Do I owe someone an apology for not taking a more active role in the iconic cultural, technological and political developments of the 2010s?
I had good intentions of being a full participant in the decade; but other things kept coming up, and suddenly the 2010s are about to pass the torch to this century’s version of “The Roaring Twenties.”
Where has the time gone? (As the Romans said, “Tempus fugits — but not aboard a Boeing 737 Max, if it can help it!”)
It seems like only yesterday that a boss could playfully slap a subordinate on the buttocks and send her to try flagging down a cab so they could take a leisurely lunchtime tour of Confederate monuments. (“Oh, and let’s buy a new office dictionary while we’re out. This one has way more pronouns than we’ll ever need.”)
It seems like only yesterday that society got its lectures from old guys like Al Gore and John McCain. Now we have a cottage industry of teenagers lecturing us on gun control, climate change, menopause, Early Bird Specials, hip replacements, varicose veins, Lawrence Welk, etc.
It seems like only yesterday that “taking a knee” was fossil-hunter lingo and a “trigger warning” was something Ralphie’s father gave him in “A Christmas Story.”
It seems like only yesterday that TV was plugging along with its traditional level of unoriginality — blissfully unaware of the tidal wave of reboots, remakes and sequels that was coming. I understand that an updated 10-hour miniseries of Thomas Edison’s five-second 1894 silent movie “Fred Ott’s Sneeze” is in the works. (“Research & Development says, just be sure one of the nostrils is Asian and the other is Hispanic.”)
It seems like only yesterday that journalists were in a less defensive mode. (“According to multiple insider sources, Donald Trump conspired with Napoleon Bonaparte and Tsar Nicholas to invent the myth of ‘fake news.’”)
It seems like only yesterday that no one was proposing funeral homes be equipped with stationary bikes and Pilates mats in case the deceased identified as still living.
I can’t name a single significant 2010s trend in fashion, architecture or art. I got so wrapped up in daily survival that I never got around to using blockchain, occupying Wall Street, trolling strangers on social media, playing Fortnite, initiating a hashtag, binge-watching anything, listening to Bruno Mars or post-country Taylor Swift, watching the antics of Honey Boo Boo, taking sides in the NFL’S Tom Brady “deflategate” controversy or having anything to do with “50 Shades of Grey” (including whatever that gluten-free blob in the back corner of the refrigerator is).
But I’m sure my theoretical grandchildren will someday take it for granted that I did all those things, while hobnobbing with Elon Musk. Just like youngsters now think Ike Eisenhower sent the National Guard to make sure every single American used a coonskin cap and a Hula Hoop.
I have tried keeping a sense of humor, which I am assured is a bad thing. (“Inscriptions show that the ancient Mesopotamians engaged in ‘Yo’ momma is so idolatrous…’ jokes. Therefore, humor is cultural appropriation and ...”)
Yes, the 2010s have been a little unnerving for someone who came of age in the 1970s. I keep juxtaposing the eras and suffer nightmares about Evel Knievel sustaining critical injuries while trying to jump a man bun with his motorcycle.