This phrase has been going around a lot lately, and boy, I wish it wouldn’t. I find it ironic that a generation which prides itself so much on the weight of words and the way language constructs influence out society and make a physical impact on others do this in many of the same ways that oppressors have used language in the past.
Ask any marginalized group what simple words have done to dismiss their accomplishments throughout history. You don’t get a pass using a word to do this to a group with a perceived dominance either. In using the generational label to negate anything they say you are no better than they are. It’s about equality, it’s not about paybacks.
As a GenXer, I spent the last 20-30 years with the media calling my generation nothing but a bunch of unmotivated slackers. But like our Baby Boomer generational predecessors, we were raised in the shadow of the Greatest Generation. The same people who survived the Great Depression and fought World War II were also the same people we looked up to when it came to work ethic, values, morality, and all that shit that doesn’t matter today. Chances are, well into their 70s, a lot of us are still at the bottom rung of the ladder while the Baby Boomer generation is still tenaciously clinging to the top, unwilling and unable to retire to let us make more than base pay.
Now that I’ve laid the groundwork, let me give you the anecdote. Today, not an hour ago, a woman came into the office, asking for a first aid kit. Or some band-aids. A young lady had been skateboarding close to the office and had fallen. She had fallen and hurt herself pretty bad, but not badly enough for an ambulance. So, I grabbed the office first aid kit and walked across the quad to the adjacent parking lot where she was, accompanied by two young men.
She sat on the ground with her legs outstretched in front of her, like she was watching a TV show on the living room floor. The boys hovering over her. Her boyfriend was one of them, and he had brought his car. I assessed her vitals, talked to her, asked for consent to help. Once given, I gloved up and ripped the hole even bigger around her knee, telling her that her pants were going to be more stylish. Her boyfriend marveled at how easy it had been to tear the fabric, as he had been trying before me.
The cut was deep, but there was no fat or bone visible. She even said it didn’t hurt much. I let her know I was going to clean the wound and then put on a gauze bandage, which I would tape in place over her jeans. I went through the steps just like I said, and her wound was barely bleeding and not very deep. The gauze bandage wicked up the blood pretty quickly but didn’t soak through. She stood with help and was able to move her knee and her wrists. The scuffs on her forearms were much worse and stung when I cleaned them.
I gave her a handful of band-aids, a cold compress, and told her to go home and clean the wound really well with warm soapy water. Also, I told her about the signs of shock (since she was shaky and a little disociative from the adrenaline) and to call the doctor if she blacked out. I also recommended some Motrin for pain and swelling. Also a better skateboard.
From what I could gather, she had never hurt herself like this in 18 years of life and this was her first roadrash. Yes, you read that right. First. Roadrash. I’m confident she would have still been sitting on the ground until either an ambulance or someone else came along. I can’t remember the number of times I had walked myself home after a bike wreck or some jackassery my friends and I were up to. Has the world gotten so nerfed that someone exists who is old enough to have a boyfriend they can call on their cell phone to come drive to pick them up from their first roadrash?
When I started working on the wound, she asked if I had any medical experience. I had to think and said, “I was a Boy Scout, does that count?” She said very meekly, “Yes.” I could have also mentioned that I’m a father of three and this is not my first rodeo when it comes to scrapes and bruises. But that’s just the thing too, I was sorta the medic for my Boy Scout troop. I patched my friends (and myself) together after all sorts of shenanigans. Burns. Cuts. Break. Sprains. Concussions. Hypothermia. Sunburns. Heatstroke. Etc.
We were not sheltered.
We went into this world with wild abandon while our Boomer parents were working their asses off or extending their childhood a few more decades. We took care of ourselves. We got hurt and got right back up again. Our parents didn’t always give a fuck either.
So whenever I hear “Okay Boomer,” I used to chuckle because everyone gets sick of “Back in my day…snow uphill both ways” stories. But kids, THIS is the reason the Boomers are being as critical as they are. Your world is nerfed and safe. The scariest thing you have had to face is pronouns. Cigarettes are bad, but weed should be legal and you are very adamant about this. Trump is literally worse than Hitler! (TM)–I’ve met people with Holocaust tattoos–sorry, but you are wrong.
You are out of your element, and as annoying as the Boomers are, they are sorta right. You are as Green as a June melon.
Schools suspend and expel kids for making fake guns to play with at recess out of sticks, but by the time they are 18, they are joining the military to fight forever wars. They are encouraged to protest and lay down in traffic for a cause, but they aren’t able to read a document in the cursive it was written in which protects their rights to do so. They are taught to simultaneously fear the police and depend on them as the only people who can protect them.
In my Generation, we stand at the border between these two generational groups and we just shake our heads. We were the ones told what fuck ups we were growing up, but now have to take care of the generation ahead of us, while tolerating the ones who came after. Talk about middle kid syndrome.
So, let your kids get roughed up a little bit by life. It’s good for them. And this “Okay, Boomer”shit? You’re better than that.