At first I thought you were having a bad day.

Maybe it was your day off, and you were called into work, forced to cancel a much-anticipated afternoon of juggling practice on the mall.

These things happen.  Everyone is entitled to grumpiness from time to time.

But that time became a week, then weeks, and now months.

Every time I leave the parking garage, if I see you in the little booth, I go to you.  Every time, you’ve got your earbuds stuffed in your head, and you snatch my parking ticket out of my hand like it’s $20 and I owe you $50.

“Hi,” I say, every time.  Every time, I smile.

Every time, you do not smile, and you do not look me in the face.  You do not say “Twelve dollars” or “Would you like a receipt?”

You thrust my card back at me like it’s on fire.  I suppose you’d throw it if, by this point, I wasn’t looking at you like you were made of Nazis.  Every time.

Sometimes I smile anyway and say “Thank you!  Have a nice day!” because you’re the kind of person who could use a little sunshine sodomy.

Other times, I say nothing.  I snatch my card back and drive out into freedom.  And you are there.  Stuck there.  In your little booth with your earbuds in your head.

Fine.  Sit there.  You and your laptop.  I hope you get Rickrolled.

Maybe you’re a DJ.  Maybe you’re mixing up some fresh jamz.  Maybe you’re going to a leggings and finger-mustache party later to impress some girl with dirty hair and aviator glasses with your ironic remix of Ace of Base’s iconic 1993 classic, “The Sign.”

Maybe you and your friends will drink pabst into the wee hours of the morning, then retire to your respective dirty, matress-pad-less mattresses to dry-hump in time with the skinny-jeans stylings of pre-sellout KOL.

Or maybe you are a disaffected metal head and the only salve for the Tantalic torture part-time employment visits upon your darkening soul is to block out unsuspecting 9-5ers with an aural assault of indecipherable, melodramatic lyrics set to music so appalling, Satan himself would not approve it as a recruitment tool.

Maybe you should stop being such a jerk.

I just got off of work, you know.

When you’ve just gotten off of work, do you want some normal giving you dirty looks as you try to drag-foot your way back to your stinky apartment?  I think not.

So why don’t you just knock it off.

One of these days, I’m going to snap.

I’m going to drive up to your little window and just sit there until you say something.  I won’t roll my window down or anything.  I’ll just sit there with earbuds in my ears, staring at my iPhone.

Or maybe I will roll my window down.  Maybe I’ll pretend to hand you my card and snatch it back.

“Wait…wait….wait for it….” I’ll say.

Or maybe I’ll just pay like normal.  Then when I’ve got my card back, I’ll just sit there, staring at you.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thankyouthankyouthankyouHaveanicedayTHANKS

I’ll just keep saying it.  The little gate will be up and there will be people behind me, honking, and I will just sit there shouting pleasantries at you.

Is this some kind of revolution?  Is this some kind of inter-generational punishment for capitalism and global warming?  Do you labor under the impression that I am “the man?”

You should know this is the shittiest rebellion against the mainstream bourgeoisie I have ever seen in my life.  You’re wearing a fucking Rolex, for Christ’s sake.  That Mac costs almost $3,000.

So because I loathe you, because you are now my mortal enemy, I’m going to tell you how it is.  How it’s going to be for you and your fresh jamz and disaffect.  You and this attitude of yours.  Consider it a prediction.  Consider it a curse.

After you’re finished with your fixie bikes, unshowered girls, drunken sexual experimentation, and drug-fueled ironic dance parties (and you will finish with them, or die or go to jail), you are going to graduate with a middling, unexceptional degree and marry a nice, average girl and have nice, average babies to whom you will give weird, sadistic names in a vain and selfish attempt to retain some reminder of the subversive individual you think you remember you once were–a person who is slipping away from you strand by strand faster than you can say “Walmart’s got a deal on Crocs.”

A person who–you will slowly come to realize–was never real and simply the delusion of a spoiled upbringing mixed with traumatic exposure to political activism and set to simmer  on the medium heat of institutionalized higher education, a boredom & snot culture of self-indulgent esoterica, and, of course, white, middle-class guilt.

You will be forced to spend 45 minutes commuting to–and then from–a mediocre job every day.  Then, every day, you will pull out of a parking ramp in your family-friendly hovercraft at 4:30 in the afternoon, bracing to face the reeking stalemate of rush hour traffic, and find yourself face to face with some apathetic twit who believes himself too important to spare you a friendly “Hello.”

Every.  Single. Day.

That is what will become of you.

Don’t ask me how I know.

Have a nice day.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BECKY PALAPALA is the author of many unpublished poems, diatribes, and terse letters, which she holds captive in a homely tote bag in her bedroom. The poems that escaped can be found in online publication at Strix Varia, Paper Darts, and in other nooks and crannies of the internet. In 2008-2009, she served as a poetry editor for Ivory Tower. After an iliadic battle with higher education, Becky graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in the spring of 2010. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and dog on the outskirts of the Twin Cities, where she pines for her rivertown home and attempts to befriend the rabbit that lives in her yard.

129 responses to “You Listen Here, Disaffected Youth Person”

  1. Joe Daly says:

    It’s funny how complex life can be when you have nothing to worry about.

    The funny thing about people who insist on inflicting a jaded boorish personality on the world is that their entire personality rests on the assumption that people give a shit about their mood, and presumably, them. I have to believe that most of the people you described would be stunned to discover just how little other people thought about them.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Well, I kind of WAS one of those people.

      I hoped it would be obvious towards the end, but just in case, put the joke in the tags.

      That said, yeah. What you’re saying is absolutely true. The fucked up thing about most subculture is that it’s ultimately an homage to–and begs for the attention of–the presiding worldview. Sort of the acting-out child.

      Like, you never hear people talking about grunge without mentioning what it was a reaction TO. And every generation finds their respective subculture niche this way. It’s all kind of boring and familiar in the end. But it doesn’t seem that way when you’re living it. When you’re LIVING IT, MAN!

      • Joe Daly says:

        Well, I kind of WAS one of those people.

        My first line was intentionally ambiguous for that very reason. I relate because I was/can be the same way. Here in SoCal, there’s an abundance of dudes walking around with oversized fitted baseball caps, ratty white Hanes t-shirts, and oversized sunglasses, acting as if they couldn’t be bothered by the rest of the world. I want to stop them, shake them them a bit, and say, “You’re wearing a UNIFORM! Don’t you see how trite you look?”

        Then I realize that 1) I have become the old man telling kids to get off my lawn; and 2) I can’t imagine how many people thought the same thing about me during my different phases (punk, long hair, Mod, etc.)

        But yeah, it’s all different when you’re in the middle of it. 🙂

        • Becky Palapala says:


          The uniform.

          That’s the thing. The thing that just tears it. And all you can do as a person who has been there is: *facepalm*

        • Gloria says:

          “You’re wearing a UNIFORM! Don’t you see how trite you look?”

          I love you, Joe Daly. (You know- in a platonic, knuckle bump kind of way…)

    • Sarah says:

      And seriously, it takes effort to seem that blase, to appear that blech about the world. It requires energy to not give a shit. He’s probably a naturally very content and upbeat kind of a guy who has to convince himself to be pissed off all the time. Why bother?

      • Becky Palapala says:

        The front. It’s a front.

        Picture a weatherman:

        “We’ve got a blase front coming in, with a chance of post-sex weeping overnight.”

  2. Marybear says:

    a deal on crocs you say ?
    my feet drool

  3. Greg Olear says:

    I think you need to find a different place to park. Or maybe take public transportation. 😉

    As an aside, I think the word “earbud” is one of the more disgusting words going. It makes me never want to listen to music again.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      One of MN’s dirty little secrets is that the public transportation SUCKS. It’s improving as they expand the light rail, but it doesn’t reach out to my area yet. The second I got the job, I looked at the bus route, hopeful. I’d never lived in the city before and just assumed it would be a money-saving piece of cake.

      I live within city limits, but just barely. What’s a 30-45 minute drive in my car is a 1.5 hour ordeal by way of bus.

      No can do.

  4. Hilarious piece, Becky. And it resonates, in part, b/c everyone has an equivalent asshole they’re forced to contend with.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Thanks, Litsa.

      I think what bugs me is that it’s so random.

      Is it really that hard to say “Hi?”

      Of all the places to be a dick. It’s not like “Have a nice day,” is some kind of commitment when you’re the parking garage guy. I mean, everyone’s leaving.

  5. Sarah says:

    Ah yes. The Uniform. The “I’m Unique Like Everyone Else.” The “You Just Don’t Get It.” If only us drones to the machine could unplug from the matrix to see what was really out there, man.

    It’s like the window of time when we’re convinced we will never be like our parents, right before we become our parents (or at least a 2.0 version).

    You’ve got some great lines in here. Just a few of my favorites:
    “…looking at you like you were made of Nazis.”
    “sunshine sodomy”

    I put the bong down many years ago. I am now going to put my nice, average kids to bed, wash my boring dinner dishes, and work my mediocre job tonight. Because that’s what us adults do. And I bet I smiled a hell of a lot more than that guy did today.

    Comeuppance indeed.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I have to admit being pretty pleased with my “like you were made of Nazis” simile.

      That was the best description of the face I was making. I couldn’t describe it any other way.


      Fuck. If only I’d taken the red pill and not the blue one! DARN.

  6. James D. Irwin says:


  7. This is cool.

    I know it’s really lame to include links in comments, but, hey:


    I think we’ve all been that guy in the elevator at one time or another.


    • Becky Palapala says:

      Now Justin Benton.

      Why would it be lame to offer a link?

      Don’t call yourself lame before anyone else does. That’s so self-deprecating and passe.

      Also: Justin Benton thinks my post is cool. Eat it, SUCKAHS.

  8. Mary Richert says:

    Oh. My. God. Becky.
    (Ok, so I just wanted to make a 90s rap reference.)
    Dude, I love this. I’m pretty sure you channeled all the anger I was not letting out in my facebook piece.

    ‘-a person who is slipping away from you strand by strand faster than you can say “Walmart’s got a deal on Crocs.”‘ Do you know the epic hatred this generation has for crocs? I’m sure you know. It’s epic.

    Also, “sunshine sodomy.” I knew there was something I liked about you…

  9. Mary Richert says:

    Oh. My. God. Becky.
    (Ok, so I just wanted to make a 90s rap reference.)
    Dude, I love this. I’m pretty sure you channeled all the anger I was not letting out in my facebook piece.

    ‘-a person who is slipping away from you strand by strand faster than you can say “Walmart’s got a deal on Crocs.”‘ Do you know the epic hatred this generation has for crocs? I’m sure you know. It’s epic.

    Also, “sunshine sodomy.” I knew there was something I liked about you… It takes a special lady to come up with a phrase like that.

    • Richard Cox says:

      I’d like to second Mary on the “sunshine sodomy” line. Even though she can’t seem to figure out how to post a comment. It’s not like she’s a contributor to the site or anything.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      It came out of nowhere, Mary. Like God himself willed it so.

      “Sunshine Sodomy” is now a thing.

      I may level it against people without warning.


      • Mary Richert says:

        Sunshine Sodomy is totally now a thing. In fact, if I ever start a band, Sunshine Sodomy is probably going to be the name. Also, Richard is a smartass. You can delete my 1st comment if you want. I didn’t mean to post it twice.

  10. Richard Cox says:

    Being disaffected for the sake of being disaffected. Like Joe alludes to above, it’s hardly different than wearing the same clothes to your private school every day.

    I’d say conformist teenagers are the real rebels. If only they were doing it on purpose.

    People are so boring. Me included.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      People ARE so boring.

      We should start a “people are boring” club.

      What should our uniform be?

      Wait. I think there’s already a “People Are Boring” club.

      I think we should have a “People Are Tedious” club. Same, but different.

      • Zara Potts says:

        I love people. I don’t think they’re boring at all. Especially not teenagers. Teenagers are awesome.

        But people with a too-cool-for-school attitude are definitely boring. Whether they’re five, fifteen or fifty. And the guy in the parking lolt obviously thinks he’s waaaay too cool. Dick.

        What did we talk about once before, Becky? We should all have easily identifiable badges that sum up our true personalities in an honest way?

        “Trying hard to be edgy and non-conformist but really suffering from low self esteem and daddy issues..”

        “Tortured artist silent type but who actually has nothing very interesting to express.”

        • Zara Potts says:

          Oh, and I loved your use of ‘z’!!

          Mad skillz.

          (It seriously sets my teeth on edge when I see ‘s’ changed for ‘z’, so thank you for mocking it – that rulz!)

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I think this guy’s tag said, “Defected from fraternity. Seeking like-minded jerks for experimental drug use and eventual mutual denial.”

        • Gloria says:

          What would your badge say, Becky?

          I think you should dole out badges to everyone today. 🙂

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I don’t remember what I said my badge would say. It was back on one of Zara’s posts.

          I’m scared to give people badges today. People are all dour and defensive and concerned about Ruprecht the mute parking lot attendant’s humanity.

          “TEAM RUPRECHT!”

          “NO HIPSTER H8!”

        • Gloria says:

          Mine would say “Brain injury-related anxiety disorder and broken brain-mouth filter. Prone to outbursts of excessive anger or wildly inappropriate jokes. Just nod and smile.”

    • Mary Richert says:

      The phrase “conformist” fucking cracks me up… mostly because I actually used it with some level of seriousness in high school. Now I feel like an asshole. However, I’m thinking of my little sister in law who is 16 and nothing at all like I was at her age. She’s very “normal.” She’s in dance, hangs out with the normal kids, gets good grades, wears name-brand stuff (but her mom makes her wait till it’s on sale to buy it) … and I think she’s the coolest damn kid I know. I don’t know if she’s friends with the “popular” crowd or what, but she’s awesome and not pretentious or anything, even though a lot of people around here are really rich and snobby. What I think is amazing is when you meet someone who just is whatever they are, you know? And they don’t really seem worried about it. I don’t know very many people like that.

      • Richard Cox says:

        “Be who you are” is surely one of the better nuggets of wisdom an adult could pass to a teenager, I think.

        Or in many cases, the teenager should be passing it to the adult.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        Yeah. As it turns out, joining cliques is sort of tribal and lame.

        Here’s to the kids who figure it out sooner rather than later. I wish I’d been one of them.

  11. You’re right. That gravatar goes nicely with this story. So fun to read. So many good lines. This one, for example: “I suppose you’d throw it if, by this point, I wasn’t looking at you like you were made of Nazis.” Ha!

  12. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Maybe you’re a DJ. Maybe you’re mixing up some fresh jamz. Maybe you’re going to a leggings and finger-mustache party later to impress some girl with dirty hair and aviator glasses with your ironic remix of Ace of Base’s iconic 1993 classic, “The Sign.”

    From this moment forward I realize all future man-powered arousal in the vast and scandalous Fuckapalooza I plan to ravage with full soul forevermore, none of this pleasure will amount to a fraction of 1% of the pure satisfaction I feel when I bite into a fresh Becky brain twist on a hot roll. Goddamn.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Easy. It’s just a pop song.

      But that song is truly fucking awful and therefore exactly the sort of thing a irono-hunter would target.

      Hipsters don’t go actual hunting because that would mean going into the nature and slaughtering tofu in the wild. We all know they don’t have the guts.

      • dwoz says:

        You don’t know what you’re talking about. “I Saw The Sign” is a perfect pop song.

        …course, there’s such a thing as a perfect root canal, or perfect proctology exam too…

  13. I was someone else once, and then I grew older. But while I was that person, I was pissed. I pretty much relegated anyone who wasn’t numbered amongst the six friends I had who were trying to record The Best Song Ever, as hopeless lames who made my minimum wage job regularly less palatable. I say give the dude space to brood.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I’m not trying to fuck with the guy’s space.

      I’d take even a lazy, “hey.”

      He sees me at least 3 times a week. For hours, he sits there. And nothing happens until 4:30.

      I don’t care who his 6 friends are. If he can’t shrug a “thanks” 3 days a week for an hour, he’s a dick.

      Trashy muthafucka.

  14. Gloria says:

    Oh my god. So many wonderful lines.

    made of Nazis

    sunshine sodomy

    drag-foot your way back to your stinky apartment

    faster than you can say “Walmart’s got a deal on Crocs.”

    I love the self-awareness of this line. The bitter self-awareness.

    You’re so goddammed funny, lady.

  15. BellaTheHappyLoser says:

    This is more like a rant with some very humorous lines.

    Generally speakling, I love this young generation they will help elect a woman president they will help gays win in the civil rights movement in your country.

    Perhaps the writers reputation proceeds her even in a parking garage.

    Try giving this kid all the autographed copies of your TNB writ, he might perk up out of ignorance towards you.

    Try a car pool if this is such a big matter, let somebody else hand him the ticket.

    Talk to his boss, tell him the kid needs the minimum in customer service.

    but to create this monster out of just a kid with music and a computer is really just a rant
    with a funny line here and one there.

    My God , listening to music ..then there is hope.

    Yeah, hope is what I get out of this piece

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Bella, where on earth did you get the idea that this was a “big matter?”

      It’s a joke, and it’s a joke about ME and my getting older, not about him and his being young.

      But I have to admit, I’m curious about the gays winning the civil rights movement.

      I could put a couple of bucks on that. What do you suppose the spread will be? I’ve got gays by 10.

      Their offense is, dare I say, FABulous.

  16. Simon Smithson says:

    Nothing, to me, said it better than Grand Theft Auto in regards, I think, to Mods:

    ‘We are an army of strangely dressed, deeply-confused, pseudo-individual conformists!’

  17. Simone says:

    “A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.”
    ~ Richard Whately

    He may be a snot-nosed, Emo-Goth-DJ-Conformist-What-Ever-You-Wanna-Call-Him, but he’s still a person. Perhaps you’re painting him with the wrong brush?

    Becky, what’s the guy’s name?

    Food for thought…

  18. mel says:

    I feel you should dig through your purse for half an hour and keep saying ” I know its here somewhere…somewhere…is this it…nope!…hmmm”

  19. mel says:

    I dont trust people who dont ever smile while working. there is too little joy already in the world and these sour pusses dont know how much ” good morning or “good afternoon” can mean to somebody. often they arent even aware they are frowning.

  20. mel says:

    a linty lemon drop sounds perfect. I’m always embarrassed when i have to give somebody a sticky quarter. i try to wipe it off first lol

  21. Matt says:

    I was going to comment on this piece, but…meh.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Yeah. I wasn’t even going to post it.

      Then I was like, “whatev.”

      • Matt says:

        I think your disaffected youth person might have had a brother who worked at the French Quarter parking garage where I used to leave my car while I was working down there. The surly, disenfranchised bastard is one of the reasons I taught myself to get better about hunting down parking spaces on the street. Fucking snotface.

  22. Slade Ham says:

    Ah, to hang out with the rebel that built the Becky we see today…

    These two lines: like you were made of Nazis and I hope you get Rickrolled. Goddamn hysterical. You’re a funny, funny girl… when you’re not busting my balls for my occasional musical side treks away from rock and roll.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Nonsense. Busting your balls is hilarious.

      I don’t think I was really all that interesting when I was a young rebel.

      I THOUGHT I was fascinating, that’s for sure. I was probably just obnoxious.

  23. Dana says:

    Nicely done Becky.

    “Don’t ask me how I know.” HA!

    And yes, I’m pretty sure he needs a hug.

    Sunshine sodomy = perfection. I have to stop at the grocery store this afternoon. I bet I’ll be mutter it at least 3 times while I’m there.

  24. Hahaaaha. Ha (inhale) haaaaaaahaha. Urk.Maybe I should just give in and start using LOL.

    Balls. I was just writing a piece about dealing with hipsters. I’ll save it for later, and post an essay about not dealing with zombies instead.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I won’t be offended.

      TNB could declare war on hipsters this week. Blitzkrieg. For just no reason at all.

      Something in the stars compelling us towards unilateral declaration of open hostility against neurotic young adults and their funny hats.

      It could be hilarious. Especially to tragic aging hipsters like me.

      Then again, I hear hipsters run in interweb packs, coyotes in polyester blend track suits & legwarmers, and I wouldn’t want us beset by them.

      Maybe best to wait, on second thought.

  25. Tawni says:

    Oh my god. I love this so much that I want to marry it. Now. I’m taking this piece to Vegas and we’re going close the deal. It just kept getting better and funnier and more painfully true as I read. It’s perfect.

    And now, Becky, I want a whole book full of these, written by you. Please? Thank you.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      It IS so painfully true.

      So very, very real. For everybody.

      Me & Ruprecht. Connected forever. The angst. We has it.

      This piece will totally marry you Tawni.

  26. Tawni says:

    I just read through the comments, and I don’t really understand the defensiveness. This is so obviously a humorous piece. And it’s fucking hilarious, because most of us have been (or wished we were) that too-cool-for-school kid at some point or another.

    Also, as a person who waves, says hello and attempts to make friendly small talk, despite being very socially inept and shy, I just want to say that it’s not that hard to acknowledge another human being in a polite manner. Everybody has been through tough times in their life and there is always someone who has had it worse than you, so suck it up and smile back, people. At least a nod. Jesus. It won’t kill you.

    There are very few excuses for blatant rudeness. I’m hard-pressed to imagine a scenario in which being a jerk on a regular basis to a person who consistently tries to be nice might be excusable.

    In short:

    Rant on, Betsy!


    • Becky Palapala says:

      I think,

      a) People may suspect or fear that I am exactly the kind of person who would say these sorts of things in total seriousness without even a hint of self-awareness or self-deprecation.

      b) People didn’t read the tags

      c) People believe the children are our future.

      Deadpan is a dangerous, sexy game, Tonya. You’re up one comment and down the next. Glitz to ghetto, moment to moment.

      I’m a loner Dottie.

      A rebel.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        ”Don’t ask me how I know” is the most important line in this piece.

        I think it’s the funniest line. It’s the line that makes it a humour piece and not just a rant with a few excellent lines of hilarious rage.

        Maybe a bit too subtle for a couple of people.

        It is very, very subtle.

        But that’s why it’s brilliant.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          And it was a very late addition, installed for exactly that reason.

          I almost took it back out, thinking I was obviating, because “How could anyone believe that a person would say some of this stuff in total earnest? Surely it can’t be necessary?”

          But I erred on the side of caution, since I have a longstanding (bad) habit of expecting text-readers to also be mind readers.

          So. In short, I’m glad I put it in and left it in. I imagine I’d have torches and pitchforks at my door by now if I hadn’t.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          I think largely it’s because angry sarcasm is very hard to pick up in text. There’s a fantastic writer at The Guardian called Charlie Brooker who does it brilliantly, but everyone knows that he’s doing it on purpose… whilst you… you kind of have a bit of a reputation for being aggressive.

          I think it’s a bit unfair myself.

          Please don’t hurt me.

          Like I said though, it’s the all important line. Without it I’d be grabbing my own pitchfork, even though I dislike the kind of young person described in the piece.

          Up until that line it’s all basically ‘fuckin’ young people, am I right? Grr, I fucking hate young people I wish they’d all wave or die.’

          All of a sudden we get, in a few words, that although the music and the clothes were different that was you a decade or so ago. Without that admission it’s mean spirited, with it it has a point, and gives the piece it’s humour.

        • OPR says:

          This guy is worse than Carol.

          Well done.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Carol of Iowa?? That [email protected]!!

        • James D. Irwin says:


          And which guy?

          I hope you mean me.

          I love being attacked by the totally anonymous on internet comment boards.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I *think* they meant the silent parking lot attendant. Reply to you was probably an errant attempt to start a new thread.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          I thought so, but I don’t like to take chances.

          Also it’s why my response is more generally aimed at anonymous internet commenters than a direct ‘hey, yawannatakethisoutsidebuddy?!’

        • Zara Potts says:

          No, I think OPR meant ‘Carol’ from my piece on Iowa. Carol the bitch receptionist in Des Moines who made my life hell for about ten minutes…

        • James D. Irwin says:

          I should keep up with these things, and I didn’t think I was being attacked.

          Well, I did when I got the e-mail notification which was out of context.

          And I hasten to add that the second lines were meant as a generic comment on anonymous posters, not an invitation for a fight— unless of course it was an anonymous poster attacking me. In which case… PLEASEDONTHURTME!

  27. dwoz says:


    Sunshine sodomy.

    Isn’t that a Donovan song from, like, ’65 or something?

  28. Ian Brady says:

    right on!

  29. Once that awful chain of stores Hot Topic opened in the mall subversive chic became suburban duds and American Apparel just made it cool to spend forty dollars on a T because all the models in the advertisements looked like stills from bad seventies porn. When I complimented one of my daughter’s friends on her jeans the other day ( they were creatively patched with velvet scraps) she told me they were “seventies punk.” I told her I was a teenager in the seventies and that we never labeled anything we did, we just were. And then I left the kitchen. Yeah. It was a bitch move by an old lady who used to be cool.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Did 70s punks wear jeans with velvet scraps? I don’t think they cared enough to patch their clothes.

      Sounds more like 90s-grunge-replicating-60s-bohemian to me.

      You could have said that to her and REALLY been that old lady.

  30. sheree says:

    Great post. Thanks for the read. Never understood why seemingly antisocial people take jobs where they have to deal with the public on any level. Makes no sense.

    • Becky Palapala says:


      But I’M antisocial people and even I managed to say hello and goodbye to customers when I was forced to work in customer service.

      In fact, my antisocial tendencies made me an excellent bartender. You wouldn’t believe how much drunks like to be teased, dismissed, and generally treated badly.

  31. Reuben Helms says:

    Oh, fuck yeah!

    I wanna take this piece and smelt it to a medium that can be absorbed through the skin. A transference of knowledge via osmosis.

    Then I wanna rub it on my knuckles, and punch that emo/goth git that’s sitting on the floor, in the middle of the walk way in Ikea, moaning to his parents about how he needs a rest, and how’s hard done by, and how life’s not fair. Then I want to see the change in his face as the tears from his throbbing nose dry, and he realises the best day of his life is today and it will only get better if he does something about it.

    I wanna hear him whisper “Thank you”, and then see him walk with his parents, instead of 5 steps in front or behind as though they are the ones with the social disorder. I’ll imagine that he apologies to them when he gets home for being such a douche.

    Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    • Becky Palapala says:

      That day will come for him. Probably not for another 5 years, after he’s graduated college and it becomes apparent to him that no one is impressed outside of the cliquish confines of University…but it will come.

  32. Judy Prince says:

    It’s the exhaust fumes, Becky.

    I agree with Greg about “earbuds”. You never know where an ear has been.

    And, Z—–I love Carol the receptionist from Des Moines! She’s just an earbud away from being . . . . . . .

  33. I’m trying to figure out if I would have been offended if I’d read this a few years ago, or if I would have thought, “Whatever.”

  34. jmblaine says:

    You should
    look over your glasses
    & shake your fist
    at the lad.


    Have you read that
    Stuff White People Like
    You think its snark
    then the prophetic hits

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Yup. I even recently read a critical piece…I can’t remember in which journal, but I’ll try to find it…that mentioned “Stuff White People Like.” It was about how MFA programs are getting into the spirit of things…encouraging the relegation of whiteness to shame-based novelty and inadvertently causing the co-opting of non-white cultures (often via non-white narrators) by white people as a means by which writers can assert their relevance, intelligence, etc. in a world where “average” white people stories are consistently devalued by the intellectual community.

      It made my head hurt, really. Very mind-bendy. But apparently, the desire to escape one’s privilege and relatively easy life is not reserved for the whipper snappers.

  35. JoAnn says:

    I like this piece a lot. Just the other day, I almost posted a comment on Facebook to a younger person I know (who is not, in fact, particularly disaffected) that he needed to pull up his pants and turn his hat around, then I realized he might not think it was funny. I meant it entirely the way you meant this, that it’s about ME and my slowly creeping curmudgeonliness. This young man I know is nice, smart, engaged in life, willing to talk to people, and probably was trying to be a bit self-deprecating in what he was wearing in the photo. I didn’t want him to take it the wrong way so I didn’t post it after all.

    I made that decision for the same reason I get irritated with guys like the one you describe. Life is just too short to put up with crap, and if I have a choice in whether I dish it out or not, maybe I can choose not to do that. Being crappy to people doesn’t make me look any more witty or intelligent.

    Some people just take a long time to figure that out.

    Great piece, Becky. I shared it on my Facebook profile. I agree with James, that the line, “don’t ask me how I know” is perfect. It’s good without it, but with it, it’s perfect.

    I admire a well-done rant. Some of the best writing I see is rants. Much of the best writing I DO is rants!

    • Becky Palapala says:

      It’s tough, right?

      Part of you believes the “pull your pants up!” thing. And part of you sees the you that believes that and just shakes her head.

      I mean, I think–this is my theory, anyway–being curmudgeonly is sort of like being crazy.

      If you suspect you are, you can’t be TOO bad. Right?

      • JoAnn says:

        Right, Becky! At least, that’s what I’d LIKE to think, anyway! It’s my operating theory for the time being, until I get to be too curmudgeonly to notice that about myself anymore.

  36. TammyAllen says:

    This was great and soooo true. I was innocent and sweet once. Then those people got a hold of me and I turned into a sour, punk. Then the guitar carrying delusional wannabe. Now I’m what Gloria said.

  37. Sara H says:

    I really enjoyed all this, but probably shouldn’t have scrolled through most of the comments. Over analytics take the magic out and all.

    Anyway, this made me laugh, and even without the tags, I got what you meant.

  38. david long says:

    i wouldnt mind the angle of this ‘humor’ piece of it wasnt so didactic for no real reason. does anyone here actually socialize with ‘these people’ and realize they’re actually super normal? perhaps you’re just put off by a subculture you dont understand and cant concretely define…leading to out of touch comments about skinny jeans and irony. (damn you hipsters and your re evaluation of culture! if you mix Wagner and Timbaland there’s no way it’s sincere!)

    what happens when I blindly and unsubtly (read: humor piece with self righteous, unfunny subtext) analyze the denizens of this circle jerk of a comments thread the same way you are subculture X? it seems that most people here are just upset because:
    they have no talent… and as delineated by the attitudes/comments in this section, this was clearly the result of the institution (college) which birthed their spineless determination to exceed at mediocrity. definitely not the fact that their mediocrity came first and endless nights of university beer pong and bong rips only reinforced that they had no where to go in life and they were never going to try. I guess the harsh reality of hard work failed on you in school, so any modicum of ability/talent was turned to dust once the sweet partyfest of state university “failed” you.
    I, too, would be angry if my daily routine was faced with an individual who just didnt “get it”. they just didn’t “get” that they should give up now because they are bound to live a mediocre life. then they can finally grow up and blog about how they never worked hard too.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      With all due respect, David, I think you missed the point.

      By a long shot.

      The humor in it is, in fact, exactly what you describe. It’s a rip on how out of touch I’VE become, how I have, indeed, become all these things you describe.

      Which you’d know if you’d actually read the comments as you claim.

      But your indignation, defensiveness, and apparent self-seriousness in the face of obvious and explicit self-deprecation does, at the end of the day, make the whole thing that much more hilarious. At least to me.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Judy Prince says:

        I think your post is a marvelous rant, Becky. I didn’t see it, ever, as your pointing to yourself at a certain stage, but that idea seems reasonable, and it doesn’t vitiate the power of the rant itself. A humourous rant, like all excellent TNB rants, is what it felt like to me.

        I also don’t see it as a diatribe against a certain group or even age of folk. All of us have come up against—-and been, ourselves—-the actively bored, pissed-off, impolite, ignoring denizens of the workworld. How could we not be? Who in the world adores his/her work? Parts of it, p’raps, but the everyday everyday everyday same stuff? No. We tolerate it, and we tolerate the sameness of responses, faces, phrases, cute remarks, even boring courtesies. But we customarily leaven our despises of the humdrum with Real Life plans and dreams concocted and even provoked by our dreary work life moments. This is what you’ve imaginatively done.

        You, further, chose the best of work roles for this obnoxious twit: a parking lot cashier.

        Example in point: In Washington DC, Rodent and I watched my son and several other car parkers, after a couple hours at a restaurant, comb several blocks to find the parking garage they’d parked their cars in. It would’ve been funny if we weren’t all so furious. The garage had closed for the night at 9 pm, had pulled down its gate/door with no notices, no signs, nothing—-and it was just inside a building which, also, had closed its doors for the night. He eventually cellphoned the illustrious parking garage, got brief directions from a security guard.

        Doubtless, there’s something dispiriting about parking places. A bunch of spiritless automobiles, machines-du-century, with no flesh to flail. But the owners can be lacerated with discourtesy of temporary power-holders and their allowable limitless continuous ignoring of customers.

        I think you ought to post this piece to Huffington.

        • Gloria says:

          Well, I wasn’t going to jump in, but since Judy did…

          I agree with you, Judy, this piece didn’t seem like an unnecessarily mean spirited rant to me, either. Further, Becky categorized it in humor, which indicates that it’s only partially serious, if at all. And the best comedians use stereotypes to make their jokes – which Becky does beautifully. It makes her no more or less judgmental than any other humorist.

          Also, David, I’d like to point out that there is an element of truth to all stereotypes, as you must know, seeing that you’re clearly an educated individual. I find it interesting that you assume so much about this particular individual that Becky is referring to – and, unless you’re him (in which case you’re being sneaky) you *might* just be projecting. You’re assuming as much about him as you accuse Becky of assuming. How do you know the parking lot guy isn’t also doing bong rips and beer pong? How do you know he’s so smart – that he has a modicum of ability/talent? He may or may not. But, really, I don’t think Becky’s point was about this kid at all; he was just a launching pad for Becky to make some hilarious and self-deprecating observations about herself.

          I agree with Judy, Becky – you should try to solicit this somewhere. It’s tremendously clever.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          At the risk of explicating, it’s safe to say it’s about young people and old people and all people and their imagined, self-aggrandizing, quixotic battles with mundane aspects of daily life. Sort of like David doing intense emotional, generational, cultural, and maybe even ideological (??) battle with this post. I mean, no one fucking cares. Lighten up. Saving literature and the world one “blog post,” at a time, is he? Surprisingly enough (or not surprisingly at all), I’ve been THERE, too.

          That’s all there really is to say about it. I’m mocking us all, and David turned himself into a case in point. It’s a perfect accessory to the post. I think if this post were a book, I would use David as a blurb.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Yeah, Becky, it’s safe to say, as you did, that your post is “about young people and old people and all people and their imagined, self-aggrandizing, quixotic battles with mundane aspects of daily life.” Great the way you put it.

  39. I don’t know which was more fun. The comments or your actual riff on blase! Dude.

    This was total lunchtime entertainment. Thank you!

    • Becky Palapala says:

      No one was so surprised as me, man. I thought I was releasing some light hardy-hars into the interwebs, but apparently, some people find it pretty weighty.

      I’ve been accused of blowing my GPA playing beer pong!

      I should take it as a compliment. I don’t think beer pong was even invented when I was Ruprecht’s age. We only had beer bongs and keg stands. Uphill. Both ways.

      • I had fun with it. I saw nothing but sarcasm, which I needed a heavy dose of in the middle of this work day.

        One thing is for sure. If I’m ever a professor again at a JC, I’m going to drink a whole lot more.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Why not?

          The kids are.

          And some of them do it all and still manage to booze waltz, sway, and stumble onto the dean’s list every semester. *ahem*

          The “hard work” of college is in fact so lacking in challenge that one can do it drunk and/or on half a brain, which is why so many students do it that way. People who go to Harvard rather than State U have to drink one night a week less, however. Because it costs $50,000 more.

        • That’s funny. And the truth too, I bet.

          Don’t worry about those naysayers. People like that don’t realize you’re spending time carefully crafting an article, and a humorous one at that. Trolls look for any negative angle they can find. Your work is always funny, and at best, intimidates the trolls because you write with confidence.

  40. I probably would not have contemplated this was useful two or three months back, yet it’s fascinating how age evolves the way you react to things, thanks for the blog post it truly is pleasing to see anything sensible now and then rather than the regular rubbish masquerading as blogs and forums at the web. Regards

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