Thursday, September 30, 2010

Borrowed NYT Title: What Is It About 20-Somethings?

Much has been made of the twenty-somethings and what’s happening with this Gen-Y/millennial group.  It’s been said that we are entitled, narcissistic, worldly, jobless, educated, overqualified, and under-motivated.  We’re growing up later, putting off financial independence - and perhaps independence in general – living with mom and dad, traveling, and not marrying.  Sociologists have suggested a new growth stage, emerging adolescence, to be respected and recognized for today’s twenty-somethings.  The millennial generation is not the baby boomer generation.

I am a millennial and it was never more evident than in a recent DVD fiasco.

About one month ago I rented a movie, The Informant!  This is a boring movie and a waste of Matt Damon’s talent and your time.  Don’t bother.  The film is irrelevant to this generational tale.

I’d rented the movie on a Friday evening from Le Video on 9th Avenue and Lincoln.  I do not have a NetFlix account.  Post-watching, I wasn’t sure whether to return the DVD to its case or leave it in the player.  I awkwardly opened the DVD player, took out the DVD, then put it back into the what-I-assumed-to-be-functioning-player; a strange sequence, yes, but a safe holding place.  Or so I thought.

I drove Rose, my movie accompanying friend, home and thought nothing of the movie until Tuesday when I rented more movies.  I wanted to return The Informant! and pickup some better flicks.  But, The Informant! was nowhere to be found.  For the next six days – as the due date came and went – I searched high-and-low for that damn DVD.  It wasn’t even a good movie and because I rented it from a local and indie movie house, I was on the hook for an arm and a leg if I couldn’t find it.  I even resorted to passively accusing Rose of theft.  For that Rose, I apologize.

But seriously, where could that DVD have gone?  

Finally, in a flurry of desperation and as a half-joke, I grabbed a screwdriver, dramatically unplugged the DVD player and performed open player surgery.  With the parts and screws of the DVD player tossed about my living room, I slowly slid the top of the player off the device, fearful of what I might find.  Low and behold, pinned under an I-don’t-know-what, sat The Informant!  Son-of-a-bitch.

You might be thinking to yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with millenials or emerging adolescence?  It’s a god damn DVD Adam.  Get a grip.”  


NetFlix is the ultimate millennial tool.  It is Gen-Y.  It’s non-commital, cheap, internet based, completely personalized, and on-demand.  It’s created for us except one fatal flaw: a permanent address.  I do not have a NetFlix account because I’ve known the address of only one of seven places I have lived in over the last three years.  No complaints.  It’s just my path; but because of this path I have not been able to reap the sweet fruit of the NetFlix tree: streaming video, queues, prepaid postage, and no late fees. 

No late fees.

How much money in late fees have we transient millenials accumulated?  Likely upwards of one-gabillion dollars but I won’t venture to speculate.  It’s a lot.  But as any given one of us – millennial or otherwise – works to make his or her mark in this ginormous, beautiful, fucked-up, wonderful world, may we strive to find harmonious balance in a little red envelope.

So now, with a façade of stability and a permanent address I can call my own (I even have it memorized), I will be getting my own NetFlix account.  It’s exhilarating and terrifying, mind-blowing and simplistic.
Such is growing up.

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