Sunday, October 11, 2015

Literally reinventing the millennial pledge

One of my hobbies is hate-reading bash pieces on millennials. So you can imagine how I took Millennials, you literally cannot call yourselves adults until you take this pledge. OMG. It literally made my day, you guys!

The pledge that every millennial needs to take because it’s soooo good for you can be divided into a handful of categories. It can also be rewritten into a condensed version that you can totally text on the way to somewhere that isn’t work. Don’t worry — I’ll handle that part. You just call in dead or whatever.

IRONIC GENERATIONAL CONDESCENSION

These refer to actions and attitudes that are endemic across all ages, but get pegged as millennial problems because baby boomers would never text while driving or feel entitled and they’re the ones writing history.

• I am entitled to nothing.
• I will show up on time.
• Just once, I will try driving without texting.
• Just once, I will try eating without texting.
• I promise not to misuse the word "literally." As in "I am literally dying of hunger" or "You are literally being so rude."
• At holiday dinners, I will leave my phone in my room.
• All those T-shirts? I will wash them.
• I will force myself to finally make a phone call.
• I promise not to text anything of life-changing significance: a marriage proposal, a divorce decree, a positive result.
• When I get my way, I will be grateful and not assume that I will always get my way.
• I will live each day./I will sleep each night./I am entitled to nothing but that.

Let’s just blow past these. They’re silly.

BIZARRELY SPECIFIC CURMUDGEONRY

The writer apparently met the worst millennial ever and that was that. If this millennial drove a green Smart car with a “Kill Your TV” bumper sticker, one of these points would have been, “I will not drive a green Smart car with a ‘Kill Your TV’ bumper sticker.”

• I will not shun comedians or college commencement speakers just because I don't agree with them. 
• I will not consider the cilantro on my taco to be a vegetable.
• I will not go on a job interview in shorts and flip-flops, even if "this job is so beneath me."
• When I finally move out of my parents' home, I will not take all their vodka and half their towels.
• I will not use crowd-funding to pay for my first car.
• If I can't afford car insurance, I won't spend $20 a day on coffee.
• If my first-born is a boy, I promise not to name him Uber.
• I won't sneak texts during funerals even if it's "totally boring and the dead guy is just lying there anyway.”
• I will not use pepper spray to season a burrito.
• If I hate my new job, I will not fake my own death. I will give a full two weeks' notice like grown-ups usually do.

More pointless pledge pablum. Poof.

THE EMILY POST FAN CLUB

These favor ritual over intent and/or deal with smut.

• I will (mostly) swear off smut.

If he's referring to the word “smut,” I agree. Totally unappetizing term. As for smut itself, well, I’d say that’s better than a lifetime of sexual repression and everything awful that brings about. So let’s toss this one.

• Each year, I will pen at least one thank-you note, using what's left of my cursive writing skills.
• I won't give only gift cards for Christmas.

I think we can rewrite these two as, “I will make every effort to keep in touch with those I care about, and give them tailored and thoughtful gifts.”

OK, we’re at one!

HUH?

Granted, most of the following are set up by previous points. That doesn’t mean they make any more sense in context.

• I will not burn overpasses.
• I will not be smut.
• I will not spend an entire weekend exploring my own mouth with a coffee straw.

Hmmm. “I will not be stupid.” I guess? Let’s go with that. And we’re at two.

WHAT THE HELL?

•  I will learn all my siblings' names (even the younger ones).

This is in a class by itself, just for being so weird. Seems like someone not knowing their siblings’ names is more the parents’ bad. And indicative of problems much more serious than, say, a coffee-straw fixation.

I can tell you at what minutes my brother and sister were born. And their names too! Then again, I’m on the edge of X and millennial. Maybe knowing your siblings’ names went out of style with the class of 1999.

Still at two.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE MERIT

OK, so the advice isn’t all ridiculous. These points of his are sensible for all generations:

• Nothing is beneath me.
• In high school or college, I will get a part-time job. Even if it's beneath me.
• Again, nothing is beneath me.
• I will learn to laugh at everything, especially myself.
• When meeting someone for the first time, I will always look him or her in the eye.
• I will not burn bridges.
• I will be resourceful, creative and authentic.
• I will vote. Always.
• I will learn to pick my battles.
• When I don't get my way, I will learn to roll with it.
• I will not run up my credit cards.
• I will save 10% of everything I earn.
• I will always remember Aristotle's quote: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
• At least once a week, I will hug my mom the way I hug my friends every single time I see them.
• I will do nice things just because.

Those are worth a couple of rewrites.

So here is the more relevant and economical pledge, just the way millennials like it:

• I will be a decent, loving and responsible person who will try to leave the world in better shape than I found it.
• I will never let anyone discourage me from realistic dreams.
• I will be self-aware in my critique of others, always considering that I might have shaped that which I critique.
• I will make every effort to keep in touch with those I care about, and give them tailored and thoughtful gifts.
• I will not be stupid.

Say it with me, kids of all ages.

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