Second only to the 70's, the penultimate time to be alive and American. Just missed it.
Don't worry, this isn't another list of "87 things my fist-shaking generation had that were better than yours." You can't shake a microchip without hitting millions of those. Atari was rad all right, but you hadda be there. Also my life was very different than most, so pretty much only my brother would be able to relate to my list. And he wouldn't read a blog if you paid him.
Well, you'd have to pay him a lot. In advance. And explain a few words. The whole setup isn't worth the payoff. I can make him laugh as much just by saying the words,
from that scene in "Police Academy 2," where the sound effects dude does all those sound affects. Kills us every time.
If anyone says 'television' or even 'TV' we can't not say:
"I don't even own a television," in a super douchey voice.
No one called us out on this, or judged us, or reported our parents to DCFS or said (out loud) how they were endangering us. Oh they were, but that was a parent's call in the 80's, not society's. If you had children, you didn't let the government tell you whether you should spank them, or shame them, or send them to public school. You thought about what your parents did, and you did the exact opposite.
THAT is how you parented, and you never wondered for one second if you were doing the right thing. The adult knows better, end of story. Parents didn't ask for advice, or read books about parenting, or consult a network of their piers. Oh, hell no. Kids, shut your mouths, do your chores, then finish your homework and watch all the TV your bugged-out eyes can take in.
It wasn't perfect, but everyone did the best they could and didn't waste time and energy arguing with each other about individual decisions. People didn't put each other down for things like their food choices. You bought an apple, you assumed it was good for you. We drank the Kool-Aid. Literally. And felt like it was healthy, because hey, it's better than soda.
|We also drank the crap out of soda. milwaukeemag.com|
We drank water out of the tap and felt good about it. Some smart guy put chlorine in the water, and that killed all the bad stuff. And another smarty pants put fluoride in it, so we would have nice, strong teeth and didn't wind up in the Big Book of British Smiles.
We started to get smarter about things. We read. We read everything, and by that I mean newspapers and magazines and books. Because that is all we had to chose from. There was a long time between some smart person writing a book, and doing actual research first, getting it printed and distributed to the public. Once we read that information, we took at as fact.
We didn't have everyone and their sketchy uncle uploading made up information to eleventy billion web sites, giving their two cents claiming to be an expert. All claiming to know what is best for us. All promising us they have our best interest in mind. All putting down the other media sources, saying those guys are wrong, their data is flawed, only conservative points of view are valid, everything we know about everything is wrong and it's all killing us. Why do we have to do this?
Oh yeah, for clicks.
The way we share information now about what is good for us, and which shit is killing us now, and why, is overwhelming. I don't mean in a "You're world is frightening and confusing" unfrozen caveman lawyer way. Our every day news-watching and information gathering has gone off the rails. We don't know what to believe. I don't believe anything anymore.
Mine was the first generation to play video games and be comfortable with computers, and at this point it may have gone to our heads. Anyone with internet access has their own site full of information, filled with ads to try not to click on. Like this piece of garbage you're reading now, what the hell does she know? Not much, but at least there are no ads here.
I'm not sure if we know too much, or have too much information, or just go about sharing it the wrong way. Everywhere you turn, you get conflicting information. Without any source information for where we get this expert knowledge.
Use sunscreen, sunscreen will give you cancer.
Eat vegetables, but the pesticides will give you cancer.
Don't drink milk anymore, but every other source of calcium will definitely give you cancer.
Drink 8 glasses of water, no you don't need 8 glasses.
Water will save your life, too much will flush out your potassium, we're all dehydrated, but the water from your sink that we've taken great lengths to make healthy contains people's flushed medicine and poisons, and bottled water comes in plastic bottles that will totally give you cancer and fill the ocean with a floating island of garbage that will definitely kill us all horribly.
To use just one, seemingly easy example:
Exercise is good for us.
So simple, right?
We know this. We've always known this.
Now however, we barrage each other with information on the right kind of exercise, you have to stretch first, stretch after, drink water first, no not Smart Water, do you know what kind of poison HFCS is?
Eat protein first, but not meat, NO NOT soy protein, never soy, yogurt, no greek yogurt, no eat fruit first, make your own breakfast fuel but for the love of all that is holy do not put bleached flour into your temple, don't eat anything first, run outside, no cement is bad for your joints, wear the right arch supports, no run barefoot, now use these freaky separated toe running shoes, join a gym, pay a personal trainer because 'Do you even lift, bro?' Weight training burns 147% more calories than cardio alone...
Load up your iPod with the right playlist, no now use your phone with this music app where we can share playlists, no that one is sooo last year, now use iTunes again on the latest device you didn't know you absolutely need to have.
Oh wait you've used more than 5 devices for your purchased music, sorry.
Game over on all that legally purchased info-tainment, Apple fans.
Now buy this Fitness app, it's totally worth it, no not that fitness app you old, outdated geezer.
Be sure to post your workout on social media to keep motivated and motivate others, and uhmawgawd how many times do we need to hear about your workout on Facebook?
SHUTTHEFREAKUP. Shut up so hard.
I can't even take it anymore. I don't even want the latest, or the greatest. I don't care what the new thing is, or what the latest data shows. A recent survey I took show that 100% of people in my brain don't give a shit what you did to lose 10 pounds. I'm never buying a diet pill or a wrap to melt fat, or whatever else is the miracle of the year.
I don't know about anyone else, but personally? I've had enough.
ENOUGH with the contradictory information, conflicting messages, and bi-polar definitions of healthy always comin' at us, Bro. Even when our information isn't conflicting, it still manages to annoy the crap out of us.
I'm just trying to make it through the day without someone calling the authorities and telling them I'm endangering my children because my 2 yr old ate her whole tube of fluoride-free toothpaste and now she has to use the fluoride toothpaste, even though Christ-on-a-gluten-free-CRACKER: she doesn't spit it all out!
My husband is so deaf to my warnings of things that are poison, that if our kids actually ate poison he would smile and nod and say, "It's okay, they're going to be fine."
Things off the top of my head I've told him are poison and would kill us:
Don't even get me started about the environment, the Green movement, and the battle of Capitalism vs. sustainability. Buy American, Consumer Reports says Japan makes superior products for the money, cheap, mass-produced, disposable products are turning us into a disposable society, check for 'imperfections in the glassware proving they were hand-made by the honest, simple hardworking indigenous people of wherever.' (Fight Club.)
I've never had the time or means to figure out which dining set defines me as a person, because most of my adult life I was too busy trying to get through the day without driving into oncoming traffic on my way to jobs I hate to earn barely enough money to feed my son as a single mother.
But you know what? And yes, I know you're not supposed to start a sentence that way, I've read the rules, but here's the secret:
I have learned it's okay to IGNORE all the rules.
*pause for gasping*
Okay, not all the rules. They get really mad if you try to revolt against seat belts by claiming Hipsterism as a religion.
You just have to pick your battles. That's not just a thing with teenagers, but hot damn that IS THEE thing with teenagers, that's also the thing with Life. You can't ever feel like you're always doing the 'right' thing anymore. You can ask 20 people the same question and get 20 answers. You can find 20 articles on different sides of the same subject. The reality is: NOBODY KNOWS what the 'right' thing for you is. Only YOU can know that.
You don't have to become a physician, nutritionist, fitness expert, environmental guru or anything else. You just have to figure out how to get through the day. Because at the end of the day, that is all that matters. Did you make it through the day? Can you make it through another? You're winning.
It's all just too much information to handle. We need to cut the crap already. Our brains are full, but our souls need comfort. We're all trying to either find the right support system, or therapist or the right antidepressant, or hold off on taking them as long as we can because you guessed it, they will also kill us. But not having them? Will kill us sooner. Probably. Who knows, who wants to find out the hard way? Think of the children.
All of this conflicting messaging isn't really helping. It's all bullspit, and by that I mean Marketing. Everything is all just verbal diarrhea to get people to watch their show in order to see the commercials, to click on a place with ads to generate marketing revenue. Do any of those articles or products help? Clearly not.
We just need to be better at tuning it out. I feel like we are becoming a little immune to these messages. I mean, how many people do you know that even use LinkedIn anymore? Despite all of those emails each week.
Someday Americans are going to figure out that there is no ONE answer to anything. In the mean time, if we could just all give each other a break, that would be great.
We will never win the war on Marketing, but we can share information with each other in a kinder, gentler way. We can admit we don't have thee right answer, but saying,
"This is where I read this bit..."
sounds a lot better than pretending to be an expert after reading one article.
We can lend each other an oar of support while trying to row down the Bullshit River of American Life in whatever they're calling these years.
We can all just admit that we're just doing our best. That's all you can do. By definition, that is literally the best you can do. Google it.
Otherwise the more information we get thrown at us, the more confused we become by all the mixed messages. We just mentally throw up our hands, turn off the news, just say 'Fudge it,' and watch Mork and Mindy reruns to just feel goddamned happy again.
I know it's not just me because binge Netflixing* is now a Verb. We need to know other people do this to feel normal. And that's okay. A generation raised by TV needs to be comforted by good old scripted comedy and canned laughter. Brain fuel be damned.
(*In the Urban Dictionary.)