On the animated TV series Animaniacs, a supporting character named Slappy Squirrel, who is an aging, jaded actress with a penchant for cartoon violence, winds up living with her perky young nephew, Skippy Squirrel.
This is not unlike how I feel when interacting with Millennials sometimes!
I’ve recently started reflecting upon my numerous interactions I’ve had with Millennials over the past several years. And I’ve concluded that I’m not that much different from Slappy Squirrel – and the Millennials are kind of like Skippy!
Here are some vignettes for your perusal:
From 2013, at the workplace:
Scene: young male co-worker (abbreviated YMC), approximately 22 years of age, is running his mouth off about some sportsball guy named Reggie Bush, who was drafted by the Lions or something.
Me: “Who’s Reggie Bush?”
YMC: (Tells me who Reggie Bush is)
Me: “In other current events, we now have a new Pope.”
YMC: “What’s a Pope?”
YES, HE REALLY ASKED WHAT A POPE WAS…I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.
I was kind of aghast, but I proceeded to do my best to explain the concept of a Pope to this…boy. I believe I did a good job not making him feel too stupid.
Me: “Well, he’s the head of the Catholic church, makes sometimes controversial decisions that impact lots and lots of people, has a special car called the ‘Popemobile’ that keeps him from getting shot, and lives in his own country called Vatican City.”
YMC: “So he’s like a king, then?”
Me: (no answer).
Me: “They’re moving all of the catalog merchandise from downstairs to upstairs. That’s going to be a pain in the ass for customers.”
YMC (different from previous YMC): “What’s a catalog?”
Me: “It’s just an older word we use to describe stuff people order online. Back in the day, they used to have the Internet on paper, and you had to mail and call in orders and stuff.”
(I was training another YMC to use the cardboard baler, which required opening the latch by striking it hard with a 2 by 4. The YMC had some difficulty getting the latch open).
Me: “Hit it like it owes you money.”
YMC: Achieves desired result…but is forever after a bit scared of me!
Several months ago, we got a new manager at my workplace. He appeared to be in his 20s, and sported BOTH a “man bun” AND a “fauxhawk!” Not unlike what must’ve happened when the Beatles appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” I would say about three-quarters of my female co-workers simultaneously began wetting their collective panties over this guy. Including a co-worker my mother’s age (who retired shortly after this guy hired in).
Ugh! I couldn’t EVEN with his hair…and his “jogger pants,” bowties…So not…my…type! I tried avoiding him as much as possible, but for some strange reason, he kind of followed me around like a puppy dog for a while and was being so…nice to me! He even (the horror) attempted to chit-chat with me about my (the horror) hometown!
YMC Manager Guy, saying loudly from several yards behind me: “Hey, I hear you’re from (name of town).”
Me: (thinking…”OK…WHO ratted me out?”) “Really? So who told you that?”
YMC Manager Guy: “(BLANK), from the men’s department.”
Me: (secretly plotting the murder of guy from men’s department) “Oh really. So what street did you live on?”
We continued chit-chatting a bit about this…
I’ve come to warm up to this guy a LITTLE bit…when I was working the Black Friday madness last year, he came by at just the right time to give me a nice, cold bottle of water! I shoved it into my sweater pocket and swigged that baby from the back room. He’s SO irritatingly…nice. Despite his crimes of hair and fashion, imho, I just couldn’t be too mad at him. But unlike my fellow female co-workers, I wasn’t about to start swooning anytime soon (again…NOT my type).
And then…a few weeks ago, YMC Manager Guy gets his hair cut! No more man bun or fauxhawk! And the female rabble will NOT shut up about this. I listen to all of the gushing and quickly look for something I can gag myself with (LOL).
Female coworkers: “Oh, he looks SO professional now.”
And it’s not just the workplace where I’ve had hilarious interactions with Millennials! It sometimes happens on trivia nights, too! From here on out, the younger Millennials will be abbreviated as MTPs (Millennial Trivia Players).
Question about Fotomats:
Me: “I remember Fotomats. They used to have them in the parking lots of shopping centers.”
MTP: “Oh yeah. My husband told me about those.”
Question about “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” the Poison song:
MTP: “I remember seeing the singer from that group on Celebrity Rehab.”
Me: “I LIVED that song!”
And there you have it! I’m not saying I hate Millennials, I actually kind of like them! It’s kind of refreshing, in a way, to hear stories about kids who were WAY more coddled than I was. They had parents who forbade them from watching “South Park” and “The Simpsons,” and my mom forbade me from watching “Three’s Company!” Their “safe spaces” are so cute! These “snowflakes” will always be a source of inspiration (and entertainment) to me – and I’d like to think that some of my…matter-of-factness has its own charm for them, too! Can Millennials and Gen X’ers live in harmony? Certainly!
We’re in this together, after all!