This is the beaten generation. There are no more Jack Kerouacs because anti-heroes are passe. Kids today, they like their toys and the mean age of kids these days is 40. That means to them that they never grow up and never get old. It means to their context that they have more expensive toys and are beholden to any large number of organizations, institutions and otherwise variable persons. Willingly. Kids need rules for reasons, so not wanting to grow up, hoping you never do, well, that’s the middle aged stuff of indulgence and it ain’t real and nobody believes it. Least of all the really young. And this generation, my generation, knows it. We’re beat both ways from Sunday, in fact and in fictions.
Older than us, they say, “Why not? Try it! You never know!” Younger than us they advise, “Research it. Text me. Have fun! Be careful! Get rest! Eat well! Workout!” (It goes on and on and when you get to the ecological portion, there are codicils.) We’re pegged for ball-less often in the same second we’re cautioned to a virtual standstill. I don’t want to be Neal Cassady and I sure as hell don’t have any aspirations toward sainthood, but I would like to grab onto something. Some swagger. As it is, the only motion my generation has is of a swinging punching bag.
The man is still the man but he dresses all kinds of ways now. He’s organic, pedantic and just a little romantic. He’s got our numbers and he’s allowed to lie to us before we request an attorney. And in this country he’s a Jesus pimp. Gimme that old time religion, the kind where Jesus doesn’t make your choices for you and where passing the hat wasn’t anybody’s admitted profession. Today, there are accounting services ready to help you should you choose a career as a shepherd. The staves are made by BMW and you can poke whomever you want with ‘em. All is forgiven.
It’s easy to see why so many take the Jesus leap. It is its own economy and there is no accountability in it. Nobody to tell you that you’re not doing it right and nobody to peg you a coward. And Jesus wants to you sell cars to your parish, Avon too, pimp away. Beaten down from every angle and taking refuge in a God we’re obviously not afraid of nor impressed by, my generation are the flocks. This is possibly where the self-loathing is the greatest. I wouldn’t know. I still fear God, so I am no modern Christian and tend to step a few feet away from one if thunder is clapping.
Beaten up, beaten down and still refusing to die. Still unwilling to forgo both the current technology and the ever loving cheeseburger. And we are well aware of the dangers. I am not proud that our claim to fame for the next few generations will be our beige consistency and how well we handle cancer, but what else is there to do? We were already addicted and we’ve recovered. Self-medicating the pain is our normalcy. We were raised to ask permission in a world where free thinkers pissed on our grandmas’ roses and conservatives raped our country while they told us we could die any minute. Shaky fingers on buttons are only suggestively funny if you’re high. But we get sober more often than we go to church.
I don’t know if there will be any massive trend among us to break down, break free and break bones, or if we’ll just stand here and keep on with the dead swinging. It might be that the only mark we ever make will only be visible under an electron microscope or in the code of a web page. So be it.