Recently, I heard this remark: “What is it with your generation?” I have a problem with labels, and this is one I especially get revved up about.
I never considered myself a member of a ‘generation.’ I was once doing a newspaper column about the deteriorating health of the Baby-Boomer Generation. The physical therapist I was talking to found out that I was born during World War Two and said, “Oh, you’re a Baby-Boomer too.”
That stopped things dead in their tracks. “No,” I replied, "I was born during the war, so I can’t be a member of the Post-War-Baby-Boom, which is of course how that generation gets its name."
Well, she said it didn’t matter—I was still a Baby-Boomer. "Now wait a minute," I said (I told you the interview stopped dead). "It’s called the Post-War Boom for a reason—because it took place after the War. I was born during the War."
Close enough, she said.
Sorry, I guess that’s why I’m a writer. Words—and the phrases they construct—are important to me. I am not (cannot) be a member of the Baby-Boom Generation. And by now, you’ve probably become quite aware that this is a sore point with me.
I don’t like being categorized—in any way. I’m not a member of the Greatest Generation, nor a Boomer, a Gen-xer, a Gen-yer, a Gen-zer…I’m me. And therein lies the root of a problem in our culture. People have to be pigeonholed—branded. And why? So we can be targeted by a marketing campaign.
I’d like to think a little more of myself than a simple member of a group whose actions, thoughts, values…can be easily quantified and qualified. You see, pigeonholing people is what can ultimately lead to prejudice and bigotry.
Oh, he’s a so-and-so; you know what they are like!
The only so-and-so I am is Joltin’ Jim Vanore. You want to know what I’m like? Don’t ask when I was born, or where I grew up. Just go to www.jimvanore.com. You’ll find out what I do, who I am, and what I write.
There you’ll also find you can download my novels for the price of a gallon of gasoline. And, whereas that gallon of gas will be gone after about thirty minutes on the highway, my novels should stick with you for the rest of your lucid life.
In fact, I personally believe that reading my material can help you maintain your lucidity well past the time when most of your generation has lost theirs.
If you believe in that generational sort of thing.