By Charlotte Latvala
No doubt you come in contact with kids (i.e. “anyone younger than me”) every day.
Who are they? Co-workers, Starbucks baristas, the smartly-dressed youngster who’s appraising your house for a re-fi. Suddenly, the world is filled with baby adults who look like they wandered off a Disney Channel sitcom.
How do you converse with them, these pink-haired entry-level youngsters? Here are your options:
- Act like one of them. You know what YouTube is. You like Sam Smith. “We have a lot in common,” you’re thinking. “They’re just younger, slimmer versions of me!” Well, the sad truth is that to a twentysomething person, you are either a) invisible or b) Bizarre Old Person at Work. (Think Creed from “The Office.”) Better options might be:
- Treat them like fascinating alien specimens. Examine their tattoos and ask for a detailed explanation of their meaning. Poke at their gauges and wonder aloud how they could do that to their earlobes. Bonus: Ask them what body part you should get pierced.
- Be a fountain of tough-love advice. Perfect your gruff tone with nuggets like: “Grow up.” “Life’s not fair.” “We didn’t have that option when I was your age.”
- Relish the fact that they have no idea how old you are. Imply firsthand knowledge of historical events, becoming increasingly outlandish as you go on. (“When we marched at Selma….” “Do you know what it felt like to storm the beach at Normandy?” or “Let me tell you about Joan of Arc….”)
- Likewise, pretend you don’t know how old they are. Ask your twenty-something co-worker if she’s going to the prom this year, or getting ready to take the SAT.
- Confuse them by using teenage slang. Refer to your spouse as “bae.” Startle your bank teller by saying her counting skills are “on fleek.” If a Chipotle worker didn’t hear your order correctly, loudly shout “Don’t be a hater, man – I said black beans.”
- Play up your infirmities. Kids like to feel helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask them to carry bulky packages, hang heavy things in your house, or build a new shed in your backyard. It’s important for every generation to learn how to give. And eventually, to take.
- If you want to thin out the crowd at any social event, launch into a long story about a) buying your first home b) having kids, or c) what you’re planning to do when you retire. Any of these topics will clear the room faster than a stink bomb, and you can have all the margaritas to yourself.