I remember, man, growing up in a generation gap.
We were the young, the brilliant and the enlightened. Yeah, dig it, baby.
They were the old, the boring, the thick-headed. Major bummer, dude.
But I blinked, and 35 years slipped by. There's still a generation gap, but it shifted. Somehow, I slid to the other side - old, boring and thick-headed. Or at the very least, creaky-kneed.
How did this happen? Didn't we used to be cool?
According to researchers David Maxfield and Joseph Grenny, a generation gap exists in the workplace, and it's strangling productivity. It's the war of baby boomers - now you're talkin' 'bout my generation - vs. millennials.
We baby boomers are the sexy, suave and bifocaled folks ages 49 to 67. Millennials are those 13- to 33-year-olds who come as standard equipment attached to any smartphone.
In an interview with the entrepreneurial site Fast Company, Maxwell says we boomers whine that millennials are ''easily distracted, and lack discipline, focus and commitment. Millennials believe boomers are sexist, defensive, insensitive, resistant to change and lack creativity.''
Yeah, figures that's what those little twerps would say. If they'd ever pull those crazy buds out of their ears, they might learn something. I've been doing the job this way for years, and there's no need to let them play around with their newfangled tiddlywinks and screw it all up.
Mind you, that's not being ''insensitive'' or ''defensive'' or ''resistant'' or anything. I'm just telling it like it is, man.
Maxfield said, ''When there are differences, we tend to blame problems on age. It's a convenient villain and lets us off the hook for doing anything because we can't change someone's age.''
Ah, but ages do change. All the time. With it, the generation gap boundary lines snap like rubber bands. They stretch, bend, then break, smacking you smartly when you least expect it. Suddenly, Ow!, your senior discount card shows up in the mail.
I saw the rubber band snap another victim just last week.
One of my much younger coworkers, who wasn't even born when I graduated from high school, peers at me suspiciously and glances about wildly for the closest exit whenever I claim that phones used to have dials and that there was no such thing as the Super Bowl when I started school.
He knows I am hopelessly, irrevocably old.
The other day, the same young punk kid waxed nostalgic about one of his favorite movies, starring John Candy. An even younger coworker stared blankly.
''You've never seen 'The Great Outdoors?''' he asked.
''Came out in 1988.''
''I wasn't born yet.''
''Ouch. But you know John Candy, right?'' He began to sound desperate.
''Who?'' Her eyes searched wildly for the nearest exit.
''You've never heard of John Candy?''
She made a run for it. The young punk kid blinked at me. He looked a little older, a little boring, perhaps even a bit thick-headed. ''So that's how it feels,'' he said.
''You'll like your senior coffee,'' I said.
He shook his head. ''Those young punk kids ought to learn about life.''
---- Play checkers with Cole at email@example.com or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.