The Dude's generation
“Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.” -Jason Isbell
Now I’ve seen it all. Like Donald Trump’s mother. An immigrant from the slums of Scotland, Mary Anne MacLeod truly went from rags to riches, living the spectrum of wealth firsthand. Unlike her offspring, who have never known poverty. It is typical, their family’s social-climbing game of chutes and ladders; usually it takes three generations for a family’s empire to crumble and then it is up to the fourth to rebuild. The first generation climbs the ladder, the second generation plays on the jungle gym and heads for the slide— Whee! Leaving the third generation to wander around the dirt playground penniless and hungry… But I have a feeling Trump’s kids will transfer to another school and take all our sack lunches.
Trump is a poster child for the middle generation. For the record, I think there is another generation between the Boomers and GenX; those born between 1950 and 1965 should be recognized as their own generation, not lumped in with the Boomers. C’mon, why would someone born in 1960 still be counted as part of the boom of babies from WWII? Maybe we call them the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll generation; SDR for short. Whadd’ya think? But for argument’s sake, we’ll stick with the Boomers being a HUGE generation. The Biggest Generation. The Best Generation— not to be confused with The Greatest Generation, who built everything in the first place, so that the Boomers could ride the wave of industrialism all the way to the shore. Which is where we find ourselves today; sitting in the sand, crying like a toddler who just got sucked under and rolled in the shallow.
“You’re not wrong, Walter.” -the Dude. If you don’t know the Dude, he is a character played by Jeff Bridges in the movie The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides. He epitomizes the terrible beauty of human nature; philosophical and pathetic, yet still fun to go bowling with. Sort of like an edgy, unpredictable Phil Donahue with a drinking problem. I would actually like to meet the Dude because I have a burning question regarding humanity throughout the ages. What do humans do that selflessly benefits this planet? Or anything else on it? Like termites recycle and bees pollinate, what purpose do humans serve that does not solely benefit us?
I’ve been noodling on this for quite some time, and I’ve only come up with three possibilities— none of which seem nearly as beneficial as the bugs or the bees. 1) Humans move bacteria/virus around the globe free of charge. 2) We invented corgis— arguably one of the cutest things in the universe. And 3) once dead, we feed the soil (excepting airtight caskets and cremation.) So just moving around in the world and eventually dying is our great contribution. The unemployed daydreamer taking a nap in the park, shedding dead skin cells into the grass, is actually better for the planet than the suited CEO flying around the globe eating tortured baby cow and using hand sanitizer, i.e., bacteria killer. One could even argue that keeping a human alive past its ability to aid and abet virus migration is a sin against Nature.
I’m not advocating a massive boom of suicide here. I’m simply pointing out that our role in the natural cycle of creation, life, death, and rebirth, from individuals to generations, is not as significant as we sometimes make it seem. Right now, we are nearing the end of a generational cycle, watching these greedy old guys who hate unborn babies once they are born, take and take. But their turn on the playground will be over soon, and it’ll be time to plant some trees and rebuild the whole thing. The two generations before GenX created, and ran through, many resources. Luckily, we are a generation used to disappointment, and it will mainly be left up to the Millennials to re-create a sustainable system. C’est la vie. I bet I know what the Dude would say. Whatever happens, relax; just by being here and one day dying, we’re already doing our part. And maybe try to curtail the amount of assholish things we say and do while we let the bacteria hitch a ride.