I saw a kid with a T-shirt that said “Ok Boomer,” and it wasn’t printed just once, but ten times over. I’m a boomer watcher. I’ve written about them, criticized them, and defended them. In the interests of full disclosure, let me admit that I am a boomer, and sometimes I wish I weren’t.
I decided to ask what “Ok Boomer” means, and I got a blunt reply. It’s what someone under twenty-five is thinking when “some old boomer drops their ignorant shit on you.” My first instinct was defensive. I imagined getting a T-shirt printed as a retort.
Have it your way!
Fortunately good sense got the better of me, and I immediately realized my mistake. Generation Z looks way better in t-shirts than boomers do. It isn’t an even playing field.
My unidentified source for the meaning of “Ok Boomer” was happy to fill me in on the background of the expression. Apparently it’s a “dank meme.” I thought I got what that meant. The internet has been around long enough that even old folks know what memes are. But dank? Really? In my day dank was what hippies called home grown marijuana that was put into a baggie before it had been thoroughly dried.
Oops. I just did it again. Who cares what dank meant in our day. That “dank” is already fifty years out of date. Dank is like bad. Sometimes bad means good. And sometimes…well enough already. The point is that Zoomers are fed up with us.
Zoomers have heard enough of our tales about how things used to be. They aren’t interested in hearing about what life was like when we were young. Managing life the way it is now is more than enough for them to deal with.
There’s another good reason to hesitate before getting the t-shirts printed. Zoomers have a point. The world we’ve handed over to them isn’t exactly a nifty one. They have a lot of cleaning up to do, and they’re cleaning up after us. We’ve let them down, and they’re letting us know.
I might not feel comfortable saying this to a Zoomer, but I want to remind my fellow boomers that we weren’t the most respectful generation of young adults back in the 1960’s when we were going to set the world straight.
Remember our memes, like “never trust anyone over thirty.” We were proud when we marched in protests, and we felt good when we chanted “the whole world is watching” while police were bashing heads and stuffing our handcuffed friends into paddy wagons. We thought the generations before us had held progress back, and we thought we were pushing the evolution of the human race forward. What’s more, we were confident that future generations would thank us for ushering in the age of Aquarius when all would be peace and love.
What have the Zoomers got to complain about? Growing national debt, unmanageable educational loans, a conundrum of health insurance, continuous war, an environment groaning under the stresses of our excesses, and growing distrust of elected officials?
Ok Zoomer. Maybe “Ok Boomer” does sum it up.