The “Lost” Generation
Falling through cracks has always been a specialty of mine. Wrong time. Wrong place. Not quite a fit. Too much of this for that. Too much there for here. Exceptions to the rule move to the back (or the front) of the room, please.
Not that I’ve minded, particularly. It becomes sort of definitional, and one’s bound to gain perspective watching the floorboards slip by. Perhaps that’s why I’m mildly amused to note that Mark Patinkin, apparently inadvertently, cuts people my age right out of the generational narrative. There was the Counterculture/Pepsi/Me/Yuppy/Baby Boom Generation. Then, “born betwen 1964 and 1974 or so,” came the Baby Bust/Generation X Generation. Currently coming into its own is the Generation Y/Millennial Generation, now “age 21 to 29.” Born in 1975, I’ll be 33 next month. It would seem that makes me a member of the Or So Generation.
Personally, my late-’70s-born peers and I have tended to identify with the Gen-Xers, but we’ve always felt as if we’d just made the cut. We got the grunge thing, but most of us couldn’t stay out late enough for the concerts.
I’d like to think that our slipping through these artificial cutoffs makes us a class of chronological Levites. We’re not part of a defined generational tribe, but we’ve felt kindred to many. Our cultural sense floats between them.
On one end, we hadn’t yet hit the height of our hormonal lunge when AIDS slithered onto the scene, and during our most formative years (it seems) our parents in the Divorce Generation paused for reflection. On the other end, we’d logged hours of acclimation with Super Mario Brothers before the gaming industry got as far as Mortal Kombat and Doom. MP3 players are the step after 50-disc CD changers, not two steps before playlists downloadable directly to chips in our brains. We were largely through college (if we went) by the time the Internet exploded, so it is more a place to apply research skills than the source of all knowledge, but we hadn’t traveled far in our careers without it as a tool, so our comfort level is high.
Perhaps, as a subgeneration, we’ll prove to be the Undramatic. If that’s true, it would likely please a majority of us to fall in one of those population spans probably to be found in any society undergoing tremendous change: understanding that the innovations are cool, useful, and often beneficial to humanity, but they don’t change the essence of life, just as our parents’ cultural revolution didn’t erase human nature.