They apparently did a study over in Germany that indicates that older people enjoy reading negative stories about younger people. They say that the study suggests that old people are jealous of young people and get some sort of comfort out of hearing about how stupid we all are. I’m not totally sure who “they” are but whoever they are, I’m jealous. I’d love to have enough free time to actually conduct and publish a study about something as obvious as generational resentment.
Then again, it’s probably a mistake to just assume that all resentment can be linked to age. We resent and fear those who have what we don’t. The old resent the young because the young still have a life ahead of them. The poor resent the rich because the rich have money. The rich resent the poor because the poor have the whole street mystique. The middle class resent the rich and the poor because at least they have an identity beyond just being bland.
Unfortunately, with each passing the day, it becomes more obvious to me that resentment is the major motivator behind most human actions. Sometimes, that resentment leads to greater things. Sometimes, you get a case where someone strives to do his best just to prove that he is worthy of success. Far too often, however, it seems like that resentment is turned into either a life philosophy or a political ideology. That’s one thing about human beings. We’re very good at finding excuses for our own selfishness. Suddenly, class resentment is renamed “populism” and paranoia and self-righteous anger is defined as “independence.”
Me, I resent whoever’s currently competing on Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. Because up until seven years ago, I fully believed that my entire life would be about dancing and standing on stage while waves of applause crashed over me. But then one morning, I missed a step, tumbled down a flight of stairs, and ended up breaking my ankle in two places. So much for dancing. And that’s probably for the best because, even before that, I wasn’t really that good at it. Once I stopped dancing, I started writing. So, I think I can say that, in the end, it was a pretty good thing that I fell down those stairs 7 years ago.
Still, whenever I hear anything negative about anybody who has ever been involved with either one of those shows, there’s a part of me that secretly smirks and thinks, “That’ll teach them to live my dream.”
The final paragraph of these type of essays are always supposed to offer up a solution for the problem or maybe some sort of dire warning about how the world’s going to wither and die if we don’t change our ways. Well, I’ll offer up neither. The fact of the matter is that there is no solution and there is no apocalypse. There’s just human nature.