I’m ranting. Today I ran across an article from 2018 by a prominent newspaper. We’ll call them “ooh ess ehhhe schmooday.” It was about someone called an Xennial, 1978 to 1983 I believe. I was born in 1980.
What the fuck? What an awful word. Whoever came up with such a stupid shit word needs to be drug out into the street and shot!
(Not literally, figure of speech.)
Seriously? That’s what they’re calling us? The Xennials? The generation caught between X and Millennial? We built the FUCKING INTERNET, ALL the tech you use today, and you’re calling us a FUCKED UP name like that?!?!
Nope! Oh no no no no no. Sorry. We identify as The Oregon Trail Generation and nothing else!
We set out on an uncharted journey, paving the way for the rest of y’all. So we always have, always will, be part of the Oregon Trail generation. (I have been calling myself that most of my life and every single friend and acquaintance from my age group completely agrees.) USA schmooday (oops spilled that one…) writers/publishers are morons if they think we’re going down without a fight over a word like Xennial. We will fight you forever over this one. That’s eternity in case you were wondering.
[To be clear, I’m not accusing USA Today for starting this label, but I am blaming them for poor reporting. Why would they ask actual people born during that time what they think? That’s silly. Do. Your. Research. Before. You. Speak.]
What’s so special about us?
We knew a time growing up when there was no internet and a time when there was internet – as kids! We were logging on as kids, teaching our parents how these new fangled computers worked. Now that we’re adults, because we had both, we can easily put down our devices and not feel overwhelmed with anxiety that our IG and TikTok accounts are blowing up because we haven’t posted in a while, we know the bliss of not having a device or access. However, yes, we actually do have IG and TikTok and know how to use them. We also stream Spotify, but also have that antiquated iPod some Gen Xers still use (I can’t believe that thing still works!). And we also set our alarms on our phones (I know, crazy right?) like the Millennials. Got rid of that piece of shit desk clock a long time ago, come on Gen X get with it. We need room on our night stands for our Fitbit chargers!
WHAT?!?! Yup, we use Fitbits, not Apple Watches. The battery lasts a whole fucking week! Why wouldn’t everyone want that? And guess what? IT TELLS TIME AND KEEPS US FIT! We don’t need anything else. It looks much sleeker on our wrist.
The Apple Watch is such a waste of a product and a disappointment. Who wants to look at such a tiny screen to play a stupid game? With your finger. … And by the way, we think you look like a dork walking around holding your rounded Apple Watch up to your face to talk to it. You look so dumb. LOL. That device is an ugly monstrosity bulging out from your arm. It’s so not cool. Never was. Sorry to disappoint you. You’re not 007 and it doesn’t shoot killer laser beams or produce massive EMPs that short out surrounding electronics. (Though I will admit, it does a great job short circuiting your brain to make you think you’re cool, hehehe.)
We don’t ever feel glued to our devices, but we use voice activated Siri or Hey Google all the time! We wrote reports on typewriters and on computers, before typewriters were a trendy internet disconnect. Oh and we had to learn handwriting (cursive) AND typing.
We’re now a generation that is teaching our kids how to use, but also step away from technology periodically. It’s important for our mental health and we know our kids need to understand that as they grow older too. [Hello! Shout out to Gen Z, our kids! You have the coolest parents and we know it. We brought you battle bots! Amiright?]
Oh, aaaand we also know WordPress, really really well, unlike most hack “wordpress developers”. And all the other web tools and CSS/SASS. And both front-end and back-end frameworks. And app platforms. And all the software languages. And databases. And hardware. Damn.
We know how to maintain our freedom of speech online using our own tools without dumping posts into social media where they might be censored by the powers that be. We embrace emojis, but we’re total experts at 1337 speak. We invented it, duh. We were the first group of kids to be chatting over a modem connection and didn’t want our parents to know what we were saying. We totally get BBSes, IRC, iMessage and Signal. We just saw you think, “Huh? What’s IRC?” Then watched and laughed as you googled it. We also seem to be the only generation aware of Ad-Block. (I can’t count how many older and younger users I encounter that either have no idea it exists or are too lazy to enable it. Not everyone, but a lot.) We can’t stand ads. Why do you think we got rid of TV, VHS, DVDs, Bluray (which force you to watch ads) and instead we built Netflix?
So it turns out… we know all these technologies better than anyone else! Are you surprised by that? As kids we had unlimited time to learn it and then build it. World wide web? Dark web? Encryption? Digital currency? NFT? No, that’s not the same as or in any way related to NFC. This is all a piece of cake. A walk in the park. We got all of it from day one. I’ve only ever seen us just naturally “get” computer technology. You might get aspects of it, but we actually get and understand all of it.
We took all the concepts that were envisioned by Gen X (and some boomers) and ran with it! And we’re still running it to this day. We know every inch, every nook, every cranny, of every tech system, ever built, and we know it better than anyone before or after us. Mac, Windows, Unix, Linux, WIFI, IoT all of it.
We have older and younger customers that constantly come to us for answers:
“I just don’t get why I can’t get the thing to work?!?!”
“Well, we can make it work. What’s wrong with you? Stop whining,” we think. Why can we do it? Oh right. We built all of it! The entire foundation. Which none of the rest of you dumb asses knows how it actually operates because god forbid you spend time to actually learn how we took those concepts and brought them to the world. You all just seem to want to use our stuff and abuse us for our knowledge. We watch the younger of you try to build on top of our work, and we can see you have no idea how to write efficient code, and you wonder why your shit’s always broken. We have to constantly swoop in and fix it.
Anyone who calls me by that horrendous word, Xennial, I want to punch in the face. But I’ll politely look away and say, “Well that’s not me, I don’t know who that is, I’m the Oregon Trail generation.” We laid the groundwork for today’s technologies and I’m standing by that. We forged ahead to an unknown, undiscovered country. We know computer systems better than anyone because we were in the trenches, in the dark days before this really cool shit really came together.
That’s right fuckers! And when we’re gone, y’all’re screwed!
You better start appreciating us more, because we’re tired of being stuck in the middle of your stupid generational arguments between you two.
Such a small, unique, window of time. We’re the real deal. The ultra elite experts you crave, and we’re not cheap. We absolutely know our value that we bring to the table. And if you’re not going to pay? You wonder why your shit never works. We have no sympathy for you. We earned our place.
So my request to all of you, long after we’re gone? Don’t put us in the Webster dictionary as Xennial. Please just call us like we want. We’re the Oregon Trail generation. We sought out new land and got us all to the destination without getting dysentery, despite your kicking and screaming the whole fucking way.
You’re welcome. The Oregon Trail Generation.
P.S. You actually have to copy and paste the URL! I’m not giving you a fucking share button.
P.P.S. If this somehow goes viral (which I doubt it will) and manages to bring down my web server, I won’t lose any sleep over it. I’m happy to unplug for a while. I stopped stressing out about technologies being down a long time ago. It just means I can step outside and soak up the sun for a while.