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Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

by Eva Pasco 

Dick and Jane"My Generation," a song by the British rock group, The Who, released as a single in November 1965, reached no. 2 in the UK and no. 74 in the US. Considered one of the most celebrated, cited, and referenced rock and roll songs, Rolling Stone named it the eleventh greatest song on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Its most striking element in rock history—rebellion; most quoted line—Roger Daltrey’s sneer "I hope I die before I get old"; most peculiar vocals—angry frustrated stutter.

Just because we g-g-get around, I’m talkin' 'bout my generation back in the day when most of us Baby Boomers were uncharismatically uncharacteristically the antithesis of Sixties culture intellectualism and individualism, let alone radicalism. I’m talkin’ 'bout those elementary school days of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic when we sat behind our desks, part of the straight-and-narrow row, a strategic plan so we’d be visible to our teacher who clearly ruled the roost and didn’t put up with any shenanigans. Apparently rigid discipline, tough love, and regimentation turned our Sixties generation out to pasture, prepared to change the world for the better either through protesting injustices or initiating reform.

I’m talkin’ 'bout:

1. Dick and Jane reading series: See Spot. See Spot run. We learned to decipher words efficiently so we could "read between the lines" and question things.

2. Copying complex ragged addition problems from the chalkboard onto a small square inside 9"x 5" newsprint, folded and creased with precision like a well-made bed. We learned to complete tasks in a timely and accurate fashion before our teacher erased the board for her lesson, good preparation for holding down a job.

3. Listening, listening, and more listening to our teacher’s pedantic rhetoric as she doled out a history lesson. Ready to answer any question should she call on us, we engaged our mind and developed our attention span.

4. Reciting poems and the preamble to the Constitution by heart refined our elocution and sharpened our retention so we don’t need no stinkin’ memory gadget to help us find our car in a parking lot.

5. Standing behind our chair and greeting our principal in unison whenever she walked into the classroom instilled in us respect and courtesy toward our elders, nurturing our sensitivity to the plight of society’s downtrodden.

Talkin’ 'bout my generation, giving a shout out to those amongst us who have made a profound difference by questioning, protesting, and leading Americans to higher ground in matters social, civil, or political. Their guiding principles may have emanated from learning to read between the lines uttered by Dick and Jane.

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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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