Friday, June 11, 2021

No Doubt About It: Boomers Are Cool

The other day I saw an online article titled, “Things Baby Boomers Think Are Cool.” Not surprisingly, the article was written by a Millennial, and the unsaid but implied ending of that title was, “...But Definitely Are Not.”

Baby Boomers, my generation, are the people born during the post-war years of 1946 through 1964. Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, and most Millennials are the offspring of Boomers. A Google search for the phrase, “Things Boomers think are cool,” yields more than 17 million matches. This means a lot of Millennials are using blogs and online media to make fun of their parents.
Here are some of the items Baby Boomers such as myself allegedly think are cool: golf, shopping at the mall, landline telephones, writing checks, newspapers, cursive handwriting, the US Postal Service, paper bills in the mail, cable TV, meatloaf, detective shows on network TV, talk radio, and using email for personal communication.

Millennials prefer these alternate choices, in the same order: video games, online shopping, smart phones, the Venmo app, news websites, typing on touchscreens, digital communication, online banking, streaming video services, avocado toast, binge-watching Netflix, podcasts, and text messaging.

If you are perceptive, you’ll notice that every item on the Millennial list requires the Internet, except for avocado toast. On the other hand, there has never been a single order of avocado toast that wasn’t paid for with some kind of digital service or debit card.

I get that the article was playfully sarcastic, even though that’s a style of writing with which I am completely unfamiliar (except on days that end in “Y”).
It’s not that my fellow Baby Boomers and I are ignorant of digital technology. In fact, all my friends have smartphones, make purchases online, send text messages, and read internet news sites. Most of them do online banking and watch Netflix (with a few actually paying for the service rather than “borrowing” someone else’s password).

I’m pretty sure, however, that ALL my contemporaries, when given the choice of meatloaf or avocado toast, would choose meatloaf every time — while listening to an album by Meat Loaf. (Yes, there was a singer in the 1970s named “Meat Loaf.” Look it up.)
We Baby Boomers don’t think the items on that list are necessarily cool. We just remember a time when those things were the only options available, and we know they still work. I mean, if a Boomer writes out a check in cursive and sends it to a Millennial via the Post Office, is the young smart-aleck NOT going to cash it? We Boomers can operate in both worlds, digital and Stone Age. It’s like being able to speak two languages. Boomers are technologically bilingual.
There is one item on the Boomer list that is indeed very cool: newspapers. And I don’t say that just because this newspaper column has been the source of my personal fame and fortune. Newspapers are the epitome of “old school” cool. (Boomers always use the Bugs Bunny pronunciation of that word: “EPP-eh-toam”.)
Swiping your germ-infested fingers across the dirty screen of an iPad to read internet news stories is not an advancement in technology; it’s a sad regression. There is nothing like the feel of a real newspaper in your hands. If your hands are going to get dirty anyway, it might as well be with good clean newsprint. Besides, three-quarters of what you read on Internet news sites was originally written by a newspaper employee. Also, try swatting a fly with your iPad. Oops, there’s a $600 mistake.
The article I read listed one last thing that Boomers think is cool: complaining about Millennials. OK, that one is both true and very cool. Right on, brother! Boomers rock!

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