Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Why do people twice my age feel the need to "connect" with me? I find myself to be a pretty easy-going, well-educated guy, and am perfectly able to get along with most people. You want to talk about the music of the '70's, the movies of the '50's, what happened when you were my age in 1943? Sure, I'd be glad to. Just please stay your age.

At my work, I have lunch with a couple of my co-workers. The number and identity of lunchmates changes from day to day, and every so often, I find myself talking to a woman who is old enough to be my mother (I usually eat with women, because with the guys in my office, I find myself constantly having to prove that I'm not gay by talking about professional sports and Jessica Alba. It's just not worth the effort). And these women always feel the need to show me that they're...Well, one of them put it best.

She was talking about a rap artist that her son had her listen to (50 Cent? Nelly? Tupac? Some other incredibly mainstream artist that you don't need a 17 year-old son to have heard of? Get back to me when you have listened to Arcade Fire or Nellie McKay). And she was saying, "I liked him. I don't like a lot of rap, because it's just the same thing over and over. The sex, and the drugs, and the shooting, and the hitting the women. But this guy was cool."

She then turns to me and says, "Bet you didn't think I could like a guy like that, huh? I'm down. I'm down in the diggity!"

Dear God.

Did she really say "down in the diggity" (a phrase that, even if it were correct, would still be outdated by at least fifteen years)? For that matter did she really say that she was "down" in the first place? And was she trying to somehow connect to me and get me to think that she was cool by telling me that she liked 50 Cent? Do I look like the kind of guy that could talk to you about the modern state of hip hop?

She then proceeded to have a conversation with another woman (again, old enough to be Mother Gable) about her sexual practices. Both were peppering their conversation with the exclamation "girl": "Oh, girl, men are just as bad!" "Girl, I'm telling you!" It was really quite unsettling to sit at the cafeteria table and watch these two grown women with middle-class jobs speaking like nineteen year-olds at a mall food court.

Then, I was suddenly struck by a premonition. I saw myself twenty years from now. I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, and I was talking to my daughter's friends, telling them about how I "appreciate" the crappy mainstream bands that I heard on Top 40 Radio and hearing them snicker as I left her room. Then I retreated to my son's room to try and talk to him about "that cool new video game". And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't possibly connect to them in any way.

I was reminded of the several sad figures that I've seen in my life. The middle-aged D.J. of a Top 40 radio station in Spokane. The high school science teacher that was all too willing to have his crappy oldies band play at a school dance. The kung fu- and porn-obsessed store manager at the local Hollywood Video who would keep customers in the store just so they could listen to him talk about Bruce Lee. It was a scary notion. Someone I know is actually scared of getting older. I didn't really understand her until now. If getting old means desperately trying to prove that you're not old, that's a good argument for the benefits of euthanasia.

I was reminded of one of the most embarrassing things that I have ever seen. I was watching a commercial for Teen Jeopardy, which consisted of several bookish teenagers (including with a cute Asian girl wearing glasses. *Daydreaming sigh*) talking about the virtues of Jeopardy in Smart Kid Speak ("Teen Jeopardy is the paradigm of the entertainment-education coalescence"). Then, in what must be the single most embarrassing moment in his career, Alex Trebek appeared in a leather jacket and sunglasses and said, I swear to god, "Teen Jeopardy is da bomb! See, I'm down!" I know that it was supposed to be a joke, but that went so far into Not Funny Territory that it went back to Funny Territory before finally settling back into Not Funny Territory, Embarrassment Division.

This is not to say that as people get older they should be humorless and mature. I just think that people should act how they feel. Do not try to "connect" to me. Instead of trying to talk to me about 50 Cent (when both of us have only heard the same two songs), show me the dance you took from The Jackson 5 when you watched them on Ed Sullivan. I'll enjoy that much more. Tell me what's interesting to you, not what you think is interesting to me. It is the young that should be following the elder's example, not the other way around.

Just be yourself, girl, even if you're not down in the diggity.

AHHHHHHH! Loved this! Brilliant...F'ing great! (can I say that?) I will read your blog often...you capture feelings and put them into words great! I think all to often and far to common now, people try to be "diggity down" instead of just in the know!
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