High School, Facebook, the ME Generation

I recently had an opportunity to witness why my generation growing up in the late 60s and 70s is known as the ME Generation. Over 40 years later this group continues to demonstrate their slobbering, self indulgent, self absorbed, love affair with… themselves. It has always been about and turns out continues to be about them.

You won’t hear me complaining. Maybe I’m an exception, but I feel very fortunate for everything that was provided to me and all the opportunities I had growing up “privileged” in a middle to upper middle class Midwest suburb. Our high school even had the only indoor swimming pool I had ever seen back in 1971 and maybe the only one in that part of the state. How many of you had a high school with an indoor swimming pool?

But you would not think that from reading a recent Facebook thread on one of my high school’s Facebook pages. Blame and recrimination of parents, “the system”, even well intentioned school counselors is all one sees from these now sixty something baby boomers (emphasis on Baby). Here are some examples:

Sally (these are not their real names)
“I was just in (name of city) for a few days (tying up loose ends of my Dad’s estate, holy cow….) … I have endless regret (which is stupidly fruitless, of course) that I didn’t engage more in high school, but I was a cesspool of fears, social anxiety, and was utterly preoccupied with a home life that was, well, dysfunctional in the extreme. … Substance abuse and mental illness were taboo topics then. The big family secrets. We move on now of course, because the present is all we have. But I’ve always wondered, having felt so isolated back then in ’67, who else out there might feel that events at home hung over their days at X High School? Does anyone else feel their school days were shadowed by sh*t at home?”

Keep in mind, Sally is someone who had comparatively limitless opportunities in those days compared to most others in the world. Someone living in the top 2% of society in the US, perhaps the world, and rather than maturing to understand that she wasted that opportunity all on her own, here she is ruing that her dysfunctional family is what held her back.

In reality, while in high school, Sally and the rest of her now complaining Facebook friends were immersed in a near limitless sea of mostly well meaning parents, teachers, friends, money, and opportunities like no one had ever lived before back in the late 60s early 70s. By their own admission, they withdrew from that, but apparently continue to blame others for their lack of initiative and motivation.

I have friends from school whose parents were alcoholics and worse. But my friends didn’t withdraw. Instead, these people with spine and gumption decided that, “I’m getting out of here as fast as I can and I’m doing it by taking all I can from these opportunities presented to me and go get a good education that leads to a good job”. Notice Sally omits any details of exactly what was more “dysfunctional” about her family than any other (like we don’t all have our issues) as she merely alludes to mental illness and substance abuse. But hey, after all these years, at least her dad had an estate, and what do you want to bet Sally has already cashed the checks from it too?

Emily Vu (that is her real name)
Compare Sally to say, Emily Vu, a Vietnam refugee who now runs her own accounting firm in the US, whose family was probably being bombed by napalm paid for by Sally’s family’s income taxes back in the 70s while Sally sulked in her Midwest Camelot. The primary difference between Emily and Sally is that Emily didn’t waste time and energy blaming others for her plight, like Sally does. Instead, she took whatever opportunities presented themselves (immigration to the US probably to a ghetto) and made the most of them.

And then someone (I’ll call him Dave) had the nerve to suggest in a post to these self indulgent Facebook blamers, that, “I enjoyed myself immensely, have no regrets and always loved living my life. To the complainers and pessimists? Go get one.” Dave obviously feels that it is UP TO YOU, not everyone else, how you live your life. Dave makes life happen, Sally and her friends have let life happen to them.

And I love this next part because it is so predictable. We all know from experience what happens when someone with a different view has the audacity to even mention it to any liberal progressives like Sally and her pals.

Yep, Sally et al start name calling.

And did they ever. It started with (I’ll call her Becky) who had this deep sentiment, “My sister and I definitely had some strange home lives but we got thru that and high school also- thank God. And yes, I’m sure we thought everyone else had Ozzie and Harriet families and (as) for Dave- glad your life has been rosy but go fxxx yourself

Of course Sis agreed with Becky, praising that her sister, “gets to the heart of things.”

Oh pulleezze!

And then this from “Mike” another slobbering blamer, “Not that I disagree with your last sentiment, Becky, but someone who would say what (Dave) did is likely to be as screwed up as all of the rest of us combined. Don’t you think? … you and I and most people on this thread are more advanced in our understanding than this guy is. He could stand to see a therapist.”

I’m not making this up, these are direct quotes from this Facebook thread. It is all there in black and white. If Dave does not agree with me then he can go F himself and on top of that he “must” be crazy. Name calling and demonizing, the pillars of liberal progressive blame theology; that, and treatment of any and all self defined mental issues with chemicals as Becky opines, ”Here we are as adults still trying to find someone who might understand what dysfunctional families and life as a teen was like and this guy comes along to tell us to get a life. He needs better meds…or maybe we need his!”

Remember, these people are in their sixties, and this is over FOURTY years later. And Becky still wants someone to understand that, “they did this to me, it’s not my fault.” I’m certain, Becky had nothing to do with any of the bad stuff that ever happened in her life, only the good stuff.

And there you have it folks. Fourty years after frittering away a childhood of economic and social privilege compared to most of America and certainly compared to the rest of the world at that time, the ME generation has not changed one bit. They may have even gotten worse in their old age as time allows them to recall only what suits their purpose; to blame others, and to NEVER take responsibility for their own situation unless it suits them.

There were over 80 something posts in this Facebook thread (so far). Time on their hands? Well, they still don’t seem to be working too hard, eh? Now they can waste their time blaming everyone else for their failures on Facebook, the world’s foremost outlet to find out just how self absorbed most people in the world happen to be.


4 Responses

  1. Good article Howard.

  2. Well… I didn’t live a privileged life in the suburbs of Chicago. We were poor, 9 people in a 3 bedroom home (about 1100 sq ft), 1 bathroom, living room and kitchen. My mom made the girls clothes out of bolts of fabric she could find on sale at Ben Franklin – we all had the same outfits. We had powered milk and soy was added to our hamburger to “stretch it”. Mac & Cheese was a staple, as well as oatmeal and puffed rice. And you know what, I didn’t even know we were poor. Maybe I was fortunate that neither of my parents indulged in drink, but they didn’t really have time for it – dad worked 2 (sometimes 3) jobs and mom worked 2nd shift. And… the neighborhood kids and most of our friends hung at our house – why? – they had an alcoholic parent and/or family dysfunction. My PARENTS drew them in with LOVE. It’s not that our family didn’t have problems, but we were taught to appreciate what we had and that we COULD BE whatever we set our minds to. My mother suffered from mental illness before my next older brother was born. We all ENDURED the pain of suicide, when the second oldest hung himself in our garage on my 10th birthday… great memories. But you know what – I have taken more of the good memories with me than the bad. Our first vacation, in our woody station wagon, all 9 of us… and that is also where we slept. The piece of property my dad saved for to buy my mother for Mother’s Day in 1969 at Lake Summerset out near Freeport/Rockford. The AWESOME memories that were made there, not only my memories, but our friends, my kids and their kids as well. Cheap entertainment and lots of camping!! I posted this to all my boys Facebook pages just a few weeks ago…

    Everything you do is based on the choices you make.
    It’s not your parents, your past relationships, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame.
    You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make.

    Ain’t that the truth…

    Excellent Article Howard.

  3. Now these ME generation people are RUNNING (ruining) the country. A lot of them left home and ran off to San Francisco and never left there, thus we have “San Francisco Politics” taking over the country.

    By the way Mary, you left out the fish sticks and pot pies.

    • You are correct on the fish sticks, especially during Lent. Usually Mom made dinner for her troops before she left for work so we didn’t have many “single serving” items. …

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