As a teenager in the 1960's, I thought it was hilarious whenever grownups complained about how America was going to Hell in the fast lane, standards of common decency were being trashed, and popular trends were ridiculous. Their attitudes seemed inflexible and outdated, and I assumed when my peers became mature adults we would never engage in the same behavior and I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.
It turns out cranky old grownups now sound just like cranky old grownups did fifty years ago. I can't explain why this happened, but it's a huge opportunity for anyone in the 'silver' bracket who's fed up and wants to create a blog or newspaper column so everyone else will know about it (but don't use "Fed Up" as your title unless you want a complete set of Rick Perry's teeth marks in your rear end).
Welcome, I say, welcome to a whole new population of Mr. and Mrs. Crabby Pants! Don't worry if you start writing and suddenly think, "Gee, didn't I read something like this last week?" You probably did, and it DOES NOT MATTER. There are numerous topics that never seem to lose their complain-ability.
What follows are red meat examples of negative nits and picks about everyday life I've seen, heard or read in various media over and over during the past few decades. All aspiring curmudgeons are welcome to grab any that get your dander up and then shower them with your own personal blend of annoyance, sarcasm, and disdain. So here we go, once more around the barn with:
1. Did you hear what the government is spending our taxes on?
2. TV is a complete wasteland.
3. Can you believe the get-up kids are wearing these days? You can't tell the boys from the girls!
4. Neighbors didn't lock their doors when I was little.
5. Is it possible to order just a regular cup of coffee?
6. People don't know how to drive anymore.
7. Kids in school aren't learning anything.
8. College sports are way out of control.
9. Why do kids listen to that awful music? You can't even understand the words!
10. Parents are doing a lousy job.
11. Hollywood is run by a bunch of sex maniacs.
12. Teenagers think they know everything.
13. Voters don't have anyone to blame but themselves.
14. How did everything get to be so damn expensive?
See how easy it is? As you become more experienced with cranking out the gripes, your indignation should begin to erupt as reliably as Old Faithful.
A lot of young people reading this are probably laughing out loud, and that's absolutely fine. Been there, done that. I know what you're thinking, too -- "Thank goodness these crusty old gas bags won't be around forever."
No, we certainly won't. So laugh away, Generation Next, but just remember one little detail: someday all these complaints will be yours.
Follow Jeffrey Shaffer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShafferJeffrey