Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

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Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #106
October 28, 2005
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The iGeneration

"Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together darlin'
Join the human race." (John Lennon)

I read the news today, oh boy! This morning my RSS Newsreader was pumped with thousands of new "feeds" overnight and I have them all. I quickly scan them, jammin' to my I-Pod while my instant oatmeal breakfast radiates for 30 seconds in the microwave. Yum. After I "feeds" myself I'll check the stock market feeds - then drive to the gym. I hope my GPS is working today. My sense of direction is poor. They were supposed to fix it yesterday (my GPS not my sense of direction). For the third time. I'm glad I downloaded some podcasts earlier. Now I can listen to them while working out. I wouldn't want to miss anything. Or let my muscles sag. Gotta look good! Later today, I have to collaborate with my co-workers using some wikis. I hope we get more done than yesterday.

If you don't have a clue what the above paragraph means except for the words "oatmeal" and "microwave' then you're not part of the iGeneration. Unlike the "me" in "Me-Generation", the "I" in the "iGeneration" isn't a pronoun. It stands for "instant". As in "instant coffee", "instant breakfast", "instant gratification" and the like.

Sometimes I really think people only do some things because they can. Sort of the same as "being cool". The world caters to a brash new generation who wants what they want, when they want it, wherever they want it, wherever they want it...instantly. The words "anticipation" and "wait" have no meaning to this capricious and oh! so cool! crowd.

Maybe "instant" is good. But sometimes "the wait" can be fun. To those of us who grew up pre-microwave, we can remember JiffyPop. It was certainly fun to watch that aluminum foil bag puff up as the popcorn popped. But, instant? Hardly. It seems like you had to shake that JiffyPop pan forever before the first kernels could be nudged to pop. Still, the anticipation of big handfuls of salty, JiffyPop was something to be savored almost as much as the popcorn itself.

And what about Christmas? When we were kids we actually had to wait until a couple weeks before Christmas to hear Christmas songs - songs that we hadn't heard in a year. We'd wait with anticipation as some local pseudo-celebrity flipped the switch on the downtown Christmas lights - while the local high school band labored through its rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". It was a special day - one our family awaited with much (though looking back, pathetic) anticipation.

These days, Halloween hasn't even arrived yet before stores start decorating for Christmas. And, Christmas music is playing in stores well before Thanksgiving. In these modern times Christmas decorations and lights are lit well more than a month before Christmas - that is if the city or town is even allowed to display them anymore. We wouldn't want to offend the atheists now, would we? By the time Christmas gets here, those beautiful Christmas songs are getting old and the Christmas lights and decorations have been up so long we don't even notice them. Well, that's what I call iChristmas. Instant Christmas comes in October. What's wrong with waiting for some things anyway. What ever happened to waiting and anticipation being part of the fun?

But, alas, we live in the iWorld now. A world of Blogs, RSS, iPods, Podcasts, iPhones, Wikis, and other things I probably don't even know about yet - all impinging on our right to anticipation and waiting. Wait! You're thinking: "Well, no one wants to wait, do they?" I can hear those wheels turning in your head. And, I agree with you that no one wants to wait for things like getting in to see the doctor or dentist or to get an income tax refund check. But that's not the kind of waiting I'm talking about.

Doctors and dentists are trained in expensive medical and dental colleges and their curriculum includes all kinds of courses entitled "The Art Of Making Patients Wait 101, 102, 201, 202, 301, 302, 401, 402". It's something that doctors and dentists are very skillful at doing - making you wait. They've been trained well. But, this is not a "natural wait" though. We shouldn't have to wait if we have appendicitis or if we have a tooth about ready to explode and our cheek is swollen to the size of a large muskmelon. But we do have to wait and this is not the "good waiting" I'm talking about - and it's certainly not pleasant anticipation. It's just plain-old bad waiting and stressful anticipation. I agree with you because I'm not crazy! This kind of waiting is unpleasant and that's not the kind of waiting this rant is about. Shame on those medical schools and dental schools for spending so much time training our future doctors and dentists how to make us wait!

Digressing - 

The iGeneration won't wait for ANYthing. They want their entire world "podicized" for convenience. If they have to walk somewhere they have iPod earphones sticking out of their ears;  as if walking without it is somehow unthinkable. Maybe for them - but I can do without Eminem telling me how rotten and sadistic my family is. I can can certainly live my life just fine without rapping to 2KewlDog who tells me, in great graphic detail, how to loot my neighborhood - all to the primordial rhythm of washboards being thumped seemingly by a group of pre-school children. Why can't we walk without things sticking in our ears? Are these people afraid to hear the sounds of the leaves rustling in the trees? Or maybe the song of a bird? Or, the gentle whisper of the wind? But God doesn't make iWind or iBirds, or iLeaves. And I thank Him for that!

The iGeneration wants it NOW! They grew up with microwaves, cell phones, iPods, guns in school, SnoopDog, fast food, DVR, DVD, TIVO, Digital Cable TV, what's-her-name - ah yes, Brittney Spears, movies-on-demand, food-on-demand and other forms of iGratification. How will those in the iGeneration ever be able to stand waiting a whole nine months for a baby (this is assuming they do get married and decide to have children)? I wonder what they'll do when they realize they can't download a baby? How ill prepared the iGeneration will be for this kind of wait.

I can just see a newly married couple (iWedding of course) looking for the Baby-On-Demand plug-in for their iPod. Can you imagine their dismay when they can't find one? You'd better believe that somewhere out there, some scientist is looking for a way to make "Babies-On-Demand" available. Maybe, a game company will make a virtual-world video game where one can live an entire iLife in a half-an-hour - complete with college-degree-on-demand, high-paying, low-work, jobs-on-demand, babies-on-demand, old-age-on-demand, death-on-demand - Don't like your life? "Game Over" Press "Start" to begin a new life.

Personally, I prefer the joy and anticipation that waiting provides. Does anyone remember the smell of a homemade apple pie baking in the oven and waiting for what seemed to be an eternity to sink your teeth into that fattening clump of delicious apples, cinnamon and crust?  Oh yes, put some ice cream on it too! Mom didn't have iPies. She had to roll out the crust, prepare the apples, wait for the over to heat up, wait for the pie to bake, and wait for the pie to cool. But, it seems it was well worth the wait.

I'm not even close to being a member of the iGeneration. I'm just not "kewl". But I don't mind. I like waiting for some things. It makes my life a little better, a little slower and a little more worth living. Which reminds me of a phrase I heard somewhere that seems fitting : "When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed."

Hey, my alma mater is playing in the game-of-the-year tomorrow. I'll be there! I can't wait. But I will.

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