Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"It seems like once people grow up, they have no idea what's cool."

   I’ve been trying to figure out how to be (more?) hip and modern, and I know this isn’t going to shock anyone, but…I suck at it.
   For one thing, I know it’s super important to understand all of the new, of-the-moment social media outlets, and I understand that these sites and apps are important for branding, selling, marketing, networking, etc. I get that. But I can’t get over the idea that taking pictures of your day and posting them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are truly beyond narcissistic exercises. I’m sorry. I can’t get over it.
   Maybe it’s because most of the people I know (not all, but most) are taking pictures of their laundry and posting them on Instagram or mentioning on their Twitter feed how brilliant their toddler is. Maybe it’s that.
   Part of me is suspicious that I just feel super left out because I don’t understand any of the modern lingo. For instance, “meme.” I have no fucking clue in hell what a “meme” is.
   I looked it up on Wikepedia, and here’s the answer:
“A meme (/ˈmm/; meem)[1] is "an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.”
   Okay, I can accept that. But…what? What does it have to do with the Interwebs? Am I too stupid to understand it? What does it have to do with Keanu Reeves in that picture where he’s looking sad on a park bench? Is it only a meme because everyone sent it to everyone else when it happened? I’m so confused!
   And then there’s that word “wheelhouse” that everyone’s whipping out all the time now. I have figured out, through context, mind you, that this is a term for “something I’m good at.” As in, “Ceramics are totally my wheelhouse.” But I don’t understand why or how it came to mean that.
   And so I looked this up and OED had only the classical definitions for it, i.e. it said, “A house or structure containing a steering wheel.” THANK YOU. That’s what I thought. But then I found this article. This article made me feel better…and then it made me feel worse. On the one hand, I’ve got a handful of smarty-pants professionals that are just as confused as I am. On the other hand, why am I one of the too-old-to-get-it types? For crying out loud, how old am I? I’m all convinced I’m hip and young! Am I delusional?
This is terrible, even for me. I'll update it later. Maybe. But probably not.

   Alright, so I could go on and on about words and phrases like this (meta, hashtag, et al), and feel really, super butt-hurt about how un-cool I’ve become. But I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with myself on Saturday.
   See, on Saturday night I went to a bar in my parents’ neighborhood that used to be a hardware store when I was a kid. And then it was some sort of restaurant, and then it was another restaurant and now it’s a bar called Beer and Loathing. Cute. Get it? Get it? Cute.
   It was all wall-to-wall industrial carpet with random seats set up in corners to affect a sort of “booth” situation or two, and a horseshoe bar in the middle and lots of darts and lots of space and lots of 22-year-old clients. And I felt like I was at a frat house in college: the music was rap, the boys were young and wearing shorts and polo shirts, the girls were young and wearing really short skirts and bitching about the expense of the upcoming Justin Timberlake concert.
   It occurred to me in that terrible, terrible bar, that I felt exactly the same way I felt when I was 22: out of the loop, annoyed, anxious, and bored. I felt no animosity or fear regarding these people; after all, I’m nearly a decade older than they at this point. But I did feel like I could not have given any fewer shits about their lingo, garbage, problems or bullshit.
   Maybe that’s why I don’t get the current vernacular. There’s nothing sadder to me than seeing a group of people at a table in a restaurant or bar, every single last one of them on their cell phones, ignoring the shit out of each other. And these are the people who know what “meme” means and who can run social media circles around me. I’m not saying they’re bad kids or that they aren’t going to do things that change the world…I’m just not super envious of them anymore.
   So for now, I’m just going to devote my time to meming in my wheelhouse with all my pet hashtags, because I’m super meta.
*Bill Watterson...artist, cartoonist (Calvin and Hobbes creator). 

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