I asked Nome to help me pick a topic for this week’s column.
She said, “Why don’t you do a hit piece on Mother Theresa and the Catholic Church?” I was stunned.
“Why on earth would you suggest such a thing”? I asked.
Nome smiled brightly “I thought since you’ve already trashed everyone in the computer industry, that you might need some fresh meat for the column”.
“I have not trashed everyone,” I said heatedly.
“Really” She continued, “ So far this year you’ve ripped into Comp USA, Fry’s, Best Buy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Microsoft, Apple, AOL, Dell, Compaq, Gateway, H.P., IBM, and Intel. Who’s left?”
“Well I’m certainly not going trash Mother Theresa”, I said lamely. “Besides, she’s dead”.
Nome sighed, “I’m surprised a little thing like that would stop a real curmudgeon like you.”
“I see where this is going,” I said. "You’re trying to paint me as a grumpy crank that revels in the past and snorts at everything new. Well that dog won’t hunt”
“Oh really, Nome pursued, “Last week a carload of teenagers in a Toyota with tiny tires scraped its bottom while pulling out of our parking lot. Do you remember what you said?”
“Sure, I said that those stupid undersized tires were a dumb, impractical fad.”
Nome smiled. “Remember your 1951 Mercury. The color was metallic lilac, the top was chopped, it was lowered to within an inch of the ground, it had no door handles and you could hear the mufflers in the next county. That was impractical!”
"Completely different thing”, I said, “The Merc was cool.”
“How do you like Rap music?” She asked.
“It’s not music,” I snorted.
How about tattoos?” she continued.
“They look great on drunk sailors and hillbilly truck drivers,” I answered.
“So would you say that younger generations are different than your generation?”
I thought about that one for a minute but I couldn’t help falling further into Nome’s trap. “Yep, their worse” I said, “We grew up in small towns and neighborhoods. You couldn’t be a jerk because everybody knew everybody. Today nobody knows anybody; you can spend a whole day out and never see a familiar face. People are rude and intolerant because there’s no accountability, they’re anonymous.”
“OK” said Nome “Let’s summarize. You don’t like new fads, or music and think the younger generation is going to hell, but you are not a curmudgeon, right?”
“That’s right. Age and experience have made me wiser and more discriminating. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”, I said.
Nome pressed on. “And what would you call a person your age who likes tatoos, rap and the rest of modern pop culture.
I could feel the tide turning my way. “I would call that person a case of arrested development,” I said triumphantly.
Nome’s eyes narrowed “I see” said she. “And what do you call people like you?”
I knew the answer “We are old farts plain and simple, and we outnumber you cases of arrested development ten to one.”