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Boomer strikes back: ‘OK, Zoomers. I get it.’

“OK, Boomer” is the sarcastic retort to those of us born in the Baby Boomer era. It is a dismissive and derisive response to older people who express opinions that are seen as outdated, conservative, insensitive or resistant to technological change.

It is perhaps the equivalent of the “smart ass kid” response coming from me. What happened to “respect your elders?” Baby Boomers are, of course, those born in the two decades post World War II from 1946 to 1964. Zoomers is the label that includes both Millennials and Gen Zs together, born between 1980 and 2010.

Zoomers think we Boomers are inept with some of the technology of today and that we can’t open our laptops without acquiring six new viruses. And yes, on this issue you’re right. Just as it is easier to learn another language if you are exposed to it when young, so it is true with the latest technology.

I am reminded of two separate Jay Leno shows. One had a competition between two telegraph operators and two Zoomer college kids texting on their phones, to see who could send a message faster. To the astonishment of the college kids, the telegraph operators won easily.

That’s right, a 200-year-old, no longer in use technology, kicked their two-handed texting butts. The other Leno show gave Zoomers the task of dialing a rotary phone. Total failure. They could not figure out how to do it. Resourceful?

I may have to contact my kids to solve a computer question, but I do know how to roll down a window in an older car and how to drive a stick shift. In fact, if you want to keep from having your car stolen, drive a stick shift. Thieves these days don’t know how.

I fade my jeans by wearing them until they have holes. I worked for those holes in my jeans. I earned them! You Zoomers buy them that way and you’re paying extra for the holes! Neither patience nor persistence and questionable financial common sense.

The most annoying Zoomer habit, by far, is their use of “like” in their vernacular like, like three or four times in each like sentence they like speak. I am trying to remember the filler words I would have used at that age. The best I can come up with is maybe the use of “um” or “er,” a far less annoying habit.

Being on your phone while out with others is rude and dangerous while driving. When I was teaching and cell phones were new, I would bring a hammer on the first day of class each term. The hammer was inscribed “cell phone silencer.” Message received.

Later in my teaching, I adapted and embraced cell phones in class. Students could take a photo of information on the board or power point slide. And they could look up something on their phones that I did not have the answer to, in the interest of benefiting the class. We rarely had to use them.

And enough with the earbuds, please. I enjoy listening to music too, but not at the expense of shutting out the rest of the world around me. Try working out just once a week without the buds. Listen to and get in tune with your body as you exercise. Notice and soak up nature around you.

OK, Zoomers. I get it. The battle cry of my generation was, “Don’t trust anybody over 30.” We quickly learned that was both shortsighted and unsustainable.

Jim Cross is a retired Fort Lewis College professor and basketball coach.