"The World's Oldest Millennial"

Baby Boomers transformed, Thanos snap-like, from skunky, fringed revolutionaries into cable news-mainlining reactionaries, modern-day slavers who buried their descendants in mounds of student loan debt, inaccessible housing prices and a scorched-earth dearth of economic opportunity.

The much-maligned millennial generation, blamed for the killing of mayonnaise, tuna pouches, Hooters and countless other dust-draped doilies in the old folks’ homes, soldiered on despite diminished prospects, despite being stereotyped as soft, lazy, willing to freelance as a lifestyle choice, averse to employer-provided benefits in a wrinkled fantasyland-fantasia of greed-fueled wish fulfilment.

The world’s oldest millennial, not quite old enough or grey-flecked enough, not quite as appreciative of Helmet, Hole, Local H, Minor Threat, Temple of the Dog, or any of the bands that would later perform at the misnomered Riot Fest, or of Goodwill fashion statements enough to be truly Gen X in the Platonic sense,

but also not the fresh-faced college grad the high priests at the sacrificial temple expected, remembered reading a Time Magazine article during his budding high school days

about how “The Matrix” blended Zen Buddhism, Westerns, kung fu and many other genres to achieve something sublime and irreproducible, a pop culture moment that could never be replicated,

though “bullet time” eventually would be copied the world over.

Do you hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability. That is the sound of your death.

Years later, the world’s oldest millennial would drop by the velvet-curtained, organmic Music Box Theater in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood to watch Lana Wachowski interview David Mitchell, the Irish proponent of the thick literary spacetime palimpsest.

Lana Wachowski, who had been Larry Wachowski, who had made the biggest action movie in the world, who had recently seen her much lower-budget show Sense 8 be canceled senselessly.

The World’s Oldest Millennial, who was so maligned for allegedly practicing identity politics, whatever that was, watched from the cheap seats as one of the world’s most celebrated and financially successful creatives was relegated to nothing, an art house theater on a weeknight in the self-proclaimed Second City that was really the third city for no discernible reason, none whatsoever.

The World’s Oldest Millennial wondered when and if and how this misbegotten world would finally be fair to everyone who was born into it against their will.

Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio in Indiana. He was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary work and photography have appeared or is forthcoming in Selcouth Station, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Perch Magazine, Rising Phoenix Review, Chicago Literati, Dogzplot, Bull Men's Fiction, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, Lumpen, The Rat's Ass Review, Stoneboat, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. He once wrote an author bio that would have put James Boswell to shame, but accidentally deleted it and attached this rubbish instead.