I think we can all agree that there is an unending cavalcade of issues that are unnerving about 2019, regardless of where you live, what you do for a living or which side of the fence you land on politically (or if you’re a despondent moderate like me, perched on the fence, looking down at the tempestuous sea of division below).
Obviously some are dealing with more perturbing circumstances than others. But there seems to be a general consensus in America that, to some degree, the following things about this year are at least somewhat unsettling: China, Russia, North Korea (upset stomach, diarrhea!); the mounting crisis at the border (because whichever way you look at it, it’s a crisis); rich parents bribing their kids’ way into college (yet no one is surprised); Nazis 2.0; and not being able to fit women into spacesuits (because lady parts are so confusing, am I right?).
If you’ve managed to avoid the subtle sensation of uneasiness that many of us feel about these circumstances, I’m guessing your method is avoidance – and frankly, I don’t blame you. Turning on the news these days is basically an act of masochism.
It seems to me, anecdotally, that avoidance seems more common among my age group than it does among those older than us. I know how the Baby Boomers will explain this away: we’re snowflakes who can’t handle reality. I’d argue that we’re fed up with the status quo and the complete political gridlock that’s contributing to it and would rather think about something else for five minutes, but to each their own.
In my last column, I wrote about older generations being grumpy toward Millennials – a phenomenon that I am sure engendered shock and awe amongst Business Journal readers. I would like to again address the older generations, i.e., anyone older than 38: Hello there. Are the Millennials invading your workplaces driving you batty? Do you wish there was something you could do to take the wind out of their entitled, participation trophy-inflated sails? If someone says “like” unnecessarily one more time, are you going to put your fist through a wall?
Given that the Millennials who seem to be getting the most amount of press nowadays are those railing against the establishment (ahem, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), you might think bringing up current events would be the way to rattle us. But you’re not going to shake us with all of the usual fodder stoking the fires of cable news. And, if you try, trust me, you’re going to regret it – we’ll either walk away or unleash a lengthy Twitter thread calling you out on your bad behavior.
So what could possibly throw us so off balance that we are made silent, and you can finally rejoice in a petty generational victory before sailing off into the proverbial sunset?
There are a number of circumstances that, much like a good jab to the solar-plexus, would undoubtedly so deeply unnerve most Millennials that they would be rendered speechless (at least temporarily). These include:
- Public displays of bipartisanship. So used to political division are we that publicly expressing your admiration for a member of the opposite party, unless you’re a Republican talking about Joe Biden or a Democrat talking about John McCain, will likely force us to question our reality – have we entered an alternate dimension where civility exists?
- Proposing that Bill Nye the Science Guy is a fraud.
- Declaring that Emily Blunt and John Krasinki – Millennials’ beloved, shining hope that marriage is still maybe actually a good thing – are getting a divorce.
- Outing Queer Eye guy Jonathan Van Ness as an actor who is actually straight, does not care about your hair care regimen and is totally unamused by ice skating.
- Proclaiming that avocados are actually bad for your health – meanwhile, gluten turns out to be a cancer preventative.
- Replacing all the locally-sourced craft beer taps at our favorite watering hole with Budweiser.
- Revealing that Trader Joe’s has been using preservatives all along – their food just goes bad quicker because it’s old.
- A live action version of the most disturbing cartoon film of our youth’s, “A Troll In Central Park.”
- Elon Musk announcing a bid for the presidency.
Suggesting any of the above fictitious turn of events will give you the upper hand, but only momentarily. After all, you raised us – we don’t need someone to make us a list to know what your trigger points are. (Cue evil laugh slightly muffled by avocado toast munching).