Sometimes I worry that I’m growing out of touch. It’s not something that anybody does on purpose. It’s just like, you get to a certain point, you’re comfortable with who you are and the stuff you do, one day you’re ten years old and you’re listening to Pearl Jam, Vitalogy on your little boom box, everything’s cool, you’re cool, you’re music’s cool, then you’re in college, you’re still listening to Vitalogy, you’ve got all of these new cool friends, and they all love Vitalogy just as much as you do.
And then you blink and you’re almost thirty years old and you’re still listening to Vitalogy and, yeah, I guess if you really wanted to call up your old college buddies, get them on the phone, ask them point blank, “Vitalogy is still cool, right?” they’d be like, “Hell yeah, that’s such a classic CD. That’ll never go out of style.” And you’d be like, “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” But honestly, when was the last time you even saw any of those guys? Do they still have the same phone numbers? Would it be awkward cold calling all these years later just to talk about Pearl Jam?
It’s not even about Pearl Jam. It’s about being in touch, or out of touch. Like I started seeing all of these posters for the HBO show Girls, season three. I wanted to be like, ha, what a dumb show. But I’ve never even seen an episode. Not one. I know that some people make fun of it. Or, I think I read something on Gawker one time three years ago that was making fun of it. Or the tone was snarky. I don’t even remember.
And then I think, what am I going to do, start ripping on a show that I’ve never seen, just because, what, it looks like something that for some reason or another I’d assume wouldn’t be my cup of tea? What does that say about me, that I find advertisements for this wildly popular show somehow worthy of me thinking I’m better? That I’m better than the HBO show Girls?
That doesn’t make any sense. I must be out of touch, maybe just a little. It’s like I can remember being a little kid, and anything that came out that was too girlie, all of the boys made fun of it, constantly. Barbies? Ha. Stupid girls. Boys play with action figures. We make fun of Barbies. About how stupid they are. Stupid Barbie dolls.
I hope I’m not carrying around that much of my snot-nosed brat former child inside of me still, but I get a gut-wrenching reaction to a poster of a show that’s for some reason not marketed directly toward me, and this voice inside is like, how dare they? Don’t they know that I’m the prime demographic? This offends me. Somebody, when’s the new season of Walking Dead coming out? Anybody. Tell me about a new superhero movie in theaters soon.
But I don’t want to swing in the opposite direction either. I don’t want to get so scared that I’m losing touch that I’ll just start clinging automatically to whatever happens to be trending at the moment. I remember I read some article in the New York Times a year or two ago. The title of the article suggested that it was about young people, how they prefer random hookups over serious relationships.
And then I read the article and it wound up being nothing more than a recap of the most recent episode of Girls. Specifically, the author referred to the show as a “cultural weathervane.” I was thinking, man, this person’s a journalist, they see one episode of a new TV show, they have no idea what’s going on and so they think, wow, I’m out of touch. I’d better embrace this lest I fall even further out of touch. They grasp desperately to the weathervane, please, point me back in the direction of what’s cool, teach me about this alien world of the new.
I thought that instead of making fun of a popular TV show, I’d make fun of someone else talking about a popular TV show, and that would somehow make me feel less out of touch. Because I’m not out of touch, I still get new stuff. I just bought a new CD a month ago. It’s the new Pearl Jam. It’s OK. It’s not as good as Vitalogy, but it’s still pretty cool.