I Plead Guilty to Being a Millennial
Guilty. I am guilty. Is that what you want to hear? Of murdering napkins, butchering soap, or *almost* slaughtering the wine cork, I am innocent. I am guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I am guilty of being a millennial. I’ve been on trial my entire life. No more.
Just this week, Australian millionaire Tim Gurner claimed that millennials will never be able to purchase a home because we “spend $40 a day on smashed avocados and coffee”. Much like a game of whac-a-mole, it seems like every other day some hack pops out to offer some profound insight into millennial economic precarity. Ironically, I imagine that the next wise philosopher is already busy writing a piece claiming millennials are responsible for eviscerating, massacring, or otherwise permanently quashing the “avocado industry”. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
Let’s suppose old Tim is right. The median price for a house in Melbourne, where he is from, is $389,000 AUD. Meanwhile, the price of a two bedroom condo in the same city is $530,000 AUD. Simple math suggests that if we saved the $40 AUD a day we’d spend on smashed avocados and coffee, it would take us 9725 days (or 26.6 years) to afford a house and 13250 days (or 36.3 years) to afford a two bedroom condo. At least we can start saving by replacing that fancy brunch with good old cereal. Oh wait, nevermind. Apparently, we’re also cereal killers.
Headlines proclaiming the end of this industry or that are proliferating like a tumour. In fact, you’d be forgiven to imagine a mob of angry millennials sacking golf courses with pitchforks and torches. Forget the narcissism of golf. Nothing screams joy like whacking a ball two inches in diameter across acres of perfectly watered and maintained grass while children in Flint still lack clean water to drink. Or that the average golf course consists of 75 acres of prime land for shrivelled old rich men to stroll around while more than 500,000 people remain homeless in the US alone. Come to think of it, I’m surprised we haven’t pillaged every golf course from here to Los Angeles already.
At the same time, our apparent hobbies and interests are the cause of our economic woes. God forbid we enjoy a nice cup of coffee once in a while, because everyone home ownership is only a latte away. Ignore the stagnant wages, the rise of precarious work, the gutting of social welfare programs, and the skyrocketing costs of living. Obviously, Malbec, avocados and our personal irresponsibility are the sole causes of our misfortunes, my generation-in-arms. It’s almost like there’s an entire fetish around attributing the effects of systematic wealth inequality to individual or generational behaviours, but hey, to each their own.
This trial is a farce. I will get no justice here, so I will let the gods decide. I demand a trial by combat.