Dads are the Original Hipsters.

I will use the entertaining website above as the launching pad for a diatribe against anyone younger than me (and in their twenties) who thinks they are the “shizzle” (whatever, that is…) – especially if they think that “old people” suck.  As this is a rant, it is doubtful I will offer any constructive criticism – this will just make me feel better!

Shockingly, the other day one of my kids indirectly called me “old”.  It was  a tragic by-product of being the same age as Gerard Butler. Even though I am younger – on the much greener side of 50 – I believe that I am now officially labelled as a “grumpy old f*ck”.  I am now batting for the other team. No, I have note emerged from the closet sexually (and before you have at me,  I am not knocking that orientation either. As a comedian once said, “It’s not to my taste…but who knows? Once upon a time, I did not enjoy broccoli either.” Broccoli-curiosity is not the subject of this blog…)

What I mean is that somewhere in the past 20+ years I went from “Challenging the Man” to “Joining the Man” to “Being the Man”. No longer am I the hormone-addled youth playing My Generation on my Sony Walkman cassette player, singing “F-f-f-f-f-f-fade away!”  No longer am I trying hard to ignore the death-ray looks of the Depends crowd who winced at the high-pitched noise escaping from my 1980s foam-covered headphones. I am now the scornful old git looking at the unshaven, toque-topped, flannel-shirted, skinny jean wearing hipster and the ball-capped, hoodie-wearing, “pants-to-the-ground” gangsta. I stare, transfixed, as they gyrate to the music of Liddle Fiddy, Em-En-Oh-Pee, the Antarctic Narwhals or whatever artist that has captured their fleeting attention spans.   (Note: Any youth similarly grooving or head-banging to Sabbath, Zeppelin, Tull, or Mötorhead is spared the death stare and admonishing cluck.)

I don’t know when this metamorphosis happened. The change is sort of like the rapid onset of my short-sightedness  or my inability to remember things as I leave the house (I know you know…we can no longer read the instructions on the box of Quaker Oats without using the self-zooming arm, or must check three times if we locked the front door.)  One day I was tolerant and understanding; the next day I was permanently irritated by anyone between 15 and 24.

Evidently I have whitewashed over my youth’s peccadilloes and joined the Old Bastards’ Club. Evidence? Rather than just accept it, I will return my steak if it is not to my liking (if I am paying $29.99 for a slab of meat, I want it exactly medium-rare, not rare, not medium – medium rare, lord t’undering!); I will tell the telephone-solicitor, usually passive-aggressively, that he has called me at a very bad time and that he  is on the verge of ruining my nearly perfect day.

I have paid my dues.  I want things exactly how I want them, and dammit, I have earned the right to expect and receive that! And, I am warning you young pups…do not try to piss higher than me on the tree, or I will come at you like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!

Also, regardless of my relatively middle class upbringing (with the necessary paper route, part-time job and continuous summer employment), I now find that I am an ardent disciple of the School of Hard Knocks. If you are over 30 and you haven’t seen  Charlie Sykes’ 11 rules of life ( evidently incorrectly attributed to Bill Gates  http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2010/09/13/bill-gates-11-rules-of-life.htm ), you will probably react like I did. After each rule I found I was nodding my head vigorously crying, “You tell them Gatesy…the little bastards have it easy. There are no handouts for you here, punks!”

I back that up with the fact that everything I have, I got on my own – so the youngsters should do the same.  Don’t ask me for a ride to school;  man, when I was your age, I used to walk barefoot…uphill…and, in the snow!  Every hardship and disappointment built character – character needed to be an upstanding, contributing citizen like me, kid. Sound familiar? If you are as old as Gerard Butler, I am sure you have heard it before.

And then, the remaining vestiges of the young fellow I used to be offers that maybe I am being too grumpy, too hard, on the future generation. Maybe the grumpiness isn’t about them – it is about me.  My generation is full of Breakfast Club clones, now wearing the figurative checkered pants of principal Dick Vernon, who struggle to find a way to communicate with the next wave of humanity. Maybe the disapproving looks and comments are inevitable. As the wrinkles in our brains smooth out, as our vision fails, as our generation begins to become extinct, maybe being a prick is simply a Darwinian reaction.

It’s true, I can’t devolve into a youngster –  I look like shit in skinny jeans or gangsta clothes. The only option left is to bitch – “I gripe, therefore I am”. Perhaps being a curmudgeon is the only way to be noticed, to stay relevant, or as Bon Jovi puts it, our only way of going out in a Blaze of Glory.

So in the end, I can’t fight evolution, so I will accept my curmudgeon-ness. But, for you sprogs out there, watch out!  There are still a lot of us old buggers hanging on, with our huge reservoir of middle-aged bitching to school you on the way it used to be. And if that doesn’t intimidate you, take a peek at the web site at the top and be impressed – we were pretty young and hip once.  And rest assured, one day you will be old and grumpy just like us! That should scare you.

Later…

ASF

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