I'm one of the lucky ones.
Most people won't see it coming. They'll look back one day and wonder when it happened. They'll have a moment of clarity and self-realization and say something like, "I'm not sure when it happened, but..."
And that's too bad. Because I will be able to pinpoint exactly when I turned old.
It was 5:07 PM, Monday, 6 February 2012. At that moment, I took to Twitter to remark on an incredibly annoying pattern in the Tweets, Facebook status updates, and other written communication among the younger set.
It's like the visual equivalent of cats scratching a chalkboard. With dentist drills. Playing Kenny G on bagpipes. And it manifests itself in something like this:
"Hey yallllll gone tannninnggggggg!!!"?
I mean, what on earth is that? When did it become hip to type things out in such a way the reader thinks you're straddling an electric fence?
This for me was the straw that broke the young camel's back. I've watched with growing consternation as young people (and those too old to admit it) "(Kept) Up with the Kardashians" and became "Beliebers," but figured they were momentary lapses in judgment, not wholesale indictments on American society. But it's clear we've reached a point of no return as a civilization when even our most fundamental mode of communication is treated this way. In the distant future, I half-expect aliens to study our ancient way of life and conclude the wheels started coming off the wagon with the influx of some parasitic people group who unwittingly unglued all we built because they couldn't speak a language.
Maybe this stupid pattern can be traced to an actual, vocalized speech pattern called "vocal fry." If you don't know what that is, you're at least likely to have heard it. (That is, if you've ever heard an interview with a Kardashian or Britney Spears.) It's maybe best described as a "creaky" vocal characteristic common among young women. And aside from being annoying, it can actually be dangerous.
I'm only half-serious about all this, of course. The rational side of me understands that these things are cyclical. My parents probably wondered a lot about me, including why I insisted on keeping a poorly maintained goatee throughout much of high school and why my brother and I insisted that Stryper could credibly be called quality music. (Though any objective person would side with Tony and me.) However, I'm not sure this rational side will be easily found in seven years, when I have a teenager of my own.
As for that, I think I'm way ahead of the game with my recent discovery. No doubt friction will arise from 2018 - 2029, during which time I'll have at least one teenager under my roof. And that's ok. When my daughters ask when it is I became uncool, I won't have to wallow in self-reflective nothingness. No, I'll have it documented for posterity, and I plan to share the time and date with them if they inquire. After all, I'm one of the lucky ones who know.
You feel me?