I had this weird realization the other day.
I am not a big fan of my own generation. I couldn’t tell you what was on TV growing up other than Saturday Morning cartoons, I hated the movies that weren’t science fiction, and pretty much everything else that came from the eighties. I was so glad when the 90’s came and washed all that crap away. Sure, it might seem cool to look back and the weird hair and clothing styles like in the Wedding Singer and want to emulate that, but most people have forgotten how our culture PUSHED us to be like that. Imagine if you will what a smart kid with a stack of comic books had to deal with when he didn’t want to be George Michael, Rick Ashley, or even Billy Idol. I was forced out of every social circle because I never liked or conformed to any of it. I wasn’t any of the kids in The Breakfast Club and I didn’t WANT to be any of them. I was Christian Slater from Heathers or Pump Up the Volume. I wanted the whole system torn down, for telling me I was Satanist because I liked heavy metal and dungeons and dragons. I was sick of cheerleaders and jocks and the whole class system that ruled our education at the time.
I even got bullied by the skaters. Seriously, getting hit with a skateboard hurts. Still, I take pleasure in the knowledge that I was right; their stupid hobby never did turn into a wise career path. 🙂
So when rap music came along, and minorities came along, I was overjoyed. As the white whipping boy, I was glad for the break in bullying when people turned their attention to these new groups of people that were showing up. Except black boys didn’t get bullied and suddenly I saw a way out. Sure, I’d eventually learn that I was considered a part of the very group I hated for the very things I hated them for, but in those early years it was like a new voice, an angry voice from the ghetto was screaming out what I had felt all those years. Don’t get me wrong, I was not one of those white boys who tried to be black, there are no pictures of me wearing Jamaican colors and making gang signs, but I did educate myself about what black people were experiencing in the United States. I felt a kinship in some way, as ridiculous as it sounds, with men like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. Not because I was experiencing racism, but because I knew what it was like to be considered dangerous, to be pushed into the corner and forced to fight, to feel like no matter I did it was never good enough.
And you know what? Nothing has changed. We’re judging by different standards nowadays and nobody believes in Satan anymore, but we always create ways to segregate, divide and separate people don’t we? I still don’t agree with my generation. I don’t buy Apple products, I don’t care about the constant fixation on 80’s culture, I don’t obsess over the next big Disney thing, I don’t support garbage just to be part of the crowd. The Breakfast Club might be more sexually and racially diverse now but it is the same damn system trying to force us into the newest version of the molds. All griping aside though, you are probably wondering what this weird realization was that I had the other day. Well it was this:
I am not writing for you, Gen X. I am not writing for my peers or anyone in my age group. I am writing for the kids who aren’t born yet, who’ll have their own hobbies and interests that will seem odd to me when I am old and retired.
My biggest fan hasn’t been born yet. But one day there will be a boy or a girl who just doesn’t fit in. They won’t want to hang out with robots, or spend their time in virtual hangouts, or put that fake genetic tissue in their face, they’ll follow the old ways; the ways of libraries and books and tablets and pdfs. They’ll want something more, their dreams will be different than all the rest. Those are the people I am writing for. I am writing for the warriors who will have to clean up the mess we’ve made, the children whose future we’re consuming right now.
You can hate me now, but the more you do, the more your kids will love me.
As cool as it is to be the voice of your generation, it is SO much cooler being the future voice of rebellion.