PAY IT FORWARD: The Grating-est Generation

April 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm 43 comments

Oh, Internet. I am in kind of a craptastical mood today. I was going to finish up another post I’ve been working on, but just couldn’t stop swearing at inanimate objects long enough (stupid water bottle with your whore cap that always fucking leaks you’re ruining my senior year and I HATE YOU) to finish it. And then – as if dropped into my lap by a band of giggling cherubs straight from heaven’s daycare – someone sent me a forward. And not just any forward: a forward that contains so many of my deeply hated pet peeves that I scarce know where to begin!

But I think the fact that it quotes JAY FUCKING LENO is a good start.

First, a little bit of background: if there is one phrase that makes me want to set my hair on fire, it’s “The Greatest Generation.” My parents own Tom Brokaw’s book, and you know, while I have no problem singing the praises of awesome people who came before us, it’s awfully dangerous to paint an ENTIRE GENERATION of people with such a superlative brush, especially when that generation included a lot of  people like this:

Internet, everyone thinks their generation had it right. EVERYONE. Anyone past age twenty has had their share of “X isn’t as good as it was when I was growing up…” moments (there’s a page on Facebook called “When I was your age, we had Kenan and Kel, not Drake and Josh” for fuck’s sake). And there is a very logical explanation for this…besides the rock-solid fact that yes, Saturday morning cartoons these days are COMPLETE ASS compared to how rad they were when I was growing up.

I rest my case.

Things/people/events from our respective upbringings are sacred and special (and therefore, THE BEST) because we remember them through the soft-focus filter of childhood, when our lives generally weren’t burdened with things like mortgages, jobs, bills, a Tivo that keeps recording episodes of iCarly for no discernible reason, etc. Whenever I hear someone sincerely refer to the era in which they were raised as “a simpler time,” I want to punch them in the crotch, because OF COURSE IT WAS A SIMPLER TIME, YOU ASSHAT. YOUR UNDERPANTS STILL HAD SUPERHEROES ON THEM.

I don’t mean to make such an issue out of this, but it makes me bristle to hear a past generation uniformly glorified, not only because it reeks of some serious revisionist history, but also because it belittles the achievement of subsequent generations, and implies that future generations aren’t capable of being amazing in their own right. I sincerely believe that if you plopped my generation (or the next) into the shoes of those who lived during the Great Depression, they’d show the same determination and ingenuity, if not more.

And – you know – maybe they’d be a little lighter on the hate.

Actually, you know who said it best? BILLY JOEL, fools. He drove his car into a tree and married an infant, but HE knows the fucking score:  “The good old days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”

Those slippers are, however, as bad as they seem.

OK, climbing down off my soapbox now. Let’s get to it!

[DISCLAIMER: I am now realizing that this forward is a little fucked up on its dates and is sort of referring the “Greatest Generation,” but is mostly referencing Baby Boomers. Which means the title to this post is now kind of irrelevant, but WORK WITH ME here, because I am now too throughly annoyed to come up with another clever title. Kthx.]

Subject: FW: Why we are awesome!!!

I’d snark on this, but really. I need to save it for later. I will say, however, that I would have bet the ranch that this was going to be another Empowered Sisterhood of the Traveling Vaginas email, but no such luck.

I’ve tried to wrap my mind around the whole “life as living proof” concept, but all that happens is I get a headache and start thinking about those M.C. Escher posters everyone had in college.

The person who sent me this is very much aware that I was born in 1976, so…I take it she does not think I’m awesome?

Henceforth marking the first time in history anyone has ever strung together the words “Very well stated, Mr. Leno.”

“Here, here!” said 42-year-old Debra, applauding with all three fingers on her good hand.

Who needs locks on the medicine cabinet when all the kids are blind from lead poisoning or suffering from severe head trauma? AH, THE GOOD OL’ DAYS!

OK, I remember routinely not wearing seatbelts, but NO BRAKES? Who the fuck are these parents? The Flintstones?

There was a slightly higher death rate re: the whole riding in the back of a pick-up truck thing but STILL, I MAINTAIN: GOOD OL’ DAYS!

To be fair, the dysentery from drinking out of the garden hose helped.

…because we didn’t remember the abuse until much later, in therapy.

It seems like this is just turning into a huge love letter to irresponsible parenting.

So we lost Jeremy when he became smeared beneath the undercarriage of a Crown Victoria – THE GOOD OL’ DAYS, I SAY!

Your clue that an old person wrote this: “personal computers.”

(Your other clue: “video movies.”)

…usually pinned beneath an overturned pick-up truck.

Hey! Who let the Catholic Church in here?

Oh, come the fuck on. I used to play in the mud, make mud pies and play with worms. But no one ever ATE THAT SHIT. I mean, if you had awesome white bread and Kool-Aid and sugar at your disposal, why would you be stupid enough to eat mud?  Unless, of course, your mom drank a whole bunch of booze when she was pregnant with you. Oh, wait.

That’s the problem with you kids today – not nearly enough of you are getting guns for your 10th birthday.

In related news, the outdoor cats of America are just fine with the recent decline in BB gun sales, thanks.

I’m confused. Do kids not walk into houses or ride bikes anymore? Did we develop some sort of teleportation that I’m not aware of? Have doors lost the ability to be knocked upon? When everyone takes off their masks, will they all have pig faces and think I’M hideous?

We just jumped on our bikes without helmets and rode home so that our pregnant chain smoking mothers could take us out for butter-flavored ice cream on white bread in the car with no brakes.

Of course they did! It gave them a break from beating your ass with ping-pong paddles (seriously, what the fuck?).

As opposed to most periods in history, which are rife with explosions of old ideas.

I hate you, forward.

Yes! That damn government trying to force me to secure my infants in car seats and protect their tender heads with helmets and report child abuse to the authorities – WHO THE FUCK DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?

Yes, lucky that you somehow made it to adulthood with two brain hemispheres intact.

That is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever fucking heard.

I stand corrected.

Yes, because an omniscient and loving God would choose to destroy a civilization via extreme weather because a bunch of third graders don’t say His name before studying subtraction each morning in [PUBLIC] school.

“Actually, that’s exactly what I’d do. BITCH, YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE!”


Entry filed under: PAY IT FORWARD!.

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad… ONE

43 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HoST  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    OK, first of all, your Billy Joel comment made me literally laugh like a crazy person at my desk.

    Second, ask former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry what he thinks about that whole riding in the back of a truck thing. I bet he’s anti-that-shit.

  • 2. donna  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I have seen this particular email forward and thought many of the same things. Just because they fought WWII doesn’t make them all stellar human beings.

    And also, can one generation encompass 1925 to 1970? Doesn’t that seem like a really long time? I don’t know though. I’ve never understood how long a generation is.

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh.

  • 3. hillary  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I need to go punch someone now. I don’t even care who it is. Someone just needs to get punched.

    • 4. jiveturkey  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      May I suggest anyone born between 1925 and 1970?

  • 6. Amy@On Bradstreet  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Tried to re-watch Thundercats, recently, with my 10 year old. We couldn’t stop laughing. They made Aqua Man look butch.

    Guess I’m shit out of luck, eh, just missed the cut-off by a year (b.1971)? Excellent points about the revisionist history bit, too.

  • 7. Swistle  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    This one makes me want to kill some old person.

    • 8. jiveturkey  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      L to the OL

  • 9. Swistle  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Also, my mother-in-law said this kind of thing ALL THE TIME. She’s dead now, but that doesn’t mean I killed her.

  • 10. kdiddy  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Respond to this forward with, simply, this:

    • 11. jiveturkey  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

      Wow. Brilliant.

      • 12. kdiddy  |  April 8, 2010 at 5:09 pm

        Also, George W. Bush was born in 1946. Just sayin’.

    • 13. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  April 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      Oh. My. God. NOW I am pissed.

  • 14. Dan  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Yeah, I’ve gotten this one before. It made me want to burn down an Olive Garden full of Baby Boomers then, and it inspires the same vitriol now. Anyone who ever complains (or passes along with a straight face said complaints) about how you’re not even allowed to wale on your children with switches and ping-pong paddles without some namby-pamby liberal calling it “child abuse” or some crap…well, what can you say to that?

    I hate, hate, hate anything that smacks of “things were better before,” no matter what generation it comes from.

    Here’s another quote, to balance out the Jay Leno inanity:

    “It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities. One is paperwork, the other is nostalgia.” – Frank Zappa

    • 15. jiveturkey  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:01 am

      Ha! I love it.

  • 16. Maggie  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Oh for christ’s sake. I was born in 1969 and do not in any way wish to be lumped in with the “Greatest Generation” or the Baby Boomers because what a group of self-righteous jackasses they are. I’m about to start lying about the year I was born if it means I have nothing to do with this bullshit.

  • 17. Marcy  |  April 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    This was an awesome edition of Pay It Forward!!!

    • 18. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks, my friend! I had a good time with this one.

  • 19. Nobody  |  April 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    LMAO! i love this post. i just recently found your blog, and wanted to let you know that i haven’t laughed like that in quite a while. you’re awesome.

    • 20. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:43 pm


  • 21. samantha Jo Campen  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I have always hated this line of thinking. THE GOOD OL’ DAYS. When people gave me shit for having a hospital birth with an epidural because “That’s now how our ancestors did it” I always countered with “And how many mothers and babies died in child birth? And how many mother’s would have rather had the epidural if given the chance instead of biting on a damn wooden spoon?”


    • 22. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:43 pm

      FO’ REAL.

  • 23. Holly Jane  |  April 8, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I do really miss those playground rides that were just big blazing hot metal discs with a pole in the middle to fling kids off of from high speed. I would totally ride one right now, and spin my kids off into the shrubbery.

  • 24. kristin @ going country  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Goddamn lawyers. They wreck everything.

    Know what’s funny, though? My husband the lawyer is much more likely to let kids ride in the back of the pick-up or play with BB guns than your average Baby Boomer. He’s kind of a throwback.

    Also funny? HIS father, who was actually born in 1929, actually had this lead toy soldier kit in which the children MELTED THEIR OWN LEAD to cast their own soldiers. Yikes. His father is now 80 years old and healthier than most 50 year olds, though, so I don’t think anything would have killed him.

    • 25. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      You married into a HARDY PEOPLE, my dear. Srsly. Your child can probably bend lead pipes already.

  • 26. sweetbird  |  April 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I’m pretty sure it’s the effects of eating dirt, lead paint, head trauma, and FAS that convince these people that these were the BEST. TIMES. EVAR.

    I’m going to go watch a video movie and surf those crazy interwebz now.

    • 27. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      Ha! I think you’re right.

  • 28. Lawyerish  |  April 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Phenomenal. Another of your greatest hits. I read pretty much this entire entry aloud to my husband and about died laughing.

  • 29. Chicago Friend of Said Turkey  |  April 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    thanks for the shout-out to the crown vic, yo! 🙂

    f#ck old people.

  • 30. jiveturkey  |  April 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Girl, you know!

    And please remind me of the bumper sticker that you had on said crown vic! I’m here racking my brains…was it SupaFly? I can’t remember!

    • 31. Chicago Friend of Said Turkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      oh MAN! I totally have forgotten!!! I think it was either supafly or supapimp or some such. Bet you wouldn’t see that rolling around on a crown vic driven by old ass people.

  • 32. magdalena  |  April 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    no haters!

    we’re all going to be the very old people we be knocking. just more tech savvy ones. that blog. and stuff.


    • 33. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      Ha! Yeah, I’m totally going to be a Cranky Old someday, but I promise not to pretend like my generation had everything figured out. I’m just going to make other people fetch me drinks and pretend I can’t hear when I want to ignore someone.

  • 34. edh  |  April 10, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Thank you. Now I have to clean tea off the monitor screen. My sinuses are nice and clear though…
    I’m a dastardly lurker, too lazy to comment most of the time, but I dearly love your writing (and photos of adorable baby; mine’s 12). This post, though, one of your very best. I’m truly mortified to have my birth year fall within those mentioned, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how my parents and I are in the same generation. Isn’t that sort of the opposite of the definition of generation?

    • 35. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks! Glad to have you delurk!

  • 36. T-Dubya  |  April 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    REAL sugar is NOT white………. ya old morons! (Refined, chemical-laden sugar is tho!) Maybe they should have sprinkled their “real sugar” on the lead-based paint for their non-integrated-after-school snacky snack!

  • 37. J-ROK  |  April 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Haven’t read your blog in months (I had a baby, moved across the country, and am still unpacking… nothing personal!), but after laughing till I cried, you’re back on my radar… and I blogged about it!

    • 38. jiveturkey  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      Yay! Thanks!

  • 39. Kelly  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:20 am

    This totally reminded me of a Daily Show clip featuring John Oliver I saw a few months back. I searched for it, and found it! It’s a riff on the ‘greatest generation,’ ‘simpler and kinder times’ kind of BS that passes fro nostalgia these days. Enjoy!

  • 40. SF Reader  |  April 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    The weirdest thing about this email is how arbitrary the dates are. People born between 1925 – 1970 include the GI Generation, the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, and Gen X.

    Actually, that’s probably not the weirdest thing, just the most annoying. I actually have to click away from here quickly, before I start thinking about this too much, because hoo-boy, the inaccuracies are a bit much for my literal, fact-liking brain to handle.

  • […] Pay it Forward, The Grating-est Generation – Jive […]

  • 42. PAY IT FORWARD: Fuck You, Kramer « Jive Turkey  |  June 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    […] File “Michael Richards…does make a good point” under “Shit no one has ever said while sober,” right along with “Very well stated, Mr. Leno.” […]

  • 43. PAY IT FORWARD: Fuck You, Kramer | Jive Turkey  |  August 4, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    […] File “Michael Richards…does make a good point” under “Shit no one has ever said while sober,” right along with “Very well stated, Mr. Leno.” […]


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