Generation Chasm

Yesterday I was in the grocery store when I heard a song I remembered listening to when I was in high-school. Walking home I was still mumble-humming along and recalling the fine days of grunge music, when I realized that I couldn’t remember the name of the band. This grated on my mind like burrs, and in an effort at resolution I stopped into a local bar where some friends work to seek their input. The bar wasn’t open yet and as my friends were setting up for the night the owner’s 12yo son was hanging-out at the bar-top sipping a soda. Like me they recalled the song instantly, but as soon as I inquired about the band they reverted to the Arggh, damnit groaning we all emit when struggling to recall something that resides just beyond our memory’s reach. One of them opened the bar’s computer but I stopped him, noting that I could have got online myself and had come in seeking human effort. He understood and replied, “Alright, we’re going to solve this ourselves without asking Google.” To which the owner’s son, who had been observing our recollection efforts, inserted, “How do you answer anything without asking Google?!”

I am not such a removed Luddite as to have been unaware that technology was making the gaps between the ages more pronounced, but I guess this was about as fine a point as could be placed on such a thought. I remember with fondness the days not more than a few years back when friends and I would endlessly argue and resolve questions such as the above over drinks, relying solely upon our wits and intuitions; nowadays I often have difficulty getting some of those same friends to even acknowledge me over their phones when we’re having a drink. I don’t care for this development but find that I can’t say much if it’s good or bad; instead I find myself reverting to Vonnegut’s old trope: So it goes. The fact is that this young fellow will never know a world without Google, and that’s a crazy thought with all sorts of crazy implications for us who are beings-whose-beingness-is-a-beingness-of-remembering. But that’s another track for a far more Germanic time; for now, suffice it to say that I just felt old.

As for the question of the band: eventually, and to our great relief, we three agreed upon a solution and determined with a solid level of certainty who we believed had recorded the song; later at home I—yep, you guessed it—Googled the query and found that we were wrong. So it goes. Looks like it’s your world now Jr.

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