Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner

BOOK: Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner
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Other Titles by
New York Times
Bestselling Author Jen Lancaster

Bitter Is the New Black

Bright Lights, Big Ass

Such a Pretty Fat

Pretty in Plaid

My Fair Lazy

New American Library

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First published by New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, May 2012

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

Copyright © Jen Lancaster, 2012

Froot Loops is a registered trademark of Kellogg North America Company Corp.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.



Lancaster, Jen, 1967–

Jeneration X: one reluctant adult’s attempt to unarrest her arrested development, or why it’s never too late for her dumb ass to learn why froot loops are not for dinner/Jen Lancaster.

p.   cm.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58520-7

1. Lancaster, Jen, 1967– 2. Authors, American—21st century—Biography. 3. Maturation (Psychology)—Humor. 4. Conduct of life—Humor. 5. United States—Social life and customs—Humor. I. Title. PS3612.A54748Z46 2012 814′.6—dc23 2011048451 [B]

Set in Bulmer MT

Designed by Spring Hoteling

Printed in the United States of America


Penguin is committed to publishing works of quality and integrity. In that spirit, we are proud to offer this book to our readers; however the story, the experiences and the words are the author’s alone.

The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

For former slackers everywhere and
for Karyn, who gives good title



Author’s Note

1. Involuntarily Voluntary

2. The Evolution of a Bad Idea

3. Flipping the Script

4. Lucky Nineteen

5. The Queen of Kings

6. Get Off My Lawn

7. Generation Y Don’t You Do It for Me?

8. A Barbie Girl in a Barbie World

9. I Wish I Could Quit You, Gladys Kravitz

10. The Old Dog Whisperer

11. Don’t Blame Mii, Japan

12. As Seen on TV

13. Role Models

14. Peer Pressure

15. How Do You Talk to Girls

16. Ring of Fire

17. Bond, Jen Bond

18. The One About The Monkey

19. It’s Not Like Texas Didn’t Warn You

20. Quickbooks, Quicker Shovels

21. I Know Why You Fly

22. That’s the Night That the Lights Went Out (in Lake County)

23. The Five Stages of Grief

24. Generator X

25. When Bad Things Happen to Bad People

26. Death
Taxes? Can I Select Neither?

27. Distinguish Myself



We were stuck between meanings. Or we were the last dribbles of something. The fall of the Soviet Union, this was, the death of analog. The beginning of aggressively marketed nachos.

—Milo Burke, Sam Lipsyte’s
The Ask

Generation Xers were brought up on television, Atari 2600s, and personal computers. They are the generation that was raised in the 1970s and 1980s, and saw this country undergo a selfish phase that they do not want to repeat.

—Jennifer Jochim,

We’re the middle children of history . . . no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives.

—Tyler Durden, Chuck Palahniuk’s
Fight Club

Note: Due to formatting issues in electronic files, the footnotes now appear within the text, bracketed and italicized.

January 2010

hanks for completely ignoring me.”

I’m standing here in my cashmere coat, shaking. Whether it’s from cold or from fury, I’ve yet to determine.


“I said
thank you for completely ignoring me
. I sat out there with my hazards on for the past twenty minutes.”

The valet blinks heavy-lidded eyes that don’t quite function in unison. “Guess I didn’t see you.”

“Didn’t see me?”

I am incredulous. How did he
see me? I was in an SUV the size of a school bus and let’s just say I was liberal with my use of the horn. I was impossible not to see. Helen Keller could see me. Andrea Bocelli could see me. Stevie Wonder would be all “
Do I Do
see you!”

I’m trying hard not to punch this guy smack in his red windbreaker, so I’d wager it’s the anger that’s making me shake.

“Didn’t see you,” he confirms, not meeting my glance. Instead he scans the street looking for other vehicles he might park.

This is
. Not only did I wait twenty minutes for his attention, but once I realized he was never getting to me, I had to park myself. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but a) because I’m very, very lazy I specifically get my hair cut here since they have a valet, b) he’d already made me late for my appointment and c) the nearest garage was blocks away.

I had to drive down three stories into the belly of this semiabandoned building to find a cavernous parking area where the only light came from a handful of fifteen-watt incandescent bulbs hanging from the ceiling thirty feet above. I never met a parking garage that didn’t feel all
and like a sexual assault could happen any minute, but this?
was the rapiest rape garage that ever raped.

Then after I took the elevator upstairs I found myself in the atrium of an eight-story, vacant shopping mall. The only reason I could even see where I was going was because a few stores up front were still open and casting light, but ninety percent of the rest of the stores were dark and empty and foreboding. George A. Romero wouldn’t have to make a single change if he wanted to film another
of the Dead
movie here. That no one tried to eat my brain is nothing short of a miracle.

Which is why I can’t let this go.

I level my gaze. “Listen, I was in a six-thousand-pound SUV fifteen feet away from you right next to the sign that says
. I beeped, I waved, I sent up little smoke signals from the tepee in the backseat. Then, when I got out of the car to talk to you, you jumped into the car behind mine. When you came back, you ran over to the car next to me, yet you walked so close to my car that you set off my parking sensor. So, with all of these factors in mind,
how do you claim to have not seen me

He shrugs. “I don’t know.” When he exhales, I smell Snoop
Dogg’s tour bus. Ah, that would account for the slow blinking and vision obstruction and serves to piss me off more. Seriously, in an economy with people begging for jobs, this asshole thinks it’s kosher to get baked at work and then drive my car? [
In theory, I mean.
] Unacceptable.

I fight the urge to ask if he knows who I am.

Because I suspect that if I don’t walk away, who I am is the lady who gets her car shat in the next time she valets.


hen Douglas Coupland wrote
Generation X
, he was writing about me.

I mean figuratively, not literally.

I read
Generation X
in my second [
Of six total.
] senior year of college, in the time in which I briefly traded my loafers for Birkenstocks, khakis for flannel, and Wham! for Nirvana. As a poster child for all things considered “slacker,” [
Including cynicism, apathy, and un-cute plaid shirts.
] I clearly recall nodding my head and saying, “Yeah, man. You

Until I stumbled across
Bridget Jones’s Diary
six years later, I’d never identified more with a novel. Coupland gave voice to the ennui that every twentysomething felt at the time, back in the day when we were long on promise and short on opportunity. He understood us because he was one of us—trapped between the perpetual, collective optimism of those he labeled “Global Teens” [
Later characterized as Generation Y or the Millennials.
] and their Baby Boomer parents, our generation defined ourselves by… nothing.

BOOK: Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner
2.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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