I have lived in 40 different years, 5 different decades, two different centuries and 2 separate millenniums. Guess what though, who cares? It’s not the years of bitter experience that allows me to be the unique voice of bitterness to youth of today, and the “more experienced” generations. I am the bitter bridge that spans the gaps between the two because two unfortunate things. The time I was born, and the time when I went to college. You need an explanation? Sure. Here you go.
I was born and grew up in the Pre-Bitterbenzoic era, where black, white and grey were the only colors. If you don’t believe me, check the photo of me as a baby (I don’t have one, you’re on your own there). Only black, white and grey. You want further proof? Find out how to time travel, possess me as a baby and look at the world from my perspective. I’ll give you a minute…. Okay. Got it? See any colors? I didn’t think so.
So what does college have to with anything? When I started college in 1991, phones were unique gadgets with cords that allowed you to make a phone call. In college, that came in handy for things like calling you parents when you were 800 miles away, or calling your boss to tell them that you were faking sick for the 5th time. The best feature of the phone was the lack of caller ID, which made stalking girls easier. But on the other hand, when the phone rang it could have been the President of the United States, your mom, or your idiot neighbor playing a prank. That made it really hard to answer the phone like a jerk.
By the time I ended college in 1998, phones were not only cordless, but they could be taken anywhere and they started having features on them, besides allowing you to make a phone call. Caller ID, voicemail, and even screens with things on them. In other words, it took away almost all of my excuses to avoid people.
When I started college in 1991, there was a computer lab in my school(I think). But what was it good for? The only thing I used computers for was games(computers games were lame back then) and writing papers. Because of the severe allergies I had to writing papers in my freshman year, I avoided the computer lab like a pin at a bowling ball convention. Besides, I had this amazing “word processor” (it had a black background and orange font and that was its sole purpose. Only $700.) that my sister lent me. If I needed to do a paper that was due in 2 hours, I could just make up some words, slap some paper in this thing and turn in my completely terrible piece of writing, and get me a solid D-. I didn’t need a stinking computer. I had bitter things to do like starting food fights in the cafeteria (true story) or playing the dangerous sport of dorm hall football.
When I left college in 1998, I not only had my own computer, but it had the internet, Windows 95, and I was chatting, emailing and power pointing at cyber people like a boss, on screaming fast 28k dial-up. I was bitter enough like the kids that the internet wasn’t fast enough, but also had a bitter understanding of the old people getting cranky because the kids had this stuff handed to them from the moment they were born.
As a new college student, I was busting out music gangster style on cassettes. The advantage to having cassettes of course, is the fact that I owned the music. Of course, I needed a cool sounding machine to run the cassette, nicknamed a “Ghetto Blaster” or “Boom Box”. As cool as Ipods are because they could store a billion songs on one tiny device, they couldn’t compete with a nicknames of the machines that could ruin your shoulder just by showing them off. I never see people busting out their Ipods, or Iphones going, “Hey, who wants to do a rap battle?” The best part about getting sick of a song back then, was finding the song on the tape. It wasn’t the inconvenience of pushing a few buttons, but the inexact science of rewinding and hoping and praying you pushed the play button at the exact right time, only to realize the song was on the other side of the tape. Priceless.
In 1998, I was stealing music off the internet, overcrowding my computer with MP3’s and still having trouble finding the music I wanted.
What else changed between the beginning of college and the end? How about my face, neck, hair(loss), and of course belly of the Baron of Bitterness himself. When I started college, I was a gangly 6’1 160 lbs. weakling that could run a mile in about 6 minutes. I could dunk a basketball when the rim bent slightly lower than the standard 10 feet and I could avoid breathing super heavily when speeding around campus…in my car.
At the end of college, in 1998, I was a 6’1 250 lbs. weakling that couldn’t run a mile, couldn’t dunk on a 5’0 hoop in NBA Jams, and got winded going from my room to get a hot pocket in the kitchen.
When I started college, finding a job was hard because I had to go to dozens of stores, ask for an application, hand the potential employer a resume that they would avoid and never call you.
In 1998, when college ended, finding a job was hard because I had to go on the internet, fill out dozens of applications, attach my resume on an email to the potential employer they would avoid me and never email me.
So because of my experiences in college, that spanned from the pre-internet world to the world of gadget avalanches, I have a unique perspective of how to be bitter about both time periods. In other words, as the Official Bridge Gapper of Bitter Generations, don’t mess with my ability to be bitter about any of your first world problems. Don’t battle with the Bitter Baron or you will get served…some rhubarb.
Bitter Baron Ben
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