Epiphoney Society

The fogeys have it too


So here’s a thought — why don’t we give credit where credit is due?

Recently, I heard the word youthquake. At first, I thought it was some sort of a revivalist KKK cult, an underground organisation based on a common identity of slaying some form of abomination that gets the millennial goat, like say, people who talk in complete sentences. Then someone corrected me, it is not a cult. But the person also admitted that millennials do hate the whole idea of grammar mostly because FOMO living just doesn’t extend to cover linguistics. That said, I doubt that even armed with a repertoire of a vocabulary of a few gazillion words, the average young spud would have much to say.

But back to youthquake, a term used to denote how the young are changing the world, one old person at a time, a term that my word processor still refuses to recognise as a word, never mind the fact that it was first coined and used back in the mid ’60s! I think my computer is getting on in age, just like me; we both belong to the generation that still uses ‘word processor’ and other such archaic terms.


But if youthquake is a thing, and I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt, what about oldquake? I am coining the term to bring together the common demographic that collectively loathes the millennials, and realises the wisdom of that adage with these three words: youth, young, and wasted. Has this set changed anything about the world? I don’t mean like the late Stephen Hawking and his complex theories on space and time, but the simpler stuff, like that handy thingamajig to pick stuff up off the ground when you are too lazy to bend over and reach for them. What else can the oldquake be applauded for?

Cycling: If MAMILs (middle-aged man in lycra) are a thing today, it’s because of every man over 35 who had an early mid-life crisis and, instead of buying a motorbike, entered a marathon and then bought himself a cycle! There needs to be a collective noun coined specially to refer to a group of them as they come cycling down the road, looking as aerodynamic as two cats in a jute sack, in their tight-fitted gear as if someone managed to cling-wrap toothpaste. A jiggle of MAMILs, anyone?

Autocorrect: I don’t know how Freud would have explained or inferred typos while texting, but my generation is responsible for some of the most lewd yet funny messages, and it possibly led to the invention of autocorrect. It could be an eyesight thing or maybe we as a generation simply can’t coordinate two thumbs as well as kids. Either way, if you enjoy autocorrect or spell check, you have the fogeys to thank them for. Trouble is, they are also to be blamed for why millennials can’t tell the difference between “your” and “you’re”.

Allergies: We didn’t give the world allergies, but in our effort to make the world a clean place, we took away the whole idea of immunity. Fine, the petrolhead amongst us also imbued the air with a cocktail of noxious gasses, but that was us trying to undo the damage we had done with planting all that snake palm around the house. Today, every time a millennial sneezes, somewhere an oldie dies. Not of guilt, just old age really, but it would be nice to attribute some causality to it all.

Come to think of it, the oldies have fared no better than the youth in shaping the world. If anything, with age, they only got better at destroying it. I guess that’s why the word stems from earthquakes, a natural calamity which, earth-changing as it is, literally is never positive.

This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 5:41:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/the-fogeys-have-it-too/article23694947.ece

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