Sunday, January 27, 2013

Small Change

When I joined the workforce at the age of 12, there were only three generations: children, grownups and old people. Generation X, Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generation Y; today there are so many subsets that I suspect to the survey-addicted, people are no more than boxes to be checked and accounted for, but not realistically relevant.

In the beginning I worked for change. I still do, but rather than in my pocket I want change in the world I am part of. It was enough to know that I was working toward two goals. One was to earn money to support those things parents either couldn’t or shouldn’t pay for, like hobbies and movies and such. The other was to put money away for college or to buy a car or to takes young ladies on “dates.” Looking at this paragraph I see several things that are anachronistic, at least if what I read in the papers is accurate. That seems to include dating, as opposed to “hooking up.”

Now there are so many sub-divisions of social status that it would seem irrelevant to even have birthdays, which in my youth were part of the definition of category. You were a child until you went to work, a grown-up when you had a full-time job, and old when you were . . . well, when you were “old.” One of the first steps to adulthood was getting a social security number. You didn’t get that until you had your first job (mowing lawns didn’t count). Today I understand that the Social Security number comes with the birth certificate, so I guess even infants can get jobs if their parents want them to. I hope not.

It was clear to me, and to my generational cohort (to give us a more scientific designation), who was in charge, who had survived long enough to be listened to, and who was still learning how to  change the world (date to be determined).

I was a child, then a grown-up, and now (if you ask), I’m happy to tell you the changes you need to make.

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