The i-phone has hit the market. I can’t say I’m excited or surprised by this development. To be completely honest I’m always a little under-whelmed with the latest toys.
I was born in 1970. That makes me 37 this year. It also makes me a Generation X’er. In case you missed the 80’s, we’re the tiny post-baby boom generation that lacks the motivation to sustain its own existence. We invented the six year method for obtaining a four year degree. And that’s only if it’s a useless degree. To actually obtain a degree with purpose we require an additional four years of undergraduate study. That’s after moving back home with mom and dad. Understanding my lack of enthusiasm for the i-phone requires an examination of what makes Generation X choose not to tick.
My parents and my grandparents were enamored with THE YEAR 2000. It was a mythical milestone so revered that it was always referred to as THE YEAR 2000. I was constantly regaled with their theories on what would happen. Nobody dared dismiss it with a cheeky designation such as Y2K or the familiar “two-thousand”. It was always referred to in bold face all caps format even though such type-face concepts weren’t familiar to people foolhardy enough to ensconce themselves in polyester suits before dancing the night away. To disco. Yeah, my dad claims he grew up before disco but he owned a leisure suit and a really tacky shirt. He still digs the Bee Gees. And he says rap is crap. Shall we review his record catalogue?
Generation X grew up with mixed messages. Our grandparents were certain that the world was going to end. 2000. Zero, zero. Party over, oops, out of time. Even Prince, a surprisingly influential voice of the time, seemed sure that 1999 was the last chance to lay it on the line. It was grim. My grades suffered because I realized the utter futility of school. Why bother getting an education when I was going to die before I could enjoy it? It made sense to pursue a lifestyle of hedonism early on. If only I had known then what hedonism entailed. I might have hit the road looking for “Darling Nikki”.
Of course our parents were less fatalistic. It’s hard to accept the notion that your children won’t be around long enough to squeeze off a grandchild or two (after that the original kids are expendable) so mom and dad opted to cling to the more positive aspects of THE YEAR 2000. Sadly this was based on images of cheesy post WW2 science fiction so that year represented the full fruition of every futuristic concept. For some reason, all baby boomers seemed to envision the future as a live action version of the Jetsons even though that cartoon was a cunning satire depicting a future where nothing important really changes. Sure you have a flying car and a robot maid but you still have a jerk for a boss and your hot wife has way too much time on her hands. You can bet Mrs. Jetson was getting her swerve on while George was at work getting his nuts handed to him by Spacely. Wilma cheated on Fred (possibly with Betty) and Blondie was definitely stepping out on Dagwood, the daughter is proof of that.
The point is that you should never marry somebody hotter than you deserve…no wait… it’s that our parents had a pretty silly perception of the future. By their logic we went from the Wright brothers crashing a glorified kite to jets in 50 years so having hover cars and teleporters in another 50 was reasonable. Man set foot on the moon in 1969…it all made sense. Hover cars for everyone.
So I grew up not knowing whether THE YEAR 2000 would bring instant death or hover cars, but it was going to be one of them. I never imagined that I’d be expected to get giddy over a phone that plays music. I thought that was what touchtone phones did. I really wanted the hover car but at that point my grandparents certainly seemed smarter than my Barry Manilow-loving parents (dad still raves about his talent and depth) so I banked on death, holding out hope that I would wake up on January 1st, THE YEAR 2000 to find a hover car parked outside waiting for me. Being the future, purchasing such a device would be unnecessary as the government would have no need for money. The Morlocks would do the dirty work and I would just have to avoid being eaten by them.
Imagine my disappointment. Sure, I’m alive but who wants to live in a world where cars still require contact with the road? That’s so 1910. I want my hover car and I want it now. Undoubtedly, a phone that takes pictures, plays music and surfs the internet is a dandy device but can you ride it? Hardly. Do you really think that you can placate an entire generation with a phone when we figured medical science would have unlocked our latent telepathic powers by now? We weren’t supposed to need phones after THE YEAR 2000. Just hover cars. And robot maids.