Cheap Sandals or Scanty Underwear: It All Depends upon How Old You Are

Bologna is a pressed meat product; cheap; easy to find; ubiquitous.

It is fitting, then, that people of a certain age — namely, mine — are dubbed the “Bologna Generation,” because we find ourselves sandwiched between our parents and our children.

Madonna and Toddler by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Now no one can argue that Baby Boomers are not a demographic force all on our own, but this bologna situation is yet another aspect that defines us: in communicating and interacting with the generation above us and the one below, we toggle back and forth between two worlds, two ways of looking at things, two languages.

Take Thongs, for example.

Now my parents, the Professorial and Venerable One, know that these rubbery items slip on one’s feet, anchored between the big toe and the second one, and make a whispery, slappy, flip-floppy sound as the person walks.  They also know that one does not wear Thongs to a White House function.

My children, while horrified at the public discourse of Thongs, especially along the lines of, “Will you pick up those dirty thongs of yours and toss them in the shoe bin?” see no issue with wrapping a clean thong (which, Mom and Dad, is a form of female underclothing that you might associate with a G-string), in their hair as a perky accessory — a female accessory, at this point, which has mercifully not crossed over to the metro-male.

Progeny of mine, you know Thongs as Flip Flops, and a G-string is not something you find on the guitar. It is best not to wear flip flops to a White House function, and as to wearing a thong there, do not do so in your hair, and do not discuss the other way of wearing it over pre-dinner cocktails (which, come to think of it, you are too young to partake of anyway).

That’s just one word.

This whole computer thing is another.

When I first jumped back into Cyber Earth after a 10-year hiatus, I signed up for computer software classes at the local library, and, in my mid-forties, was the fresh-faced, Homecoming Queen Babe of the class.

I knew there was a problem when one of the older women turned to another and asked, “Why are there two ‘shift’ keys on the typewriter looking thing?”

“Probably for right and left handers,” her colleague in confusion replied.

You know those dreams you still have about signing up for the Wrong Class?

Once the older generation learns the logistics of the keyboard, however, they understand the concept of not leaving a glass of orange juice next to one. They are also not prone to demand replacing their electronic library of  accessories  every year with something smaller, more portable, more fashionable, pink instead of black, named like a fruit, and with the ability to do anything and everything but actually make a phone call.

What small accessories they do have they treat carefully, as if the items cost hundreds of dollars, which many of them actually do.

Carl, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Speaking of money, I remember the shock on the progeny faces when I mentioned someone investing $10,000 into a CD.

“What kind of artist gets that kind of money?” (You could almost see the wheels turning, or more generationally speaking, microchips firing, or whatever it is that chips do.)

My parents, on the other hand, still get frustrated with this shiny round item that scratches no matter how you care for it. Come to think of it, so do I.

What surprises me the most, however, is that when you put the two generations together in the same room, they are able to communicate, and they don’t need me in the middle translating. I get the sense many times that I am in the way.

Perhaps this is no more unusual than interaction with my own grandmother, Venerable One’s authentic, first-generation Polish immigrant sustenance farmer who was so busy feeding and keeping alive 11 progeny (and I think four is chaotic), that she never had time to learn English. Probably something to do with living 10 miles from the nearest town and only traveling there via horse and buggy once a year, to get the latest baby baptized by the only priest in the region.

Autumn Remembered, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Although I never managed to get across to her that I did not need my waffle cut into 1/2 inch squares, we did spend pleasurable afternoons together, her with her one in twenty English word, me with my 8-year-old “I . . . likey . . . readey . . . boooooooooks.” I fully understood that she loved me, and I loved her.

Ah, yes . . . love. It bridges all generation gaps, and links us one to another in the unbroken necklace of life.

There’s no bologna about that.

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She writes about life, art, and the art of life.
This entry was posted in Art, Beauty, blogging, Business, Christian, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Economy, Encouragement, Family, Growth, Humor, Job, Life, Lifestyle, Motherhood, News, Personal, Politics, Random, Relationships, Uncategorized, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Cheap Sandals or Scanty Underwear: It All Depends upon How Old You Are

  1. Miki says:

    I’ve never been able to talk to my Japanese grandmother, who doesn’t know any English beyond “hello”, but we don’t, and haven’t ever, found that to be a problem, for exactly the reason that you’ve said: we don’t need to speak the same language in order to know that we love each other.

    Still, I’m in my last year at university now, and have been taking modules in Japanese Language wherever possible. I’m at the point where I can understand and construct sentences, read and write two of the alphabets (and quite a bit of the third), and feel as if I could probably hold a basic conversation with my grandmother next time we fly out to visit her. If it makes her happy, then it will have been worth all of the time, effort, and exams 🙂

  2. I had no idea that there were THREE alphabets!

    I wish you the best in your next visit with your grandmother, and I am sure, even if you sound like a two–year-old, your words will be music to your grandmother’s ears.

    (The sound that makes the Norwegian Artist smile is our 19-month-old granddaughter singing out, “Poppa!” whenever he walks through the door. So much is infused into that one, glorious word.)

  3. Anya says:

    I have to admit that I literally felt my neurons firing *inappropriate choice of words!!!* signals when I read your discourse on thongs. Which corroborates your thesis perfectly 🙂

  4. A generational difference, here. Flip flops will always seem to my mind such an inane name — I wonder what new meaning will be given to those two words twenty years down the road? I hesitate to follow the thought much further . . .

  5. Pingback: Spam, Scam, and Inappropriate Comments « Blog Archive « Norwegianartist's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s