How Millennials Killed The “Living In Mediocrity And Pretending To Like It Because You Think You’re Morally Superior For Not Wanting Nice Things” Industry

sarah james
Aug 14, 2018 · 3 min read

Every year, I bring a tray of Plain Yellow Sponges Soaked In 2% Reduced Fat Milk to my family reunion. It was my Grandmother’s recipe, written down (how quaint!) on a recipe card even though it was just two ingredients and she probably should have been able to remember it. This unrecognized symptom of her early onset Alzheimer’s was my gain — I laminated that recipe and hung it on my bare kitchen wall with a thumbtack. Decorating complete.

My Plain Yellow Sponges Soaked In 2% Reduced Fat Milk were the hit of every family gathering, making a perfect side dish to Uncle Joe’s Badly Burned Discounted Meats and Aunt Sally’s This Jell-O Shit Is Dessert I Guess.

Mmmm, this stock photo reminds me of my Grandmother’s Overcooked Pasta With Hair In It

Until, as the years went on and more and more older relatives died from undiagnosed early onset Alzheimer’s, I started to notice: the young people weren’t touching my Plain Yellow Sponges Soaked In 2% Reduced Fat Milk. Or Aunt Carol’s Vinegar In A Bowl. Or Uncle Todd’s Prescription Xanax Everyone Pretends Is Ibuprofen.

I can only conclude that millennials have no interest in living their lives as martyrs, foregoing everything that gives pleasure to living just to feel a brief, fleeting moment of moral superiority!

I have a son, Joseph. Like the good boy he is, Joseph snidely looks down on anyone who doesn’t live a life of completely unnecessary self-sacrifice. He denies himself every earthly pleasure, no matter how minor: an extra two dollars for a premium instead of standard car wash? Not for Joe! Turning on the AC even when it’s 100 degrees out? What, like some kind of human who deserves basic comforts? Eating food that isn’t an Actual Communion Wafer, like a Socialist? No thanks!

Thanks to Joe’s steadfast belief that this self-denial makes him better than others, in thirty years he’ll be absolutely gobsmacked to realize that all his sacrifices were literally for nothing because life is not a race that can be won! He’s in for a bitter awakening when he looks around at all his peers who enjoyed themselves for fifty years and realizes they are in exactly the same position or better off than him in life, and meanwhile his youth is gone forever and ever.

This realization will turn him into the kind of angry old white man who society has shown is definitely not a danger to anyone.

I also have a daughter, but we don’t say her name around these parts anymore. Unlike Joe, my daughter went to a “fancy” university, where she (naturally) majored in Women’s Studies with an emphasis on Disappointing Your Mother.

My daughter believes that sliding a wet plain yellow sponge down your gullet and holding your nose until the gag reflex subsides and you can finally swallow is for “olds.” Despite all my good intentions as a mother, this young lady somehow grew up to value her self-worth. Well — I tried.

The sad part is, my grandmother’s Plain Yellow Sponges Soaked In 2% Reduced Fat Milk is actually fantastic. Not the dish itself. The dish itself is terrible. Oh god, when that wet sponge first hits your tonsils you will beg for death. But once you’ve fought every bodily impulse and wrestled it down? Once that sponge clunks to the bottom of your stomach and starts soaking up all that Vinegar In A Bowl?

The self-satisfaction you get from that is a high akin to telling someone you’ll pray for her, or sitting drenched in your own sweat on a hot summer’s day, or the sweet release of death many years before your time.

Ultimately, though, the joke’s on you, millennials. Because after you put the final nail in the coffin of the “living in mediocrity and pretending to like it because you think you’re morally superior for not wanting nice things” industry, you’ll have to live in mediocrity for other reasons. Like the economy.

Sorry. That one might be on us “olds.”

sarah is an editor at slackjaw. her writing has appeared in reductress, splitsider, the toast, and more. thesarahjames.com

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