I think what really frosted the millennials was when I suggested they pledge not to name their first-born son “Uber.”
Up to that point, they were fine.
My Saturday column, "Millennials, you literally cannot call yourselves adults until you take this pledge," has generated a fair amount of Internet heat, after I suggested a “Millennial Pledge,” in which young people vow to make eye contact, stop texting while driving and not show up to job interviews in flip-flops. It was meant more as a gentle nudge toward adulthood than a call to arms.
As you might expect, the first wave of reaction was from older readers, who’d seen it in print (and wake up before 7 a.m.).
“I can tell from interviewing hundreds of young people over the past 30 years that Millennials do think of themselves as entitled and above everything and everyone else. The previous generations did not act like this. I think this list should be appended to every application where the applicant is a Millennial. That way they may have a clue as to why so many of them lose their jobs,” said one retired human resources manager.
The second and third wave came from millennials themselves, who proved to be frightfully smug and humorless over the whole thing.
To me, this is what you get when you raise an entire generation without spanking.
On Twitter, one man suggested a baby boomer pledge:
. @latimes Boomer pledge: I won't ruin the environment I won't ruin the economy I won't demand that you act grateful for the hell we made— Alex Hardisons Ghost (@euchrid) October 11, 2015
Another young woman bragged on Twitter:
I will not read insufferable newspaper columns about millennials because I will not read newspapers @erskinetimes— Madeline Daniels (@danielsmadeline) October 12, 2015
Way to go, kid. You’ll get even by remaining clueless.
Most of the millennial reaction ran along those lines. One of the few to make me smile was a photo of Homer Simpson's dad with the caption: “Old man yells at cloud.”
Another funny response, perhaps channeling Abe Simpson, was this:
"So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Gimme five bees for a quarter," you'd say. Now where were we... oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt…"
By the way, I seemed to cause a lot of confusion when I dubbed myself a millennial, which seemed at odds with my photo. Note that I didn’t indicate which millennium. Let me just say that the Battle of Hastings was much worse in person.
Of course, the irony of this new generation gap is that the baby boomers were famous as the generation that didn’t respect authority. Now they’ve raised a generation that doesn’t respect them. That’s like an irony Double-Double, animal-style.
Look, I get it. We haven’t handed the millennials a world in mint condition. No parents ever do. But we’ve spread democracy, reduced Communism, virtually eliminated the constant threat of nuclear elimination.
Has any single one of you punks been drafted?
The oceans are cleaner, the roads safer, the economy more diverse. And, oh yeah, it was boomers who invented your precious iPhones and personal computers.
Probably the fairest response came from an actual adult:
“Look, this is humor so don't get riled up. I have hired many Millennials. I like them. They have strengths and weaknesses like anyone else. If I had to generalize I'd say they're kind and smart, and they're more educated in some areas and less educated in others compared to previous generations. And, compared to my boomer generation, they are less interested in moving up or becoming the boss because they really value their time away from work.”
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