You know you're being insulted when anyone younger than you rolls their eyes and says those dreaded two words: "OK, Boomer." The quieter they say it, the more insulting it becomes. They don't take up a debate or present a passionate retort to whatever it is you just said. They simply reply with this of-the-moment phrase that essentially suggests "hey, you're old."
That was what I got a few weeks back, from not one but two daughters! I guess because I'm a Boomer (actually, I'm technically a Gen-Xer!), I'm not hip to the latest trends and Internet memes and had no idea what they were talking about.
We were having a discussion on the economy followed by my regular reminder that the music they listen to is shallow and sad. The only response I got? Yep, you guessed it. But what does the phrase even mean? Even more frustrating is that, as mentioned, I'm technically not even a Boomer!
But you know when you meet that friend who is clearly a Virgo but identifies more as a Pisces? That's me. I identify far more with Boomers than my own generational classification, so I've decided to slide myself into their category. (Hope you'll have me!) Boomers are the ones who created the infrastructure that destroyed the planet or, as the story goes, the generation that mortgaged the future. I, on the other hand, as a Gen-Xer, am of the generation that benefitted from what the Boomers created by pretending everything was just fine!
"Ok, Boomer" went viral in 2019 as a reaction to a TikTok video created by some old guy criticizing Millennials and Generation Zs for their utopian ideals and for never wanting to grow up. Sounds like a pretty strong argument, but "OK Boomer" was an even better response and pretty much shut down every opinion stemming from anyone that is old from now until the end of time.
When I asked my daughter to define what a Boomer is, asking for an actual definition, the response was "it doesn't matter, Dad, it's just a catchphrase to remind you that you're old and your opinions are outdated." OUCH! I think what is driving Boomers crazy about "OK Boomer" is that it was an absolutely perfect retort invented by Millennials: the generation that has been criticized for basically everything they do got the final punch! Sure, it's ageist, but who cares? Half the crap I say to my kids is outdated.
Indeed, you get to a certain age and you hang on to habits. Who knew that one of the ways to be defined as outdated and behind the times would be through an affection for the good old business card. Business cards have been around since the 15th century and started out being called a "visiting card" to announce an intention toward commerce. Throughout the 20th Century, business cards were a platform for prestige and your power was often measured by the size of your rolodex. I know what you're thinking... "OK Boomer!!"
When asking a Millennial about the role of business cards, the response was, "they make excellent toothpicks!" In an age of LinkedIn, texting and e-mailing, nothing shows your age like handing out a business card. "OK Boomer," says one pithy daughter, "go back to your vinyl records, newspapers, teller banking, and plastic water bottles. Leave the future to us."
On that note, it is kind of telling that this week, legacy car manufacturers Ford and GM announced their earnings reports. Ford barely broke even last year and gave a grim outlook for 2020, and yesterday, Ford shares dropped 9%. GM reported being plagued with labor disputes and a weak demand through 2019 and said that operating profit between October and December plunged 96%. Meanwhile, Tesla's stock for 2019 is up over 200% and the company's market valuation now surpasses $130 billion; more than Ford, GM, and Fiat-Chrysler combined. I wouldn't give up on Ford and GM just yet. "OK Boomer."
If you want to read more about Gen-X, the supposed "Forgotten Generation," check out Christine Persaud's piece from that perspective.