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I can’t speak for all of your parents, but I can speak for mine and their friends. After a number of years observing them like I’m Jane fucking Goodall, I’ve come to the realization that the early Generation Xers, your fifty-somethings, act more “high school” than the sixteen-year-olds currently popping pimples (and random boners, remember those?!) in driver’s ed.
I grew up in the Boston suburbs (shout out to the home of Café Fresh and Defazio Field), so living in the city, and being the great son (and cheapo on laundry) that I am, I make it home often for a nice home-cooked meal, because the only way I’m getting wild caught salmon is from mama Brostonian. Anyway, one particular day recently I came home for dinner and laundry, and it also happened to be my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. My dad had a really nice Facebook post about it, and when I strolled in the door he was on his iPad and I heard this interaction between mom and dad:
Dad: Up to 100 likes on my Facebook post about our anniversary!
(It’s ricockulous that my dad can get 100 likes on a Facebook picture).
Mom: [redacted], got 175 last week for their anniversary (with caddy tone and McKayla Maroney face). And [redacted] commented on our post without an exclamation point. What the fuck is that shit?
Yes, this seriously happened in my childhood kitchen. My jaw dropped like Genie’s in Aladdin. Just complete and utter amazement. But was I shocked? Helllllll no. Because this kind of behavior, and these kinds of comments, are all too real when you’re frequently exposed to the real housewives of Boston ‘burbs.
The bitching about the number of Instagram likes? I’m only exposed to it through my mother. Bragging that Jose Bautista follows you on Twitter? I get it, mom. The gossiping. The booze sessions on Friday nights by a fireplace or pit. I’m sick of hearing about it all.
It’s shocking how often I have to be the voice of reason with my parents. I come home and have to talk my mom off a ledge if she didn’t get invited to go on a Sunday morning walk. It’s like friend A and friend B purposely snubbed her; you’d think she was rolling with Regina George and Gretchen Wieners.
I need to tell them to R-E-L-A-X if the wifi is down. Once we were out of cell range a few years ago at Yosemite. On the drive back, once we had service, my parents whipped out their phones faster than Gene Wilder could shoot in Blazing Saddles. I honestly would be hard pressed to determine whose life hinges more on an extra ten Facebook likes, my parents or their high school neighbors.
I thought parents were supposed to act like parents you see on TV. They’re supposed to have flip phones and use MapQuest for directions. But no, they have more aptitude on apps than deFries does. My mom teaches me how to use the new filters on Snapchat. My mom tells me the new celebrity gossip. God only knows what my mom talks about at her Mah Jong nights, or my dad at his poker games, but I guarantee they probably sound eerily similar to whatever is being talked about in a high school cafeteria.
This isn’t supposed to be too much of an indictment against parents who are active on social media, or my parents specifically. My parents, by most advanced metrics, are pretty cool. I actually – and I don’t want this to inflate their huge egos – but I actually do like hanging out with them from time to time. But if my mom bitches when she only gets fifty likes on her Facebook picture of us at the Pearl Jam concert at Fenway in August, I might drink antifreeze.
I get it. I understand that our parents’ generation missed out on all the cool stuff that our generation gets to enjoy like iPhones, social media, global warming, and anal sex. I get that they’re catching up on lost time. I’m not trying to kick them off of these platforms. All I’m saying to these Generation Xers, and my parents specifically, is please exercise a little grace during these twilight years. No more bitching about how many Instagram likes you didn’t get. Stop comparing the number of likes you get on your Facebook pictures (newsflash, mom, you get 10-fold more than I do as it is). And for the love of Tom Brady, stop analyzing social media comments left by your friends for their lack of exclamation points! .
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