Generation Landslide

The summer intern season is winding down and it has left me melancholy, as usual. Only the best, brightest and well-connected are granted internships at the investment banks in Manhattan. They’re the fortunate sons and daughters of well-heeled parents. Many of them, through no fault of their own, are blissfully unaware that they were found under a golden cabbage leaf. This is not to imply they’re lazy. They are not. They’re hard working and dedicated. In order to land an internship, they have to prove their mettle. But since they’re selected from the best schools, that’s a foregone conclusion.

Because I work in an open-architecture environment, I am privy to their phone conversations and chats with fellow interns. Academia and success is all they’ve ever known. They’re too young to have lost a job or suffer a serious setback. It sounds like many of them haven’t even enjoyed a proper heartbreak yet. An intern assigned to our group is an NYU student (tuition is +/- $60,000/year). He spends his weekends in the Hamptons summer rental his father arranged for him—a reward for landing the internship. He’s not boastful or smug about it. He’s a good-looking kid (kid!) and seems to have an endless parade of pretty young things with flat stomachs visiting his desk trying to curry his favor.

The yellow brick road is stretched out before him. I’ve carved out a pretty decent life with the tools that were available, but the types of opportunities they take for granted are unimaginable to me. My future no longer carries an air of mystery or boundless possibility. They make me feel old and lacking in accomplishment.

He hath a certain beauty in his life
That makes mine ugly.

Wm. Shakespeare

Spent some time feeling inferior
Standing in front of my mirror

Every Picture Tells a Story
Rod Stewart

* * *

I’ll tell you one thing I don’t envy—their pathetic addiction to mobile phones. It’s the adult version of a sippy cup. While visiting the county fair in Ohio last week, I was watching The Daughters on the bumper cars. A kid was reading text messages while in the middle of his bumper car ride. Sounds ridiculous but here’s photographic proof:


He can’t disengage from his phone long enough to enjoy a proper bashing on the bumper cars. Do you know what’s even sadder? ANOTHER kid on the SAME ride who placed a phone call while driving the car!


They’ve always said that cell phones and driving are a hazardous mix but I suppose it’s irrelevant here. Last Sunday, my bride was in a minor fender bender. She was waiting for the light to change and in her rear view mirror, she saw the car behind her slowly creeping up. Its driver, a young girl, was yapping away on her phone. Bump. They got out of the car and she denied being on the phone. My bride gave her the old “don’t lie to me” and she immediately buckled and admitted fault. She got her driver’s license on Friday. It took her less than 48 hours to get in an accident because she was on the phone.

* * *

A boy und his mutt. Voof.


34 thoughts on “Generation Landslide

  1. their pathetic addiction to mobile phones. It’s the adult version of a sippy cup.

    I am going to steal this!

    And you have no need to feel old and inferior. Think of all those experiences you’ve had, even the not-so-goods, that the privileged can never know. Yes, I would have liked a little largesse scattered my way, but damn! I’ve had some fun, too.

    Commiserations to Mrs.Wife.Glad it was not owrse.

    • I’m beginning to think that mobile phones weren’t such a great invention after all. They harm society on a certain level. There’s no doubt.

      I’m not delusional enough to think I’ve got it bad. I don’t. But I occasionally wonder how far I would have gone if I had had a leg up or some help. We’ll never know.

  2. Being an investment banker is no longer anything to be proud of. I reckon they’re the ones who’ll be feeling unworthy when they meet artists and scientists whose achievements amount to something more than taking a cut from big transactions.

    • Actually, some of the interns get a taste of what that work entails and they bail out and find another career. It’s not to their liking. I know of one who finished the summer intern program and immediately went into nursing afterwards. But don’t kid yourself. There’s still plenty of people who admire, and aspire to, that black hat image.

  3. i can’t even BEGIN to comment on the first part of your post, sugar! OK, except to echo what dinahmow said: it ain’t you, babe, who should feel less than.

    glad Mrs. Wife is OK. i hope the little girl who was driving has learned her lesson! xoxoxoxox

    • I have my moments of self-doubt. Don’t we all? Isn’t that part of the human condition? Didn’t those moments inspire Rod Steward and The Bard?

      In my experience, they never seem to learn their lesson. But I hope you’re right.

  4. You know the girl driving the bumper car? I can guarantee when she is old enough she will be on her phone while she drives her car as well. There should be a device that shuts cells phone off as long as the engine is running…..
    Had a great visit with you thanks for the drive home! See you in about about 123 days.

    • Yes, real accidents next time instead of intentional ones. I think they’re working on a device that won’t work if it detects your phone moving in a car.

      Thanks for your hospitality. Fun video from demolition derby to be posted next week. Stay tuned.

  5. Technology shall be the downfall of us all. Yes, a direct quote from me. I tell my friends and family that all the time, and everyone can witness it for themselves as related in the movie Wall-E.

    Once again, great post.

    • It’s going to have to become socially unacceptable before anything changes. It took a while to condemn drinking and driving—”One for my baby and another one for the road”—but it’ll happen. The sooner the better.

      • That was flirting?? 😉 I am currently gloriously unobtainable. (Or at least one of my friends told me I should be projecting that attitude right now.) Do you think it’s working??

      • Men are famous for misinterpreting a woman’s signals. They often mean nothing at all but we’ll make something out of it. It’s what we do best. It was passed down by our fathers.

  6. it’s not just the ‘kids’ and their smartphone addictions. i am getting openly rude and pissed off at ANYONE in my company at a meal who prefers to play with a phone rather than enjoy the people assembled in real life. there’s a game now for restaurants — pile all phones in the middle of the table when orders are placed. if ANYONE grabs a phone before the bill is presented at the end of the meal? They pick up the tab. It works… and is fun to watch the most seriously addicted tweak!

    As for the silver-spooners? i appreciate your honesty – we all have those moments and i suppose it’s ok, so long as we don’t wallow. i wonder what i could have been if i’d have quit getting drunk and tried to get into M.I.T. instead of a state university engineering program. but then i have a drink and say ‘f-it’…. Hang my favorite motivational poster over their desks when they have a bad day. you’ll feel better…

    • I was out to dinner with a friend once and while he was mid-sentence pulled my phone out. He stopped talking, starred at me and picked up his conversation thread when I put my phone away. It was embarrassing. I haven’t done that to anyone since. Lesson learned.

      I love my little pity parties but they never last. Thx for the link.

  7. I have a cell phone that sits in a drawer because the reception up here on my hill is terrible. The whole Cell Phone addiction is frightening! There is something very weird, to me, about going on a Bumper Car and NOT enjoying the true fun of it! (As a kid, I would laugh so hard I would wet my pants….lol)…Even the look on that young man’s face—Soooo very detached…..Sad…..
    They have passed laws here in California about driving and talking or texting on your cell phone…It is a BIG BIG NO NO—-as it should be… People still do it, but, it is a big thing if you are caught by the police…..Social interaction without Cell phones—a dying art! There is you and me at an intimate dinner, and our Cell Phones! OY!
    Hope your bride has no after-effects from that accident.
    And as for you, my dear one…..You have more going for you than any intern who’s Daddy rented him a house in The Hamptons, for landing an Internship. It’s all out of whack….!!!

    Love the picture of you with your Pup…..He sure is cute. And so are you, my dear.

    • There’s no other word for it. It’s an addiction and it’s got some people by the throat. It’s frightening how a gadget can take over your life if you’re not careful. You’re better off for not having any reception.

      Thanks for all the compliments. I’ve read them over and over already and it’s only 7:12 in the morning.

  8. I know what you mean when you describe such privileged ‘kids’, I’ve seen it too.
    I’m not so sure it’s as great an advantage as you think though. To a certain extent they’re in a gilded cage. To send a quote back at you…..

    “Plans are one thing and fate another. When they coincide, success results. Yet success mustn’t be considered the absolute. It is questionable, for that matter, whether success is an adequate response to life. Success can eliminate as many options as failure.” ( Tom Robbins )

    • A sage piece of advice from Mr. Robbins. I find his books a bit esoteric but he knows his stuff about life, yes. Still…it’s an advantage I would have liked to have in my back pocekt.

  9. Where I live in Florida, almost every stop light at every intersection I see the driver using a cell phone. Some are older people, most are young girls.

    • It’s not behavior that’s exclusive to young people but it seems to afflict them more than anyone else. (Listen to me blather. Am I not young? No, I don’t suppose I am.)

  10. Only this morning – chatting with my French family over pain au chocolat we regretted the young missing out on the birds, bees , flowers and all the things that make life bearable because they were glued to their phones.
    BTW I haven’t forgotten what I promised to do but have been time poor on account off lovely visitors. Will probably email to avoid giving wrong impression.

    • What are we going to do? Maybe I’m making too much of it but I really do worry for the welfare of people who are so married to their gadgets. I walk up 6the Avenue and instead of taking in sights people have their faces buried in their gadgets. They’re walking by an architectural jewel like Radio City Music Hall but they’d never know it.

  11. just so you know, since reading this i’ve turned the sound OFF on my iPhone before i get in the car. i also put it in my purse and throw my purse on the backseat! the law in savannah is no texting while driving, but i have to admit, i was guilty of checking my phone at spotlights! guess i’m getting ready for driving in cali next month! xoxoxo

    • Repent, ye sinner! Well…I don’t suppose it’s that bad but we have to TRY and not look at our phones. Me too! That’s an addiction, in my book.

      Best o’ luck driving in Cali. I’ll be there with my bride in September but it’ll be up north in wine country. Won’t be so bad (he hopes).

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