same generation on the cover of that magazine? Are the ones who in the early aughts chastised millenials for the very similar traits with an updated media. Should we be surprised that millenials are looking at Gen Z with a weary eye?
The truth is? Changes in any way at all is about the only thing we can rely on. And comparing things “back in my day” to how they exist now? Is just not a fair correlation. Periodically, things change, and our society, our gang? We change right along with it. Sans the older generations, of course, who, as history dictates, struggles with shifts and transitions of most sorts.
I don’t want to be that kind of older generation- the type who distrusts those younger than myself, one who views technology beyond my own to be somehow dubious. I want to believe those I raised (those my friends and family raised, those my generation raised, and those beyond) were given tools to work within whatever confines of youth bashing they’ll have to deal with themselves. I mean, truth: We may not personally like the new tech, but, hey, doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Especially if the older gen is the one on the way out – which is mostly the case, anyway.
And however much I may not understand the slang of today, (or 60% of the lyrics to the top 40), I, as well as most the generations before me, understand one thing to be certain: No one invented anything new that is being lamented about here. Except, perhaps, new terms for the same ol’ shit….