In thirty years, more or less, we will be the age our parents are now. We will have children. These bundles of joy will be the age we are now. We will rely on them to tell us the truth, no matter how painful, just as our parents rely on us.
You are old, they will tell us. Thank you, we will say. You are stupid, they will tell us. Thank you, we will say. Everything you hold dear is worthless, everything you think important is trivial, everything you remember is forgotten, they will tell us. Shut up, shut up, shut up, we will say. But deep in our hearts we will know they are right.
Fact: no one will play with our toys. Our children will scorn slap bracelets and turn their noses up at Trapper Keepers. Cabbage Patch Kids and My Little Pony dolls will be viewed with condescension, Transformers and He-Man action figures with contempt. Gameboys will line our nation's landfills, and not near the top of the heap. No supplies will be swapped, no wagons will be caulked and no snake bites will be healed on "The Oregon Trail."
Fact: no one will enjoy our entertainment. "Seinfeld" will resonate with future generations about as much as "The Honeymooners" hits home with us. "The Simpsons" will be as cutting as "The Howdy Doody Show." Stephen King and Anne Rice will bore those who find them at second-hand sales. John Grisham and Danielle Steel will be unknown and unread. Britney Spears will be facing menopause, Ricky Martin will be balding, Julia Roberts will be collecting social security and Jack Nicholson will be dead.
Fact: no one will root for our sports teams. The clubs will move, change names, move, change names and move again. The stadiums will close to make way for parking lots, theme restaurants and parking lots for theme restaurants. The stars will retire and bigger, stronger and faster stars will take their place. Pedro Martinez will struggle to strike out Little Leaguers, Brett Favre will hobble instead of huddle and Michael Jordan will be lucky to dunk on a garbage can. The average professional athlete will be half our age. We will not recognize the face on the Wheaties box.
Fact: no one will care about our current events. There will be no debate about gun control because both criminals and law enforcement officers will use missile launchers. There will be no media complaints about company mergers because one company will own all media. There will be no outcry over teaching evolution in public schools because there will be no public schools. Our kids will discuss the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton with all the interest and enthusiasm with which we discuss the presidency of William Howard Taft.
Fact: no one will be impressed with our technology. We will have corrected faulty eyesight by wearing magnifying lenses made of glass or plastic. We will have traveled by burning a petroleum by-product called gasoline. We will have produced children by having sexual intercourse. Ours, we will be told, was a primitive era. How can we expect to be taken seriously, we will be asked, when our high school physics class did not even teach string theory?
As with the losing side in any war, we will resist the truth as long as we can. We will listen to Cyndi Lauper and Dr. Dre on the golden oldies station. We will collect mint-condition "Now-And-Later" labels at area auctions and wonder whatever happened to Mr. T. We will bemoan an age in which people no longer take the time to e-mail.
Our day is not past, we will say to our children. We are vital, productive members of society. We are not done yet. We are important still.
You are irrelevant, they will tell us. You are useless, parasitic hangers-on. You are finished. You were born in the twentieth century.
And then they will walk away.
Jeremy N. Smith '00 is a history and literature concentrator in Pforzheimer House. His column appears on alternate Fridays.