Bildungsroman

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I was thinking the other day about coming of age in the sixties and seventies,
About how Grilled Cheese on Wonder Bread and Root Beer
Faded into Miller Lite and Marijuana;
About how Sunday School from 11:00-1:00 and Confession about uneaten vegetables
Faded into fourteen-year-olds in the backseats of Mustangs;
About how high school prom dates
Faded into ‘Nam amputees suffering from PTSD

And as I thought these things, I saw the disillusionment creep in on my mother’s generation.
I felt the easy contentment of licking dripping popsicles in the backyard on a hot sunny day
Suddenly leave, as
Nixon is impeached
Sally buys an underwire bra just as Suzie is burning hers
Ted Bundy pays the city a visit
And lipstick-wearing, vacuuming, sandwich-making Mama becomes tired of monotony.

Everybody always talks about how times weren’t as complicated way back when,
And I’m inclined to agree, despite my inexperience—I’ve only known the world since 1993,
And as such, my idea of decades past has been coated in sugar and fed to me by
My parents and old-time Hollywood flicks.

It’s just…I can’t help but think that it seems as if even disillusionment was simpler then.

Because now
Mommy at home all day taking antidepressants


Has faded into Mommy at work all day taking antidepressants;
The country waiting with bated breath for Cuba to attack


Has faded into the country watching, mouths agape, as the towers fell;

The promiscuous, sex-obsessed high schooler


Has faded into the promiscuous, sex-obsessed middle schooler

And the disillusionment creeps in not at 6:30 every night with the evening news but


All day long, words scrolling, scrolling all day long all day long

Explosion, 42 Soldiers die in Iraq, Death, Death Panel, “YOU LIE,” Extremist, Terrorist
Child Molested, Methamphetamine, Unemployment Rate, Socialist, Financial Crisis, Drug Resistance
Hate Crime Hate Hated Hatred

Despite my belief in human progress,
I can’t help but wonder if my teenage years will ever be so romanticized,
Wonder if my days will ever be the good old days,
Wonder if my generation will look back and talk about growing up at the turn of the century
With a kind of nostalgia,
Or if discovering the problems of the world
Has simply ceased to be exhilarating—
If they are too deep and too many.





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