My generation is obsessed with lists. We have a predilection for witticisms and profanity-infused prose and we assert that enlightenment can be obtained if only, just only, we follow these lists ordained to us. Lists aren’t anything new, Adam and Eve had specific guidelines to follow in order to lead a quality life. They couldn’t follow that list however, and got kicked out of their dormitory like an overzealous freshman away from home for the first time. See? Vulgar witticism right there. Moses had a list as well. Thou shalt honor thy mother and thy father. I’m not convinced that my parents would feel honored if I publish a trite checklist on “why I’m still single” or “X number of reasons why I’m in the wrong relationship” or “X ways to ensure corporate success” or “X signs that I’m about to really hit my stride and get that new phone and car and job and hot girlfriend and sweet vacation package and come out of this self-created hole and really, really make an impact on the world, regardless of whether the article specifies if it’s a positive or negative impact, because hell, it’s just an impact!
My generation is too busy to digest articles in paragraph form. We want lists, memes, and stock photography. We’re smart, so we get bored easily if we’re not stimulated. We do our best work when we have the freedom to jump from one thing to another without anyone cramping our style.
This is the information era, where we’re way too busy between school, internships, and maintaining our social network to actually sit down and read anything beyond a page. We love Netflix at home because we hate it when obnoxious types yell at us or kick us out of the movie theater for checking Yelp and Instagram during a film’s slow parts. I multitasked and watched Les Mis, flitted about on Twitter, highlighted every other line in my class textbook, downloaded a free torrent of my favorite band’s album two weeks before it releases, sent a text to mom making sure she would be home so I could pick up my clean laundry from their house because I’m independent now, and I just don’t have time to wait around at the local laundromat, plus I gave all of my spare change to the homeless guy down the block because I like his new Jordans and plus he had a sign that said “Please Help, Need Money for Beer” and he deserves it for being honest, right? There’s another lady on the opposite side with a kid, and they look all raggedy, too raggedy, they’re probably just poseurs and go home to an upper middle class house and drive a Benz on the weekend.
So anyway, I watched Les Mis, totally see myself living in France, drinking espresso, and writing poetry. The quiet intellect, educating any passerby in philosophical discussion and sharing bottle after bottle of the finest wines. All of my friends drink Stella Rose, but I won’t drink anything under 50 for a bottle. I don’t follow people who have Instagram for Android, because iPhone Instagram was the original and everyone else is just bandwagoning.
Tomorrow, I have a job interview. My generation is having a hard time finding work after college but that’s because older people don’t realize that their ways are obsolete, and that it’s up to people my age to make a difference in this world. I got a 4.0 GPA and was cunning enough to use my financial aid money to buy myself a BMW. I got it all, the looks, the brains, and the drive. I’m entitled to this job I’m interviewing for. I read a list this morning saying I should go in full of confidence, no problem there, and I should tell the interviewer all of the ways that he or she can do their job better. Once they see my brilliance, I’ll be making that money in no time.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said something about choosing to be kind or to be clever.
Obviously I’m smart, I can probably search online for a list for, aha, got it. “17 Ways to Be Kind.” I wish that girl from Starbucks this morning read this. She would have known better to make my drink the right way after I told her off instead of talking back and storming away. What does my generation have to do just to get a simple and easy cup of Enlightenment Tea so we can get on our way and make the world a better place without having to deal with these jerks?