Generation X

Blame it on a Millennial. It was a colleague’s casual comment that got me thinking about the markers of my generation. She said that she was born in 1980 and so wasn’t sure if she was really a Millennial or more of a Gen Xer like me.

Flashback to a work party a couple of Christmases ago — I was chatting with librarians my age when The Knack’s My Sharona came on. Of course, we started doing a little dance. An older colleague walked by and commented that we were too young to know this song. Without missing a beat (so to speak), my 1976-born friend replied that it was in a movie that we all saw in the 1990s. We laughed. Because it was true.

With this in mind, I told my young colleague that if she could do the My Sharona dance from Reality Bites then she was one of us. She couldn’t.


Reality Bites (1994) directed by Ben Stiller who cast himself as the lame guy (only in hindsight, he was the RIGHT guy and Ethan Hawk was a jerk!)

I know it’s crazy to make sweeping generalizations; we’re just a bunch of people born in the same time period, after all. Yet, it is rather unbelievable to think that we’re the last pre-Internet generation. We have witnessed the most fundamental societal change since the Gutenberg press. We’re both old enough, and young enough to have lived fully in both ages (the analog and the digital). So, as a tribute to those of us who became adults just before all the world’s information landed at our finger tips, I present my silly little list:

10 Signs You’re a Gen Xer

  1. You know the My Sharona dance from Reality Bites and you could do it RIGHT NOW
  2. You owned either a pair Doc Martens or some combat boots and those were the only shoes you wore, ever, in all weather and with every outfit
  3. You know how much fun it is to play with a Lite-Bright in the dark, under the blankets

    17 year-old me shopping in London wearing all thrifted clothing, including the ubiquitous combat boots

    17 year-old me shopping in London wearing all thrifted clothing, including the ubiquitous combat boots

  5. You owned VHS tapes with your favourite music videos (taped from Much Music, in my case, and carefully catalogued in a Duo-Tang binder)
  6. Similarly, you have waited for your favourite song to come on the radio ready to hit the Record button on your ghetto blaster
  7. You hung out in a disgusting campus smoking lounge on smelly old sofas even if you didn’t smoke because all your friends smoked and this was one of the only indoor places to do it
  8. Smells Like Teen Spirit was a revelation; it spoke to you (why yes, I DO feel stupid and contagious!)
  9. And speaking of grunge – you have a mosh pit story… like the time you lost your glasses after some dude elbowed you it the head
  10. To you, vampires are deadly blood-sucking creatures who live at night in places like Paris and Louisiana, and are called Armand and Lestat, not vegetarian pretty boys who sparkle in the sun

Bonus Canadian Round: You can sing the first couple of lines of the Zit Remedy’s big song (Everybody Wants Somethingand you know exactly what All the Way with Stephanie Kaye is about.

Comment and tell me about the moment you realized younger you was totally wrong about the Ben Stiller character (Michael) and that previously swooned-over Troy (played by Ethan Hawk) was a total jerk. For me, this happened about 8 years ago when, in a fit of nostalgia, I rewatched the film for the first time since the 90s. Hello maturity and adulthood, how good you look to me now!


  1. I only saw the film once in the 90s and do not remember the characters all that much. But I am an old…………..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: