If you’re ready to find out which generation gets to claim Jeff Buckley for their own, and which is to blame for Art Garfunkel, this test is here to erect some sturdy dividers between you and those sitting mere feet away, who seem to have been placed on this earth solely to frustrate you and rant on and on about the health properties of kombucha.
You will need a pen and paper to work through the modules, or, if you’re a Boomer, your iPad and a stylus. If you belong to the Greatest Generation, sit yourself down, the world has moved on already.
1. Choose an album:
a) Styx Grand Illusion on vinyl
b) Talking Heads Stop Making Sense on cassette
c) Smashing Pumpkins Melancholia and the Infinite Sadness on CD
d) Captain and Tennille Love Will Keep Us Together on LP
e) Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde on cassette
2. What is the biggest problem with youth today?
a) Their branding strategy.
b) They don’t know the first thing about what the ‘80s were actually like.
c) They bruise like peaches.
d) They ruined Burning Man.
e) That they apologize for who they just are.
Youth is wasted on the young, heh.
3. What is your dream home?
b) Cabin in the woods
c) Townhome with backyard
d) A goddamn house with good Wi-Fi
e) The road is my home
4. What does summer mean to you?
a) Dancing in sunglasses in a field
b) Mowing the lawn
c) Hitting the farmer’s market
d) Long bike rides
e) Long, ironic bike rides on a tandem in neon spandex
Don’t let vanity factor into this. Still good with your answer?
5. Okay. What did you have for lunch?
a) Avocado toast with this amazing poached egg let me show you.
b) Kimchi tacos from this truck that only I know about.
c) Gourmet fried chicken that you have never had anything even approaching before.
d) Sandwich with a few token leaves of arugula to help my HDLs.
e) A cold-pour single-origin over hand-shaved ice, nettles, and gluten-free chia pancakes, just something simple.
6. Which film is the strongest indictment of society today?
a) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
b) Apocalypse Now
c) Pulp Fiction
d) The Hunt for Red October
e) Private Benjamin
7. What are your thoughts on racism?
a) I am glad to live in a post-racial world where John Mayer can embrace his identity as a black blues musician.
b) Systemic racism is the foundation on which the strata of society are built.
c) Kanye actually has smart things to say about this on Twitter.
d) Well, you’re not supposed to say ________ anymore.
e) Affirmative action is really reverse racism.
8. How do you feel about Madonna?
a) She’s a bit of a hot mess.
b) I read that she illegally erected NO PARKING signs outside her townhome in New York, and for that I hate her.
c) Her last good album was The Immaculate Collection.
d) She has done nothing to help Detroit.
e) “Lucky Star” is my #goals.
9. What do you want out of work?
a) A fun team atmosphere that is open both organizationally and also literally in that it has a sun roof.
b) I just want to collect a salary for sitting at my desk and reading The Atlantic.
c) A career that is not my current career.
e) A sushi station.
Roll on to the last question!
10. How do you feel, emotionally?
a) I’m glad you asked, my current mood is a bit Gap-winter grey-merle, which is always how I feel when my creativity is suppressed.
b) I just want to own some land and keep a goat.
c) I often think about giving it all up and using my law degree to explore untested weed doctrine in Colorado.
e) ~ See my tumblr. ~
Tally your answers, you can get back to your Blue Apron prep in just a tick.
Mostly As: Millennial
You were born between 1984 and 2000, and grew up in a boom time of economic expansion, generously portioned trousers, and shoelace backpack straps. You like to collect vinyl from different places: garage sales, vinyl shops, vinyl mail-order clubs, Barnes & Noble. You’re a collector. You don’t believe in barriers, you could be a social media editor, or you could be a blogger, or maybe both at different times. You don’t believe in linear trajectories! Maybe your Twitter avatar will be an Insta of yourself in neon Wayfarers, maybe it will be an upside-down photo of you in Wayfarers. ರ_ರ You don’t believe in conforming, which is why you and your friends all have pink hair. You love art, especially empty galleries and paintings of cactii. Buses are retro.
Mostly Bs: Generation X
If you had any doubts that the revolution was dead, they were Tarn-Off-ed away around the time you started special ordering your bike seats from Pearl Izumi. Does Eddie Vedder cycle? He seems like a guy with long telomeres, he’s a stayer. You lived in Seattle, you lived in Manhattan, you lived in godforsaken Los Angeles, thank fuck you can live in a city that lets you drive to work again, a place where you can be at a barbecue on a weekend and get confused, “Hey, is this my carabiner? Or your carabiner?” And have to sort out whose coffee thermos-clipping carabiner it is lying on the ground. You were once a cynical sort, but you have come to appreciate the practicality of Dire Straits on CD, because your Subaru has a CD player, and, you know, Brothers in Arms.
Mostly Cs: Generation Y
Your hands ball up into fists and you snarl at the dimwit in the summer beanie who greets you as you assert yourself at a hostile angle in the entrance to Urban Outfitters, where record players sit yawning on display like pastel clams in The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea.” Nirvana’s Nevermind is plastic-wrapped on one display, and mounted in balsa wood on a floating wall in another. You are thinking self-righteously about how precisely the shoppers have missed the point of counter culture if they are buying subversive records from a Republican-owned retail giant when a waif in a pastel tank elbows you out of the way so she can get to the knee socks. You would stay and fight, but it ultimately seems easier to take yourself across the way to a place called “Chickpea,” which specializes in just-okay hummus. You get some hummus, and think back to the time when hummus was an insurgent threat to steak dinners. Now it comes plastic wrapped, too. You hate everyone.
Mostly Ds: Baby Boomer
You open your wallet and someone has taken money out again. Probably one of the dependents you brought into the world determined that they would understand the simple beauty of a fridge with an inbuilt ice machine. As it is, they understand nothing of your journey through the twilight of America. If they spent that money on an adult coloring book that will be it. The last straw. You will have to pack your only valuable items—your large-format iPhone 6, your wedding photo, in which your eyes are unfortunately closed, Derek Jeter’s memoir, and a VHS of Lonesome Dove — and depart for Sante Fe. You and your partner in this silly life will reach its dusty pink terraces in the late afternoon and unpack your watercolors, shaking yourself out of your pants and donning a smock from here until forever, cursing your children as you arrange weavings of llamas on the wall, “You drove me to this. Watercolor and bric a brac. Well, David Brooks is your problem now.”
Mostly Es: The Worst Kind of Millennial
Born between 1984 and 2000, you don’t get to “self-identify” as Gen X, whether or not it feels spiritually as though you born in another time. It is, of course, your right to choose to reject the harmful binaries of the world, to proclaim as radical a thoroughly retro world view in rejecting the feminist mantle, and to distance yourself from supportive social policies from safe inside a fort of conviction that The World Rewards Those Who Deserve It, but I’m going to be frank: we, the people who are already here, are fucking terrified of the day that you are left in charge of this disintegrating pile of rubble. We are terrified that you are only going to play Steve Perry and Heart, and that everyone on this planet is going to dress like a cast member of Godspell on purpose. We are terrified that you lack the ability to hold two opposing viewpoints in your hands at the same time and understand that both are partially correct without dropping one and spouting off a Taylor Swift lyric mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain. We are terrified that you are going to string up a slackline and do somersaults instead of acting to stop climate change. We are terrified of cassette tape twirling out into the world, wrapping us in the ribbons of past mistakes, and dooming us to a subpar sound quality.