This week Baby Boomer Chris Erskine took to his column on being a fusty middle aged white man (which is a paying job in this culture when motherhood is not) to jokingly claim to be a Millennial and admonish kids these days on how to better please him. His comments are in italic with my responses below.
• I am entitled to nothing.
I am entitled to the same life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as all prior generations and the rights our soldiers supposedly fought and died for.
• I will show up on time.
I already show up on time. What’s your point? Is the millennial generation known for being later than others, can I see the data?
• I will not shun comedians or college commencement speakers just because I don’t agree with them.
I will not give unearned respect to comedians or commencement speakers just because they are older and wealthier. I will not laugh at jokes that aren’t funny.
• Just once, I will try driving without texting.
I ride the bus.
• Just once, I will try eating without texting.
I will not judge others for texting while eating. Some people find talking while eating just as rude.
• I will not consider the cilantro on my taco to be a vegetable.
I will not presume an entire generation has the exact same eating habits, because that would be equal parts ridiculous and wrong.
• I will learn to laugh at everything, especially myself.
Millenials already laugh at everything, including ourselves. What do you think memes are? No, I don’t mean the horrible minion ones from old people.
• When meeting someone for the first time, I will always look him or her in the eye.
When meeting someone, I will not enforce unwanted eye contact because that is ableist and a silly cultural norm.
• I will not burn bridges.
I will burn bridges. “I will let the bridges I burn light the way.” I will join a network of bloggers called Burning Bridges.
• I will not burn overpasses.
I will seek to destroy systems of inequality and support disruptive protests.
• Each year, I will pen at least one thank-you note, using what’s left of my cursive writing skills.
I wrote this entire blog post in pen – in cursive! – before typing it up. As usual. Each year I will practice a skill I want to retain.
• I will be resourceful, creative and authentic.
This generation IS resourceful, creative, and authentic. We blog our lives for the world to see, make our kids’ lunches into photo-worthy works of art, and survive in an upside-down economy.
• I will vote. Always.
I will vote when I am able. I will not shame those who don’t.
• I will (mostly) swear off smut.
I will swear off what harms me.
• I will not be smut.
I will enjoy harmless smutty fun and not judge others for the same. I will never reduce a person to their smut.
• I will learn all my siblings’ names (even the younger ones).
I’m the youngest. What even is this millennial you describe and are they made of straw?
• I will not spend an entire weekend exploring my own mouth with a coffee straw.
WHAT EVEN ARE YOU?
• I will learn to pick my battles.
I’m a divorced mother of a ten-year-old, but sure, this is an entirely new and novel concept. Lumping everyone from 18 to 34 into one generation means some of us are old enough to have birthed people supposedly in the same generation.
• When I don’t get my way, I will learn to roll with it.
Unless the right thing to do is to not roll with it, but fight. Then I will fight.
• I will not go on a job interview in shorts and flip-flops, even if “this job is so beneath me.”
Has anyone actually ever done this? Do you think the rich children of your rich Boomer friends are an accurate portrayal of an entire generation (or more)?
• Nothing is beneath me.
Bullshit. A lot of things are, and as someone who has lived in poverty much of my life, I’m familiar with them.
• I promise not to misuse the word “literally.” As in “I am literally dying of hunger” or “You are literally being so rude.”
I promise not to become a useless elder whining about kids these days using language in ways I don’t approve of.
• If my first-born is a boy, I promise not to name him Uber.
He’s ten. You made the age category big enough some of us already have kids, have had them for a decade or longer. Uber didn’t even exist when we were naming our children, who are old enough to roll their eyes at your nonsense.
• When I finally move out of my parents’ home, I will not take all their vodka and half their towels.
Oh ho ho, those parents with their material possessions. Better let them keep it all! But seriously, like many in this age range, I’m on anti-depressant medication that doesn’t mix well with alcohol, so I completely abstain.
• I will not use crowd-funding to pay for my first car.
I will crowd-funding however I need to, without apology.
• If I can’t afford car insurance, I won’t spend $20 a day on coffee.
If I can’t afford to pay someone’s bills, I won’t judge them for how they spend their money.
• I won’t give only gift cards for Christmas.
I won’t give anything to ungrateful whining boomers.
• I won’t sneak texts during funerals even if it’s “totally boring and the dead guy is just lying there anyway.”
I actually hate texting almost as much as I hate funerals. Does that make me not a millennial or your concept of millennial limited?
• At holiday dinners, I will leave my phone in my room.
At holidays I will be living in a different state than most of my family and using a phone to connect with them.
• All those T-shirts? I will wash them.
I’m a freaking mom. We’re kind of known for our responsibility with thankless household tasks like laundry. I’m wondering if the author does his own laundry, or if a wife does it for him or perhaps he hires it out to a cleaning service.
• I will not use pepper spray to season a burrito.
I have an allergic reaction to even mild black pepper. I never add pepper to anything and frequently send things back for being too spicy. I don’t even eat burritos. Beans are gross. I didn’t realize I was supposed to eat the same food as every other race, ability, preference, gender, and income level of my approximate age.
• I will not run up my credit cards.
I don’t even have credit cards.
• I will save 10% of everything I earn.
I do not earn 110% of my bills, and therefore saving is a pipe dream.
• If I hate my new job, I will not fake my own death. I will give a full two weeks’ notice like grown-ups usually do.
If I hate my job, I’m probably stuck in it for years to come because Boomers destroyed the job market and invented the unpaid internship.
• I will force myself to finally make a phone call.
I will not judge people with social anxiety for struggling to make phone calls, including myself.
• In high school or college, I will get a part-time job. Even if it’s beneath me.
Been there, done that, got the worker’s compensation for the slip and fall.I also worked three part-time jobs in college as a single mother. My generation is not actually lazy, so maybe put this myth to bed.
• Again, nothing is beneath me.
Bullshit. I am human. I have worth. So are you and so do you.
• Well, most things are not beneath me.
I’ve been homeless multiple times, so I kind of feel like you’re talking about things I’ve only aspired to and saying those aren’t beneath me, and I probably agree.
• I promise not to text anything of life-changing significance: a marriage proposal, a divorce decree, a positive result.
I promise not to hate on people for using alternative communication, which may very well be a disability accommodation.
• When I get my way, I will be grateful and not assume that I will always get my way.
When do I ever get my way? Patriarchy and capitalism and toxic whiteness are all still here.
• I will always remember Aristotle’s quote: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
I will always remember to seek out the wisdom of women and people of color, not just the men taught about in my schooling.
• At least once a week, I will hug my mom the way I hug my friends every single time I see them.
My mother lives across the country. Some moms are dead. Some moms don’t deserve hugs. I will not judge others for how the level of contact they choose to have, and I will never make physical affection compulsory.
• I will do nice things just because.
This generation already does. Check out the Pew Research poll on generations. (TL;DR Millennials are awesome, Boomers suck).
• I will live each day.
I will continue to fight the depression that disproportionately impacts Millennials each day, for as long as I can.
• I will sleep each night.
I will attempt to sleep each night, despite chronic pain and anxiety. I will not be hard on myself when I fail.
• I am entitled to nothing but that.
I am entitled to so much more, as is this generation. We are entitled to a world worth passing on to the next generation, and we were entitled to a better world than the Boomer inherited, but were denied it.