“What is the defining song of Generation X?” I texted my musician friend Brad.
I pictured him taking a hefty drag on a cigarette as ellipses danced on my screen.
“That’s a tough one,” he texted. “What defines us? Anger? Public Enemy’s Fight the Power. Apathy? Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana. Manic-pixie-wistful? Lisa Loeb’s Stay. Sexuality? Prince. Madonna.”
“Disillusionment?” I texted back. “That song by Talking Heads. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife.”
“And you may ask yourself well? How did I get here?” Brad finished. “Yeah that’s pretty good.”
“Nothing by Weird Al?” (We love Al, so this was a legit question.)
“He’s brilliant but not ironic. Speaking of, Isn’t It Ironic by Alanis might be perfect. Generation X loves irony.”
“Even if we don’t know what it means?”
“When the outcome is the opposite of the intent. And funny. You’re welcome.”
“Anyway,” I texted, chagrined, “I remember back in the day Generation X loved nostalgia. The boomers were big on remembering how great their youth was compared to current.”
“Our parents taught us to worship the past,” Brad replied. “The Big Chill. The Wonder Years. The Monkees. Happy Days. All testaments to themselves. So we did it when we entered our 20s. And we do it now. The Goldbergs. Stranger Things.”
“Schoolhouse Rock was a musical back in the 90s.”
“The Banana Splits. HR Pufnstuf. The Muppet Show. All that crap got new life because we copied the boomers. Ironically of course.”
That afternoon Brad sent me a link. “Interplanet Janet! Found your perfect Generation X song. You’re welcome.”