FIRST, I would like to apologize to anyone subscribing to this site in an RSS feed, because I'm sure it looks like I'm losing my shit live on the internet, and I'm not. I get really frustrated with the inability to add footnotes to my posts, so I've made an attempt at hyperlinking them. I'm sure I've done a shoddy job of it, but it was an experiment so I'm okay with shoddy. Besides, it's taken up more than enough of my feeble brain just to keep track of this stuff...
So I’ve been gone for some time. I apologize, which I believe I’ve done in my last four-dozen posts. Things are improved since my last frantic, since deleted post. Instead of working 3 no-pay jobs, I’m getting paid for 2 of my 5 jobs. Closed from the ranks of unemployed I now find myself simply underemployed, affording my time enough to post again. Not that I’ve been quiet. Between twitter and the awesome, rotting husk of google buzz, I remain pretty active online. But still, this is my pet, and I have neglected her. My writing muscles dry and atrophy. I could fill out a job application blindfolded and spinning, but I doubt I could give you more than a few pages worth of an idea before giving up or getting distracted by something else. I’ve removed myself from equipment, communications, and occupation to sit down and work up some sort of transmission from my brain. This sounds refreshing when I type it out, but as I type this up in a work processor I’m still sitting on an uncomfortable couch that reeks of BO farts in a coffee shop. So instead of whining I will start. Recent ideas I’ve had for posts (that were never written) include the dark side of Springsteen hits, my thoughts on the Keith Richards biography*, the really fucked up book that many of us read in elementary or middle school, my time at Kanye West’s Tweet Academy, and recent book reviews*. But none of those things are on the docket for the day. Today I’m thinking about…
I’m pretty much hooked on pretzel M&Ms. They’re amazing. I’ve never really liked the original M&Ms. I’d usually go for a Reese’s Pieces if I was looking in that neighborhood of the candy world. But the peanut M&M is on to something. The almond M&M was also a short-lived blessing. But the pretzel M&M is a pretty much perfect candy. Note: Wikipedia tells me that they’re bringing back the crispy M&M in 2011. BOSS.
But this is not the point. I’ve been thinking about just how unique my (and quite probably your) specific generation’s lot in life is in just about every possible way. And generation is a stupid word, used frequently enough out of convenience and generality, but then that’s probably what this is, so why not use it, right?
Generations in this country have typically been defined by wars, or the results of them. Vietnam was a new type of war, and look how that jilted society at the time. Now, we’ve got 2 wars going on and half of us couldn’t give a shit because things are getting scary enough here. What does that say about us and our mindset?
And what about the internet? Surely that will define us in some way. Especially since my specific age group is the last in America who didn’t have the internet until they were adults. 15 years later and it has changed pretty much the way most of us do everything. I work sometimes with 19 year-old kids who have no idea what it’s like to use a phone book or a card catalog or hand write notes. or Blow the dust out of a Nintendo cartridge or use a pen to spool tape back into a cassette after it was eaten?. Remember when identity theft seemed like some exotic crime reserved for episodes of Knight Rider?
And it’s not just the conceptual aspect of how much this technology has permeated our lives, but the physical as well. Think about the difference between the amount of time the average person spent sitting in front of a computer screen has increased in the past 20 years. Or how much better the average typing speed has gotten? Our bodies are probably already physically adapting to this type of lifestyle. The children born today will already be nudged evolutionarily in a direction more suited to this. Such is life.**
But what aside from wars or technology define us? That pretty much feels like everything, and not in a slight sense, either. I mean everything***. Still, though, there’s stuff like child predators and peanut, which have always existed to an extent but not like they do today. The death lurch of rotary phones. Red M&Ms.
You thought I forgot about the M&M thing, didn’t you? Well SHUT UP I did not. Just a little sidetracked is all.
They didn’t make Red M&Ms when I was a kid. There was some sort of cancer scare over a red dye used in many foods at the time (but interestingly not in M&Ms****). It never bothered anyone that they were gone, apparently, or that the same dye in question continued to be an ingredient for virtually every other candy in America, it was just a fact of life.*****
Sometime in high school or something they came back, and I remember being excited about it, like it was something we’d been waiting for our whole lives. Which in my case was. But the crazy thing is that I just learned very recently that they were only outlawed in 1976. For some reason I thought like only people that were 100 years old remembered red M&Ms. But now, it was very specific to an eleven year period. I feel like they came back when I was late in high school, but it looks like they were back before I even entered middle school. A short window probably to anyone not in the throes of adolescence at the time.
Also, don’t forget that there used to be tan M&Ms. Has anyone EVER requested tan food?
As I said, generations are bullshit. The Berlin Wall or the Challenger explosion doesn’t define who I am any more than it does my parents. 9/11 changed life for every single American, not just people in their early 20s. I doubt that June 6, 2001****** is the BC/AD moment for many other people. These moments are define us just as much as we define them. The Tiger Woods thing from a couple of years ago probably had as much impact on some people as Altamont had on others. So why not center who I am with the absence of red M&Ms from the American marketplace? As a child in that time, this had enough of an impact on me*******. As a fan of cheap candy, it continues to. And who better than to throw my lot in with than the cheap candy fans?