If you were born between 1960 and 1980, you are one of 84 million Americans loosely labeled, “Generation X.” I was born in 1971. I grew up with MTV, a tolerance for other races and sexual orientations and a lack of faith in the establishment. All of these ideas are represented in the video for "Cult of Personality" by Living Color—a black heavy metal band singing about abuse of power. I don’t know if anyone in the band is gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that (Seinfeld; another Gen X reference). I was in college when alternative music evolved into mainstream music. I had Bleach before Nirvana was cool and I ditched The Smashing Pumpkins before they lost theirs (Siamese Dream is the last great Pumpkins record). I saw myself in Singles and I identified with the dark, self-deprecating humor of Clerks.
I turn 43 in 2014. The millions of Americans that can remember when MTV was truly music television are part of Generation X and we’re all heading into middle age. I’ll spare you the details of my hypochondria. According to a WebMD symptom search I have 1,467 diseases. I’m going through both puberty and menopause right now. I’m trying to wean myself from the nostalgic thoughts of attending Monsters of Rock in 1988 and my Facebook searches for members of the class of 1989. Something frightening and profound is happening inside of my head and it’s scarier than any monster I can create in a horror novel. I keep asking myself one question: Why?
Whether it takes us forty years or a zombie apocalypse, we all have to eventually grapple with that question. When you find the answer, would you let me know?