Solo GenX Warriors

Game over. Let's start a new game.

Archive for the tag “Generation X”

39) Happy Birthday, Henry Rollins!

punk-love-b-day-henry

“Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.”
― Henry Rollins

Today is the day before that revolting holiday that makes single people want to vomit a box of chocolates onto a bouquet of black roses before ingesting a lethal dose of cyanide.

With that disclaimer out of the way, in lieu of tomorrow’s twerpy twitterpated, chocolates for sex love fest, I am celebrating Henry Rollins birthdate 2.13.1961, the day the Soviet Union fired a rocket from Sputnik V to Venus. Romantic, isn’t it?

Henry was born in the year that marks the beginning of Generation X – 1961, the erection of the Berlin Wall. Henry shares the same birth year with Barack Obama, Princess Diana, and Douglas Coupland.

Henry is unique in many ways among his contemporaries. He understands America and the globe more profoundly than most Americans. He has been to damn near every major and minor city all over the U.S. and abroad thousands of times over throughout the years of his spoken word tours and intense gigs with Black Flag and Rollins Band.

He knows the streets, the crowds, the unique culture of every place he has been, spending long nights drinking black coffee and writing in dingy hotels, reflecting on everything he sees and feels and hears. A true solipsist, he is a master of himself and a friend of no one in particular. He is a productive, sober, and explosive voice of our time, kicking his ego to the curb with genuine and excruciating self-reflective truth. His razor sharp insight cuts deep into the corpse of the Gen-X zeitgeist.

Solipsist by Henry Rollins - signed at Spoken Word Tour at McDonald Theater • March 6, 2003

Solipsist by Henry Rollins – signed at Spoken Word Tour at McDonald Theater • March 6, 2003

I met Henry the first time in March of 2003 in Eugene, Oregon after a spoken word show. I have never witnessed anyone blister through a performance with the same elevated composure, perfect articulation, biting commentary, and thundering voice raking the audience into bleeding stitches for two hours without a pause or drink from the unopened water bottle on his stool. I was impressed by his intelligence and unique perspective on politics and relationships.

Five years later on another day in March of 2007, I found myself driving to Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood to attend the book signing of Punk Love. Henry had co-authored the book with an old friend, Susie J Horgan, a photography student and co-worker with Henry at Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop, who unknowingly photographed the emerging punk movement in the late 1970s in DC. This time I brought a personal letter to give to Henry.

Driving down the 101 to Laurel Canyon was like cutting through a crack in the pavement; windy and craggy, down into the bowels of the places cockroaches live and rock stars overdose on heroin. A meandering, overused road, dizzying homes of celebrities past, and suddenly, after several turns I was quickly approaching Sunset Boulevard.

I stopped at a light and viewed a man, looking older than he likely was with a creeping beard and red eyes holding a cardboard sign ‘NEED BEER.’ He posed with the sign next to his head, did a little hop and transferred the sign switching it like an old flip clock radio. He hopped again and rotated the sign in an upside down arch to read ‘FREE PIZZA BOWL,” his eyebrows twitching.

I couldn’t help but think of Vanna White turning the letters around on the Wheel of Fortune. The man grinned, showing his yellowed-teeth standing outside a small shack with a broken door hopping from side-to-side and assuring me that I didn’t need beer or a free pizza bowl.

My whole life living in Southern California, I rarely came to Hollywood. Sunset Boulevard was more like a gaunt figure in an outdated, oversized designer suit: colorful and small with bold billboards jutting out like rusty railroad spikes half jammed in the ground. I wondered what other burned out creature with yellowing teeth might want to have their way with me, stick a knife in me, stick a cock in me just because I’m walking around with this hole. I turned on Sunset Boulevard, then made a left on the side street adjacent to the Viper Room where River Phoenix overdosed on a speedball in 1993, an event I remember shedding tears over.

I pulled around the back of the bookstore where Henry’s website instructed to park in a tiny lot, where I found a space. Thank goodness I showed up an hour early.

I walked from the minuscule back parking lot around to the front. The sun was low in the sky and the orange of it saturated the streets. Long, jagged shadows haunted the sidewalk. Outside of the bookstore, magazine racks lined the small entrance of Book Soup. Everything on Sunset Boulevard seemed like a small rabbit hole into a perceived illusion of space, oddly private and strangely decadent. Inside, I was bombarded by towering vertical shelves of books – the opposite of the sprawling big-box bookstores I was used to. There was no room to walk, claustrophobic corners with no place to sit, like a cat in an undersized box.

A tall man with greenish eyelids was sitting behind a cramped counter like a morbid doll stuffed inside a child’s closet. I landed on an oversized art book at the front entrance; the largest book I’d ever seen. It was the size and thickness of the Ten Commandments, or so I speculated. I opened each page and watched it fall like an enormous leaf: a collage of handwritten journals, splattered with color and images cut and clipped in strange juxtapositions. I felt a nagging for a design project, the excitement of creating something new, washing over in smooth overlapping layers. As I was feasting on this wondrous book, just to my right, I see Henry Rollins walk through the door. I continued turning pages as his eyes looked in my direction and scanned the perimeter like a cyborg.

“Hey, Henry,” said the man behind the counter in a familiar tone.

“How’s it going,” Henry Rollins replied, disappearing into the meandering cavern of the bookstore. I was glad he was here. Like me, I suspected, he wanted to show up early and hang out browsing books, taking in the scene before the throng of strange creatures showed up.

I decided to explore, passing through the fiction aisle and up to the information desk. I wanted to know where the science and technology section was located. A girl with blonde hair and smudgy black eyes took me to the spot. I found Richard Dawkins’ books and looked through titles I hadn’t seen before. After a few minutes, I made my way to the entertainment and music books, knowing I would find Henry there. I shuffled into the little room.

Standing with his back to me, he was wearing his usual plain black t-shirt. I could see his tattoos poking out underneath, a skull and snake and the word ‘Damage.’ I stared at the Black Flag logo on the back of his neck just under his hairline. It reminded me of a barcode label. His long dark brown wavy hair from his Black Flag days was now short with flecks of grey; his face unchanged, still severe and handsome.

I walked across from where he stood to a large section of music biographies and saw The Lady Sings the Blues, the story of Billie Holiday and smiled at her solemn gaze. I found a book on the Pixies, and remembered seeing them at the Hollywood Palladium in 1991. I almost turned around to ask Henry if he happened upon a band that merged jazz and punk together, but decided against it. I didn’t want to bother him while he was immersed in books. So I just looked through mine enjoying the moment of sharing the space with him knowing that I was standing next to this amazing person who rages inside like me. I felt calm and content as two lonely birds on a rusted wire sit, lost in thought, sharing a moment of serenity between storms before flying away to another experience.

Book Soup "Punk Love" Book Signing • West Hollywood, March 2007 L to R: Henry Rollins, Lisa M. McDougald, Susie J. Horgan

Book Soup “Punk Love” Book Signing • West Hollywood, March 2007         L to R: Henry Rollins, Lisa M. McDougald, Susie J. Horgan

The bookstore began to fill up and Henry stole away and met up with a tall woman in a black dress in boots with long curly brown hair. It was Susie. She and Henry chatted while they hung Susie’s historic photographs for the presentation. Since I was there first, I stood nearby to make sure I could be up close. When most everyone filed in and we were all crowded around the back of the store, Henry and Susie introduced themselves and told us stories of how they met, the ice cream shop, and the infamous photo of Ian MacKaye’s brother, Alec that ended up becoming the icon of the American punk movement.

Susie continued her career as a photographer. Just like any movement, she and Henry were caught up in the swirl of a youth rebellion against a world that seemingly felt ineffectual. The moments they shared with us were precious moments of the spirit of youth in a collective expression of music and primal connection in a world that was indifferent to their lives, their hopes, their pain, and their future.

I couldn’t help but feel a deep sadness that I couldn’t be a part of this moment in time, with all of these young and beautiful faces full of life and energy and angst creating something new in a worn out world. I was only 4-years-old when Susie snapped these photos. My own experience with hardcore punk came much later after the core of the movement had merged into New Wave. Sometime in high school in the early 1990s, that’s when I discovered Black Flag, Rollins Band, Fugazi, and Minor Threat. It was fresh to me, but the ice cream had already melted by then and Nirvana was the new youth movement.

I remember giving my letter to Henry and shaking his hand again. I asked him if he had any career advice as a writer. I was immediately embarrassed after I said it. He laughed and tweaked his face.

“Career? Career?! What I do… it’s not a career. It’s painful.”

Henry was right. Writing is painful. And I’m sure he would agree that writing, just like music is also cathartic and healing and necessary.

Whenever I am in doubt and feel terrible about anything, I retreat to Henry’s collected work. He makes the most sense, speaks to the darkness inside all of us more than any person I know. When I am depressed and angry, I know that he is also depressed and angry. Whether he realizes it or not, I have him to thank in many moments in my life because he is a stubborn rocket burning on in a futile universe.

Happy Birthday, Henry!


Copyright © 2017 Solo GenX Warriors
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

Advertisements

29) I Am Sick To Death But I Still Fight

Angry girlEvery day, I fight for my soul. I try to feed it oxygen, but the air is stale and smells of gasoline and cheeseburgers and rotting garbage.

Every day, I fight advertising and marketing and spreadsheets.

Every day, I fight to find the good in humanity…

I fight to find courage to live.
I fight the sadness of a world falling apart.
I fight to find peace of mind.

With a shifting and restless planet, I take solace in knowing the earth is fighting through earthquakes and pyroclastic blasts, venting the pressures that hold it all together. I let the words pour out, like lava. Words burn holes through the brain, force out the impurities of conforming conventional wisdom.

I am sick to death of conforming to institutions and social norms that are corrupt.
I am sick to death of convention that lacks conviction that should be self-evident.
I am sick to death of the wisdom of tired old men talking business and trading greenbacks and depleting the last hope for democracy, something I believed in once upon a time…

The Constitution and its promise is an illusion, a false store front, high fructose syrup that sounds pretty on parchment, yet everything we do undercuts the foundation of those carefully crafted words. My vote means nothing, but I still vote.

I am sick to death of a world whose religious beliefs, politics, and monetary interests overrides social progress, education, science and the welfare of the planet and all its life forms.

I am sick to death that writers, historians, philosophers, teachers, and artists must fight for their very existence while football players, politicians, lawyers, stockbrokers, and those born into wealth are more influential, privileged, and praised in society.

I am sick to death of oil drills and greasy machines and backyards full of junk.
I am sick to death of plastic and Styrofoam and concrete.
I am sick to death of consumerism and money and GDP.
I am sick to death of buying things that have to be thrown away.
I am sick to death of driving and getting nowhere.

I am sick to death of women giving birth to children without thought or consideration to the massive responsibility involved in spawning a life form into a world lacking everything to sustain that child.

I am sick to death of suburban mansions piled in neat, manicured rows in the desert and SUVs full of burping, farting, wasting human beings that drive 30 miles to soccer practice and idle their engines in long fast food lines.

I am sick to death of college degrees and career aspirations and MBA’s that focus on making money as the ultimate goal.

I am sick to death of cardboard and packing tape and useless pretty things made in China multiplied by billions of air-polluting vehicles delivering the same useless pretty things to retail establishments that throw out large portions of what they bring in; all to sell at discount prices that are palatable for Americans that need cheap stuff to comfort themselves from the stresses of their daily lives who end up storing their cheap acquisitions in their garage.

I am sick to death of the blinding speed of daily life, police sirens more numerous than the chirping of birds, and the drone of air conditioners in a September heat wave.

I am sick to death of the thought that I could be armed with 500 guns and never safe from a nuclear bomb.

I fight to stay engaged, to have a voice.
I fight to love and not to hate.
I fight my thoughts that words are futile.


Copyright © 2015 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

28) Last Will And Testament of Generation X

Last Will
Tigers, narwhals, Bodhi trees, horses, snow leopards, the smell of the desert after a storm, Super moons, tribal tattoos, banged up skateboards, the origins of everything, old bras with the elastic showing, autumn, the color of crimson, orange blossoms in October, Chernobyl after people, Victorian buildings still standing, storm drains that run clear, pristine snow, dew on grass, black birds, white bones, trees in winter, old books, trails that lead to the edge of somewhere, old wine, sunken tombstones, and the rush of the wind.

100 years from my death, I hope:

It will rain in the desert,
Water will be plentiful enough to drain to the ocean,
Compassion will override commerce,
All little girls will feel safe in the world,
The beat of native drums will be heard once again,
Punk Rock will no longer be necessary,
Coyotes will howl in packs,
Old books will be loved,
Sunken tombstones will be remembered,
Solar will render nuclear obsolete,
Children will know tigers, narwhals, horses, and snow leopards,
And the fire within the earth will remain burning…

Copyright © 2015 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

22) Letter to Baby Boomers – Discussion

This is a response to a recent comment by Deane from my post, 20) Letter to Baby Boomers from Gen-X. Here is her original comment:

“At the risk of sounding blase about it all… I feel I must let you in on something quite disturbing. It took a while for me to decide if I truly wanted to step up to the microphone, after all , it is your house and I am obviously an intruder here. However, since it seems no one else has come along to stand up in our defense I figured “what the hell?”

I realize there are a butt load of things to be enraged about these days, not the least of which is how impersonal life has become since technology has advanced us to the point of instant communication on a grand scale with anyone around the world we choose, at any time we choose. I believe we have become jaded. It is too easy. Most of us were raised knowing we had to work for what we needed. Things were “earned”, not simply given. We didn’t misplace things on a regular basis. Telephones were attached to the wall by a cord that did not unplug in order to move to another room for privacy. We never showed up without calling first. There was a code of conduct we were expected to adhere to that made us have to consider what we said before we spoke in order not to offend others. If you screwed up you admitted to it. The way you behaved around others when your parents weren’t around was how you were remembered. And that mattered. I could go on complaining all day but I won’t because all of that was how we were SUPPOSED be, it wasn’t reality. We were not so different than you are now. We had our reasons as well. But there was one thing we didn’t have then… instant answers. No Google, no face book, no 24/7 access to knowledge. Everything had a closing time. The Seven Eleven stores were the beginning of the stay up late businesses. That was a huge deal for us. Our towns rolled up the sidewalks in the evenings and rolled them back out in the morning. Anything late night was age related and waiting to get to that age took forever. Our angst was punished and fighting back could get you “put away”. We fought back anyway. There were protests, riots, sit ins, etc. Many changes did come about from our efforts. Earth Day (originally known as Ecology Day)was our doing. Voting age changed from being 21 years old to 18 years old. Abortion became legal. Before then it was the “back alley abortions” or the “Mexican abortion” and both were horror stories no one wanted to have to experience. Free clinics offered free birth control pills that were actually free in the beginning. Parents had the last say in all things and children were not given access to legal representation when they were abused by adults. It was our word against theirs but the judges were always from their side of the argument. The things we did back then to cause the changes that finally occurred were hard fought and we never let up. They knocked us down repeatedly but we came back with new strategies to get them to listen. We had to convince them with logic and common sense because screaming only made them deaf to our words. But we kept at it.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the work it took to get the changes we wanted back then. You bring those memories back to life and you will see how much faster the ice melts. Just make sure the cause you are working on has merit. Show us the benefits for the changes you want to make and try not to put the cost solely on the tax payers backs.”

This is my response:

Dear Deane,

I agree with you in many ways. I too, am a taxpayer. If I lived in your time, I would have been right beside you protesting in the throws of major social upheaval and many important changes did occur as a result of the protests, the activism and those achievements should never be taken for granted by any generation.

With that said, the beef I have is what happened after those pivotal years. It appears that many baby boomers turned their backs on the ideals they so passionately stood for and began shifting their efforts toward monetary pursuits in the late 1970s and 80s. It’s as if they threw in the towel. I can understand that things change; you start having a family and you have those demands as your focus. But, the thing that really bothers me is that these wonderful concepts like Earth Day didn’t become staples in the daily lives of many Boomers who so passionately wanted to change the world. Houses grew bigger, 1 car per household evolved to 2 or 3, more appliances sucking up energy and the consumption of cheap, exploited labor produced products; none of this being sustainable or in a good direction for a world facing serious environmental problems and overpopulation. As a nation, we didn’t get serious about the environment until 30 years after the energy crisis in the Carter years.

I completely agree that we have become impersonal in our daily lives. With so many gadgets and useless ways to suck up our time, we all forget the things that are most important: family, sharing, being in nature, living for the planet. With that said, there is a lot of sharing going on, just not in the conventional way that we grew up with and that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

When Generation X came along; like yours, we had none of the technologies of today’s world. Like you, I miss my phone that plugs in the wall and prefer going to the bank and talking face-to-face with a real person. I haven’t become jaded, I’ve always been. But, I am an optimistic realist as well. I believe that people can change and do. I also believe that we are in such a muddle of consumerism and entrenched in profit margins that it makes change difficult.

I adapted to the new technologies pioneered by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (both of the Baby Boomer generation). Gen-X put these technologies to use in the 1990s and fell on their face with everyone else when the bubble burst.

I tend to disagree with things being easy today; only that information is more accessible. If I lived in the 1960s, I likely would have had an easier time continuing my education beyond a bachelor’s degree and gone full swing for my PhD. Unfortunately, I am not willing to take on any more student loan debt as I am already $38,000 in the hole and have been on Income Based Repayment plan (IBR) since I graduated. I put myself through school while working and live a very minimalist lifestyle. I don’t plan on buying a house unless I can buy it outright. I have just enough education to be qualified for a manager at a retail job with high stress and little pay. Not only has the middle class disappeared, the variety and mid-range jobs are also becoming extinct. Since I am 40 and already late in the game, my only other option is more schooling, more debt and no guarantee that there will be any career available to me beyond the Financial, Legal and Medical fields. The only way for anyone to improve his or her situation is to start his or her own business or become a gypsy.

I agree wholeheartedly that there is an extreme lack of manners, emotional intelligence and personal responsibility in the world today. I think it’s due to a variety of factors relating to our modern lives, the demands we place on ourselves and the simple fact that there is more of us competing with one another. I do not wish to offend, only to inform, as I feel our generation has very few voices.

I want to thank you for responding with a wonderful piece of dialogue and appreciate your viewpoint.

Most Sincerely,

Latchkey Lisa


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

 

 

20) Letter to Baby Boomers From Gen-X

Dear Baby Boomer,

We are Generation X or whatever you want to call us. We are the youth of the nation… or were. We don’t give a R.I.P. Our destiny is written on the wall, starting with civilization. We are nihilistic by nature because no one wanted us to be here…

Never mind. We seek Nirvana, a place in the world to shelve our Trapper Keepers, our tear-stained journals of rage, our misunderstood expression of anger toward a world with no future lodged in the throat of Sid Vicious, a casualty to the Boomer drug experimentation legacy. Thanks for the bump.

Oh, the 1970s… a putrefied pustule on the zit of history, like a Halloween pumpkin rotting in late December.

The 1970s

The 1970s

We don’t blame you, Boomers. You were just another generation among many, going way back. We can see far down the pike of human existence and we are uniformly disgusted with all human beings, including ourselves. So, don’t take it personally. You just happened to give us a lot of stupid, frivolous, narcissistic doo-doo that doesn’t matter a hill-of-beans to any human dead or alive… but we aren’t taking names or numbers, just sharpening our secondhand pencils for another round of philosophical debate.

Don’t worry. We have your best interest in mind, along with your children even though they were loved more than us. We slam danced in the backseat of our parent’s VW bugs, smacking our heads up against the windows and flying headfirst into the dashboard when our father hit the brakes. Honestly, we have no deep-seated anger that our own parents didn’t flash that cute little “Baby On Board” sign when they drove us around without seatbelts or car seats. We just laughed it off and stuck our stuffed Garfield plush dolls in the trunk with the butt sticking out to show we have a healthy sense of humor.

Okay, let me explain the whole “punk” thing. It’s not about talent, you silly Boomer. It’s about revolution. I know you know what that is. You don’t understand our music because it’s too painful to listen to and reflects the existential dark matter of human misery that we feel every day. Yes, that’s right. Our music feels bad and sounds bad to you because we feel worse than you could ever imagine. To us, your music sounds like the Intro to Loony Tunes.

We were left alone, watching MTV videos in the middle of the night sucking on Nerds candy, waiting for our parental units to come home, too tired to fix us dinner and so we make ourselves another crappy box of Mac & Cheese. We are born into a world of sustained horror, greed, AIDS, useless politics, and recessions that fall like dominoes every time we try to move up in the world from a cardboard box. We have never felt that anyone owes us anything and only want a better world for everyone. So, we deserve a break today.

Be nice. Give us a hug. That’s all we ask.

With love and adoration,

Generation X


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

19) Jealous of My Mother’s Nostalgia

I was at the drug store to buy anti-depressants and maxi pads. While I waited for my pick-up, I scanned the newsstand to find anything worth reading when “Suddenly Last Summer” by The Motels drifted over the speaker – a song from my youth, a song from a happier time? I felt the emotional flood that happens in your middle years, that sweet trickle of familiarity, a memory of a moment in time. I thought back to my seven-year-old self, sitting on olive green shag carpet in my bedroom watching MTV videos at midnight.

Somehow, the song felt like one big menstrual cramp. My mother’s music was different. She grew up in the 1950s listening to Johnny Mathis, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. She would get teary-eyed and sappy as if she wanted to go back. I felt like Molly Ringwald’s character, Andie Walsh in Pretty In Pink rolling her eyes as Iona daydreams about her prom night, slow-dancing to “Cherish” by The Association.

To my eyes, the pop culture of the 1950s resembled a bubblegum mask to shield children from the realities of the Atomic Bomb. Perhaps it was necessary for society to simplify and coat the culture with icing, a kind of euphoric bubble – the inside protected from a looming terrestrial supernova. It’s not surprising that Disneyland opened in 1955.

So, what’s wrong with my generation? I’m not dreamy about my generation’s nostalgia, growing up in the wake of the Vietnam War, the 1974 gas shortage and the Three Mile Island accident. Nothing was hidden. Music took on a futuristic, synthetic sound only after the nihilistic Punk years, a kind of Dadaistic movement and the end of disco. In the 1980s, behind the angular shoulder pads, Aqua Net hairdos and androgynous makeup, there was a hint of something approaching, like a dead end sign where the asphalt stops. We can’t back up the ‘57 Chevy and turn around.

I wonder if nostalgia works in reverse. Maybe the “Lost Generation” of the Great War looked pensively toward the 1980s future – George Orwell, not so much. Disneyland was brimming with excitement for the future with its Carousel of Progress and Tomorrowland. Today, many people who gravitate toward the Goth subculture – are nostalgic for Steam Punk. I know I was giddy as a gerbil on crack when I first saw The City of Lost Children. It appeals to my desire to bring the “Gilded Age” forward and let it live placidly with The Sex Pistols. Unfortunately, like Goth, Steam Punk has become watered down, glammed up, hair sprayed and fossilized. Looking back on my generation makes me want to pull a urinal out of a gas station, install it in an art gallery and paint a mustache on Bob’s Big Boy.

Marcel Duchamp - src Original picture by Stieglitz

Marcel Duchamp – Original picture by Stieglitz – Courtesy of: Wikipedia


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

18) A Look At Generations That Orbit Generation X

The important thing to consider when analyzing any generation is that all generations play the cards as they are laid out before them. In a Forbes Magazine article, John Tamny declares, “the generation that had to suffer the death and destruction of war wasn’t so much the “greatest” as it played the hand it was dealt. It was an awful one.”

With that thought, we must realize that any given generation alive today – Silent, Boomers, Gen-X, Millennials, and those born after, if given similar challenges as the Greatest Generation, would likely have played the cards in a similar way. Every generation born, is born with a given set of circumstances and skills. It is unfair to equate a generation better than a previous one accounting for the environment, technological changes and societal characteristics in which they are born.

Consider Generation X as ground zero to the following discussion.

Typically, generations are defined by actual historical events. These definitions can occur immediately or after the passage of time when historians can evaluate objectively, unattached from the events and within the isolation of their own generational bubble. Here is an in-depth look at today’s living generations, with a concentration on the lesser known generations and the author’s choice of members from each generation.

G.I. GENERATION (1901 – 1924)

The “Greatest Generation” or the G.I. Generation was tied (for the most part) to the events of World War II. History did not have to pass for their automatic admiration to take hold. Society looks upon them with unconditional praise, regardless of their parenting skills and the unsustainable economy they created after World War II. We cannot forget that members of this military-centric generation led us into the Vietnam War.  To their credit, after giving everything to the efforts of World War II during their prime, fighting against Hitler, one of the world’s most seductive and terrifying leaders in modern times; it is natural they would have a psychological immunity to any conflict that came after that tremendous victory.

The G.I.’s were honored because of World War II and any analysis beyond that fact is irrelevant and unimportant according to some. Tom Brokaw, a member of the Silent Generation, revered the G.I.’s as the “Greatest Generation” and was “incomprehensive” to the G.I. experiences putting them high above all others on the generational pedestal. Outside of their sacrifices, we cannot ignore some other legacies they left with us: weapons of mass destruction, unparalleled prosperity for a time and a strong middle-class that produced a large generation with a tendency to suck the air out of the world’s economy, the Baby Boomers.

As a female Gen Xer, I personally honor and thank those who served our country, past and present. However, naturally critical in my own generational bubble, I cannot shy away from analyzing these other less shiny legacies of the G.I.s. Their children, the baby boomers, thrived from their abundance, nurtured to assume the free entitlements established by their parents. In many ways, this is where we should have slowed down.

Noteworthy members of the G.I. Generation: Kurt Vonnegut, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich, George Orwell, Walter Farley, Tallulah Bankhead, John Steinbeck, John Wayne, Vincent Price, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Rachel Carson, Peace Pilgrim, Kate Hepburn, Ray Bradbury

We’re going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we’re doing, you can say, We’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And someday we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in it and cover it up. 
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 – (G.I. Generation)

SILENT GENERATION (1925 – 1942)

The Silent or “Lucky Few” is a smaller generation between the G.I.s and Boomers, lucky enough to take advantage of the G.I. Bill, enjoy living wages and buy affordable mortgages and cars. Many would retire just before the 1990’s bubble burst with good pensions, supplemented by social security benefits and other perks of the post–World War II prosperity. This group silently maneuvered through the revolutions of the younger baby boom and were parents of Generation X.

In many ways, the arrival of the Silent Generation places them as back-up singers on the world stage of the generations, similar to, but with a higher status than Gen-Xers. The anonymity of the Silent Generation casts a gray color: their characteristics of not wanting to “rock the boat,” is like a fish going with the flow along a steady stream without having to swim too often. That is not to say that some were derailed from their idealistic coming of age in the 1950s, and drafted during the Cuban and Berlin Missile Crisis’ just before the shock of JFK’s assassination.

Noteworthy members of the Silent Generation: All three men onboard Apollo 11 that landed the first humans on the moon in 1969, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Margaret Atwood, Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, Shel Silverstein, Johnny Cash, Sydney Poitier, Bruce Lee, Dalai Lama, H. R. Giger, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Judy Blume

 You can know a thing to death and be for all purposes completely ignorant of it. A man can know his father, or his son, and there might still be nothing between them but loyalty and love and mutual incomprehension. 
― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead – (Silent Generation)

BABY BOOMERS (1943-1960)

The G.I. Generation’s children, the Baby Boomers, are nostalgic of their past, I think, because they were opposed to the military and cultural stagnation of their parents. They saw crumbling, military-driven institutions irrelevant to their idealism. Baby Boomers tend to give themselves a “pat on the back” for the cultural revolutions they set free and they should to a point.

Baby Boomer’s contributions were noble in opposing the Vietnam War, the rise of feminism, civil rights and the push toward all fronts of environmental, humanitarian and other important earth-friendly pursuits. Also, important considerations of the Baby Boomers’ “great awakening” were the proliferation of drugs and pornography and the eventual sexual rot of the AIDS epidemic in the early ‘80s. To be fair, the Silent Generation was also part of this sexual exploration in the Swingers’ clubs of the day. Rick Moody’s, Ice Storm, demonstrates an eerie snapshot of this time in Generation X’s early childhood.

Noteworthy members of the Baby Boomer Generation: David Lynch, Steven Patrick Morrissey, Ian Curtis, Bono of U2, Jello Biafra, Amy Tan, Alice Walker, Annie Dillard, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton

The baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer. And they will run right into the dementia firing range. How will a society cope? Especially a society that can’t so readily rely on those stable family relationships that traditionally provided the backbone of care?
– Terry Pratchett – (Baby Boomer)

GENERATION X / SLACKERS (1961 – 1981)

Generation X lives in the foggy aftermath of history and the emergence of virtual realities. When Generation X came along, there were no major cultural revolutions, wars or anything noteworthy to define us. This is why Generation X is such a mysterious bunch as a whole. Our elders misinterpret our divergent paths and our slow-to-conform indifference to the corporate job environment as negative and apathetic. But really, Generation X, with its mystifying pluralism has everyone’s best interest at heart, for we see the coming destruction and desperately want to put on the brakes before our pretty green and blue planet dies.

The sheer numbers of the Baby Boomers tend to overshadow any cultural relevance to Generation X, smaller in comparison and positioned to take the full brunt of the declining economy. Where the boomers dusted off their ideology and turned their focus on monetary pursuits, Generation X picked up that torch and it took us into some necessary, but dark places. However, where things are rotten and destroyed, there is growth. An attempt to understand the needs and desires of Gen-X: this survivalist, immigrant and cynical group, would find it just as necessary to question the values of the G.I. Generation beyond the victories of World War II.

As a member of Generation X, I can honestly say that if I was drafted in World War I and survived, I would be part of the DADA art movement that countered the senselessness of war and if I was part of the G. I. generation, I would enthusiastically support the cause against Hitler, and in the Silent Generation, I would be willing to march alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., and if I was alive in the Vietnam era, I would oppose a war that should never have been fought and if I tested better on the ASVAB, I surely would have fought in Iraq. And yes, hindsight is 20/20.

Generation X is not a cohesive generation and we cannot be funneled into a specific set of experiences or historical moment. Our lives have been boiled down to Kurt Cobain’s suicide, latchkey kids, bad movies in the 1990s and other negative associations that denigrate us before we have the chance to define ourselves. It’s very likely that we will be similar to our Silent parents; we will make things happen along the edge of culture, moving stealthily through history.

I think Generation X, despite its envy of the Millennials, is willing to do what is necessary to act as this next dynamic generations’ wingman, provide guidance and support to move us toward a better balance. The world’s future rests on the shoulders of Generation X and how it leads the succeeding generations. This is especially true when looking at the world’s economy today.

Many of today’s corporations aren’t interested in ideas and improvements in the long view, only as it relates to short-term profit margins. Today, the job market is going downhill and Generation X, if they have not locked in those middle management “bulldog” jobs, are forced to carve a path through the thick concrete of a bleak economic landscape. The only thing we can do now is change the whole system by dropping out of it.

Our story is still in progress. We are late bloomers. The cards that have been dealt to us have restricted our ability to grow up, going from one recession to another, and we have no sense of entitlement because of our own existential depression. The desire to just survive is our entitlement.

Noteworthy members of Generation X: Henry Rollins, Ian McKaye, Douglas Coupland, Chuck Palahniuk, Chuck Klosterman, David Gahan and Martin Gore, Tori Amos, Trent Reznor, River Phoenix, Brandon Lee, Jon Stewart, Laurie Halse Anderson, Alanis Morissette, Janeane Garofalo, Helen Bonham Carter, Queen Latifah, J. K. Rowling, Heath Ledger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christina Ricci, Jack White

We’re just bodies to you. We’re just bodies and shoulders and scarred knees and big bellies and empty wallets and flasks to you. I’m not saying something cliché like you take us for granted so much as I’m saying you cannot… imagine our absence. We’re so present it’s ceased to mean. We’re environmental. Furniture of the world.
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest – (Generation X)

GENERATION Y/MILLENNIALS (1982 – 2004)

Generation Y, also known as Millennials, are outpacing Generation X when it comes to competition in the current job market. This is probably due to the increase in top and bottom jobs but no middle-range  jobs, another bad timing feature of Generation X. Those Millennials born of vibrant Boomer parents were raised to believe they could do anything, even beyond landing on the moon. This exuberant and naïve bunch will certainly need the help of Generation X.

Millennials are still growing up, defining themselves and yes; they are the most prolific generation in numbers as I write this synopsis. Let’s give them a chance to make their presence known on the world stage, for it is a truly challenging one. We must give them a chance to grow up and find their place. To be continued…

Noteworthy members of Millennials: Avril Lavigne, Emma Watson, too be named…

As always, the world goes faster than we can actually interpret it, so please keep checking on this post, for I have future plans to add succeeding generations. There is lots of space to define, because our generation, Generation X, never had the chance to define itself – we were dubbed Generation X before we were eating solid foods and for that, I will allow time for the Millennials and all who come afterwards a chance to sort things out. As a last parting note, I want to thank all the generations, for we are in this together, this world, and we must understand one another and learn from our collective experiences and within our isolated bubbles, for we have much to do and must stick together in order to do it.


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

17) My Car Ate My Homework

I was in my sophomore year in high school in 1990. We had an open campus back then. At lunch, hundreds of starving teens descended upon the fast food establishments of the land like caged chickens, pumped full of hormones and suddenly set free.

The unbridled rage of rabid teenagers instilled terror deep in the bones of every underpaid college student working at drive-thru windows within a 10-mile radius. Panic materialized as the scream of hundreds of rubber tires chaffed against asphalt, like a thousand growling hydrogen bombs.

Rotting orange

We piled into convulsive, exhaust-spewing vessels, stereos blaring an angry bile of anarchy and destruction: mini trucks vibrating base from wolfers giving nearby earthworms an erection so intense their heads implode like cherry blossoms in April, the pavement blisters in the sun, sports cars without mufflers set off car alarms and dogs’ ears bleed in backyards where pretty rhododendrons wilt all over the Inland Empire.

This hearkening of affluence summoned the lunch-hour, sending chills down the spines of every doomed restaurant manager, the whites of his eyes reflected against the name badges of his cooks hurriedly preparing to satisfy the beasts at their door – my friends.

My small, insignificant tribe of 20 nihilistic Goth-types piled into our own belligerent vessel: a white Toyota pick-up, blaring the flamboyant verbiage of Oingo Boingo’s Only A Lad out of the cab windows, open wide for maximum effect through the smog-filled particles that lodged inside our ears as our asses slammed against the truck bed going over potholes and railroad tracks to seek out large slices of pizza, luxuriously drizzled with ranch dressing poured to capacity on paper plates.

For 45 minutes, we were free: free to roam, free from indifferent parental units, free to inhale the corporate seduction of Camel cigarettes, free to make out and then, like reluctant slaves, we were forced back to the hive, wheels screeching, circling the parking lot to find an open space and finish off our last two classes for the day.

And then, I got my own car… Counter to all that I was supposed to do, my car took possession of my soul and drove me to imaginary places: silent mansions, dark places, crumbling architecture, antique leaning willow trees. The bamboo whispered stories to the wind and I listened and walked and walked, seduced by the ghosts of pungent orange groves and time disappeared among the smells and sounds of the orchard. I walked the trails that wandered in secret pathways throughout the Kimberly Crest Mansion, one of the oldest buildings near our high school.

Kimberley Crest GateThen, as if my manual stick changed to automatic, my 1966 Volkswagen Beetle drove along, running parallel to an old cemetery with tall cypress trees and then on up to a place called The Point. It was here that I had a bird’s eye view of the universe; it was a haven for solitude and reflection. It was a place where a troubled teen could experience suicide without actually doing it. It was the ideal space where I learned to think, to feel, to reflect  – all of which are necessary in a world full of complexity.

It took another year to get my HS diploma. I learned on my own, to think for myself in a world of contradictory claims and incentives that don’t make basic sense. I learned to look on a level above the tree line, to watch, listen and absorb all the moments in my life and in high school. I found that everything I ever needed to learn was inside as long as I took the time to listen… on top of a hill… in silence.

The Point


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

15) Marcia, Marcia, Marcia — Gen-X Is Jan Brady

If Gen X is truly the middle child, then many anecdotes about our generation can be found on The Brady Bunch, specifically in the character of middle child, Jan Brady. Jan (Generation X) annoyed with her older sibling, Marcia (Baby Boomer) always getting the attention. The boys love her. She’s prettier, her generation more flashy and funky. After all, she had the protests, the birth control pill, women’s rights and landing on the moon.

Like Jan, Generation X feels desperately mediocre. Gen X walked home from the bus stop around to the back of an empty house to get the key hanging on a nail from under the deck, made a small attempt to do homework and stayed in her room to watch television because her parents were out to dinner. She learned The Facts Of Life, understood that Good Times was all about getting white people to treat them with Diff’rent Strokes and she wanted to be Melissa Gilbert on Little House On The Prairie because she wished Michael Landon was her father. Of course, she was disillusioned that Landon wasn’t perfect and after River Phoenix’s death, Gen X Jan graduated from the University of HardCore Disappointments.

And then there is little Cindy (Millennial). So precious and wonderful, Cindy is the poster child of ‘Baby On Board’ – don’t drive like a murdering piss ant because I have a baby on board. Cindy is a star – raised to feel special and her parents love her and make sure she gets a trophy in her Taekwondo classes and soccer tournaments, even though she may not be that good. It doesn’t matter – little Cindy can be anything and everything she wants to be, despite not finding a job after college and her tuition being four times the amount as Mr. Brady paid for his suburban house in the early ’70s. Keep smiling Cindy, we’ve been there and we really do wish some of your optimism would rub off on us.

“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” says Jan with a deep sigh as Marcia speeds off in her SUV, squashing a squirrel on her way out of the driveway, off to a soccer game loaded with her precious children and a plethora of cheap gadgets she bought from Wal-Mart to keep her children entertained during the ten minute ride to soccer practice. Jan played The Alphabet Game on five-hour road trips and if she reached X before the last stop for a pee break, she gave herself a pat on the back. Jan looks at little Cindy, her cute curls and bursts of positive verbosity and is reminded that her parents weren’t that into Jan; just like every guy she dated who stood her up for a Laker’s game or a week-long D&D game with the guys.

Whatever… Jan feels bad no matter what, but only because she sees a way out of the impending decay of society if only she would wear her glasses. Jan just wants a better world and peace even if she puts holes in Marcia’s socks with an ice pick. Jan dreams about a small patch of earth to live on, not a Victorian mansion, or a McMansion in the middle of the desert. Jan would live happily in a yurt – in the country, somewhere on BLM land because all of the good places are parking lots and Marcia needs the best parking space. Jan would rather eat off the land instead of subsisting on cows, after all, their farts are contributing to global warming and the cows are partially mad for having to hold their farts in. Jan cares about cows, too.

And so, Jan = Gen-X = constipated cows.


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: