Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

Arriving at Indistinction

I cannot remember the occasion, but I will not forget the voice—female, authoritative, and poised—that intoned a dismissal of the so-called yuppies as follows: “They oversee the distribution of toilet paper!”  I was a bit thrilled by the superior attitude, being even then no young upwardly mobile professional myself.  I thought about the matter and concluded that I was a downwardly undulant mobile professional, or “dumpy,” and there the matter rested, until I gave some consideration to David Brooks’s “bobos,” or “bourgeois bohemians,” and thought that he had a point about a transmogrification that was an historic shift.

He had quite a point indeed, but somehow, the absurdity of contemporary life was missing, or it was underdramatized in his account.  I find it still shocking, even today, to apprehend the amount of gross self-contradiction that we routinely experience.  Walking into an ordinary restaurant, I beheld a room of gray-haired adults who were all dressed as chubby five-year-olds, in T-shirts, shorts, and sneakers; I thought for a moment someone must have slipped me something psychedelic, or that I had perhaps wandered, in some fit of absentmindedness, into a home for the mentally challenged.  When we are seated in such a place, therefore, I always make sure that the rock music is playing at full volume, or otherwise I can’t...

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