Editorial: Has Generation X been lost in the shuffle?

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Over the past several years, there’s been plenty of chatter about generational differences between the boomers, millenials and Generation Z. It’s been mostly insults and finger pointing as those involved in the ongoing conversation duke it out over who is to blame for everything that’s wrong in this world. It seems as though someone wasn’t invited to the debate. We are Generation X and we are pretty cool with that–being ignored is kind of our thing.  

Generation X has been referred to as the “slacker generation” on numerous occasions but really, we’re just exhausted from being stuck between two of the loudest generations to have ever existed. It has been suggested that Gen X play a more active role in helping solve this ongoing war between the boomers and millennials, but that’s a hard no from me.  

We spent most of our lives being ignored and we’ve grown to enjoy it. I’d rather sit back with a bowl of Smurf Berry Crunch Cereal and watch reruns of the Grand Prize Game on the Bozo Show than get involved with the ridiculous nonsense of the “OK, boomer” war. Honestly, I think both sides should go to their room, listen to a Cure album and think about how they are acting.  

In my day-to-day interactions, it seems as though both boomers and millennials believe Gen X is on their side. That’s hysterical! We are latchkey kids–sent home to eat a box of Fruit Roll-Ups and hope the VCR recorded “All My Children” in its entirety. We don’t care about y’alls drama. Besides, I still have unresolved feelings about Jenny dying in the Jet Ski accident (poor Greg). We also thought “Heathers” was fantastically funny and that should tell you a lot about where we stand.  

As reluctant as I am as a Gen X-er to get involved, I do have a few small requests from our bookend generations: 

Millennials (Gen Z too), please stop saying “OK boomer” to every person older than you with whom you have a difference of opinion. It is crucial to understand the difference between disagreement and indifference. If you sense indifference, you are probably not talking to a boomer. We are the ones still upset that you guys destroyed MTV yet for some reason, kept throwing Rick Astley in our faces.  

Boomers, if you could stop complaining about participation trophies, that would be great. I still have a trophy for every year I played organized sports in the 70s and 80s so the concept has been around since you were calling all the shots and coaching all the teams. As Billy Joel would say, “We didn’t start the fire.”  

Millennials, stop demanding apologies for stupid things people said or did decades ago. Everyone has a few dumb words/actions to their name, and that is part of growing up. We make mistakes, we learn from them and we grow as people. That is part of life’s journey. You’ve been into social activism since you were 12 and that’s great. Wanna know what I was into when I was 12? Duran Duran’s album “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and finding the perfect laces for my roller skates. We may not always understand differences, but we learn to accept them and move forward.  

Boomers, quit saying any statement that begins with “These kids today.” They don’t have it easier, they have it different. Every time a young person makes the news for doing something stupid or horrible, the “these kids today” generalizations ramp up. Kids today have no privacy, graduate high school with associate’s degrees and face issues we couldn’t have fathomed when we were kids.  

To the Gen Z kids, hang in there. You get lumped in as millennials way too often and believe me, Gen X completely understands what that is like. You might be young, but never let anyone tell you that your ideas and opinions are meaningless or stupid. Consider us your crazy aunts and uncles if you need to talk.  

The rest of the world may dismiss Gen X, perhaps because of our bold hair and clothing fashion of the 80s and that weird Valley Girl phase. The “I don’t care” persona we are known for is not completely accurate. We don’t care about things that don’t matter!! We are passionate about things that do–empathy, family, acceptance, inclusivity, peace and understanding. Gen X didn’t just love John Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club,” we lived and understood it.  

For those who need a refresher: a reminder from Brian Johnson: 

“Dear Mr. Vernon,  

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question?  

Sincerely Yours,  

The Breakfast Club” 

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