The kids, the Millennials, remind me of me back when I thought I had it all figured out. Not that they’re naïve or immature, but rather like when I was less empathetic to the toll that people’s struggles took on them and how it ground them down to cynical, compromising grownups with the awesome right to vote and affect public policy in new and terrible ways.
My wife and I redesigned the home office in our house over the New Year break. New coat of paint on the walls, a new desk for her and new layout of the workstations, so that we face each other with a pair of monitors for each of us to hide behind. We removed the closet doors and placed the file cabinets in the cavities. The bulk of the real work, however, ended up sorting the documents, ledgers, papers and piles of research stuff for saving, tossing or shredding or passing off to friends and allies who we thought could use some of these archives.
Among this detritus, were old magazines and underground newspapers of marginal cultural significance as nostalgia or historical value. Rolling Stone, National Lampoon, Yipster Times, Overthrow (formerly Yipster Times), High Times, Earth First Journal; Comic books, like Freak Brothers, Doper Dan, Cherry Poptart, Weirdo, Zap Comix and a surprising amount of those freebie pulp periodicals put out by local radio stations with news and reviews about the concerts and records of a bloated spectacular culture at a lost and lonely time in America. There were the mainstream stadium acts that all too soon became labeled Classic Rock alongside the trickles and tributaries, like outlaw country and disco and punk rock and glam rock and prog rock.
So, I filled a knapsack with as much of it that could fit and we brought it along with some champagne and leftover fireworks to a New Year’s Eve party at the house of some old friends where, after many stories and laughs over a fine dinner of chili and sweets, for about an hour before midnight we lounged around like denizens of a college town coffeehouse thumbing through these stale and uncomfortably topical remnants of the alternative press from another time.
My peers and I spent much of the last 30 years, give or take, marveling about how much smarter our parents turned out than we had thought and now, dear Millennials, it’s your turn. We gave the world films like Animal House and Caddyshack, only to help hand the leadership of our country over to Judge Smails and Lt. Niedermeyer. I respect your talents to overcome the obstacles that we have placed in your way in this world and you can count on me to defend your rightful place in our society with all the confidence in you to overcome them.
And then, finally, at the stroke of midnight, Central Standard Time, in the northwestern suburbs of the greater metropolitan Chicagoland area, it became legal to consume recreational cannabis in the State of Illinois. And because we are human, toasted the new Gregorian decade with various cups, glasses and mugs of champagne, beer, brandy, soda pop or coffee with grateful goofy grins and smartassed expressions of hope and laughter and peace and love and fun before putting our rubber to the road and heading back again to our homes and kids and pets after another successful raid against the evil spirits that populate the worlds between the transitive and haunted spaces of our irresponsible imaginations.