Generation Alpha will save the world

This article first appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun

‘Stop being a pathetic little victim. That’s so Gen X of you!’ my wife yelled.

‘What the what?’ I replied.

She explained that Generation X is a term made popular by Canadian author Douglas Coupland, to describe those born roughly between 1965 and 1979.

I told her I knew that, she wondered if I already knew why did I ask, so I told her I was going out.

‘Running away. So typically Gen-X,’ she said.

According to her, Gen-X are angry at the Baby Boomers for hoarding all the wealth, making them the first generation to have less than their parents. Gen X face such big problems, she told me, that their main defense is to blame others and run away to tinker on websites nobody visits.

Which stung, because it’s true, but I still heartily rejected all the labels she threw at me, which was apparently also so Gen-X.

Two weeks later, after I finished silently seething and researching this opinion piece, I shot back that as a member of Gen-Y, she was lazy and narcissistic. She replied that Gen-Y are the most educated, technologically savvy, and socially involved generation ever.

‘How narcissistic of you to think so,’ I replied.

We both agreed it was all still the Baby Boomers fault, who are so mean and selfish because of the emotionally scarring caused by the the negligent and abusive parenting practices of the Silent Generation, who themselves were psychologically wrecked by World War II.

Meaning things wouldn’t be better until the Baby Boomers were out of the way, so it was all up to Gen-Z, born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s. As they have grown up during the Great Recession and a world full of crippling debt, however, they are likely to be so risk adverse that they won’t achieve much of anything, apart from always making their interest payments on time.

Leaving the everyone saving to the recently coined Generation Alpha, who are predicted to be the largest, healthiest, most educated, wealthy, technology savvy and culturally diverse generation ever.

It’s ‘alpha’ instead of ‘a’ since someone in marketing decided to switch over the Greek alphabet because it’s cooler and dead, but I still think nothing’s cooler than the, ‘Silent Generation’ as they sound like assassins.

I tried explaining to my wife that all this generation talk is all marketing talk to package us up and sell us more stuff, and that the definitions are a lot like star signs. Most of the traits of every generation apply to everyone still alive, and since humans are social creatures that like being part of any group, and anything that makes sense of the unknowable madness called existence, we are quick to identify.

Are you educated, in debt, technologically savvy, and healthier than the humans who’ve come before you? Yes? Well, welcome to generation everything.

There is another trick I’ve noticed with the generations. As they age, the definition shifts from positive to negative. The baby boomers were going to change the world, but now we blame them for breaking it. Generation X had high hopes, but never got a chance, and Gen-Y are apparently all socially active and whatnot, but their chance seems to be slipping away as well. All hope is therefore lumped onto Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha, until they become disappointing parents themselves, and can shift the responsibility for fixing what’s left of civilization onto Generation Gamma.

I shared all this my wife, and she nodded and said, ‘So defeatist. Typical Gen-X.’

This article first appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

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