From the Columbia Chronicle
May 10, 1993


Dear X,

Unless you read Newsweek or U.S. News and World Report or watch the news on television, there is probably a lot about yourselves that you did not know. You have been labeled, categorized, psychoanalyzed, and talked about quite a bit recently You are a new buzzword (buzzword is a new buzzword), you are "twenty-somethings," "baby busters." People want to know all about you, in fact, they already know all about you and they're more than willing to tell you about you.

You are the first generation of Americans who will not make more money than their parents (a lifelong goal shattered?). In fact, if you are 25 or under, your average yearly income has dropped a bunch of percentage points over the last 20 years. You will have to pay more social security tax than any other generation of Americans in the history of the program (which isn't really that old). You face the bleakest job market for college grads in the entire history of job markets and college grads. But do not despair "Nintendo Generation," even though you are fed up with the "system," you fight for change within the "system." Not like those fools in the 60s who sought to fight the "system" from the outside. Baby Boomers are your nemesis, look at the mess they left for you to clean up.

You can take pride in the fact that you are politically aware and far more sensitive to environmental and racial issues that a lot of other generations that we could name right now, but won't (they know who they are). You are the most culturally and ethnically diverse, hell you might even be a minority. Betcha' didn't know that. It is the job of the media to tell you these things. How else would you know about yourselves?

Here are some more things you probably didn't know about yourselves, unless of course you've seen Amy Scott on Fox News; you wear funny looking hats on your head. You may have long hair, or short. You probably have a fuzzy little goatee on your chin. You pierce yourselves in odd places, don't you? You like flannel shirts, not new ones, old ones, used, second hand. If you're a white kid you listen to grunge music. If you're black you like raps music and baggy, loose-fitting clothes. If you are neither black nor white, you have a choice, grungy or baggy. You're hip. You're hip hop. You're young and angry and probably drunk.

You are not an idealist. You are a realist. You are also very pragmatic and I looked that word up in the dictionary and it's true, you are very pragmatic, as well as rebellious and cynical, and you watch too much TV. You have spent too many of your formative years in the 70s and have that working against you. You live in a world that George Bush single-handedly saved from the Cold War and total nuclear annihilation by evil bloodthirsty commies, but if you have sex it could kill you. But you are the "Repair Generation." It is your job to fix the things that were already broken when you got here. Your generation was unprepared for college.

Your generation has been liberally educated; you know a little about a lot of things, but you don't know much about anything. Your generation thinks they deserve more than they were getting because that's what they were told. You, of course, resent your parents because you won't enjoy their success. Your generation is very easy to label, yet so hard to understand. Your lives read like a fortune cookie.

But fear not you unsatisfied generation of twenty-somethings. You poor and weary Baby Bustin', MTV, Hip Hop, X Generation, with your disposable incomes, your Ren and Stimpy cartoons, and your 90210, you have a president who cares about you because you rocked his vote. You may have seen the birth of the personal computer, the evolution of the home entertainment system from Atari to Genesis.

You have seen the death of vinyl and you have survived. What's a little exploitation gonna hurt? Let the magazines, the newspapers, the filler news segments have their fun. They like trying to figure out what the kids are up to these days and they feel good when they've completely missed the point, so keep 'em guessing.

Gem of the day: Expect nothing and get it. (I did. I got it. I'm gone. Thank you, goodbye.)

© 1993 Chris Auman