Welcome back to the 3rd part of my long-winded list of the various terms from Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture.
I’m going to save time now- for anyone ensnared in Part II over the prospect of a doodle, I’ll show you it in advance:
I can’t remember what post I was originally going to use this for, but I wanted to use it at some point.
Part I: here.
Part II: there.
Paper Rabies: Hypersensitivity to littering.
Personal Tabu: A small rule for living, bordering on a superstition, that allows one to cope with everyday life in the absence of cultural or religious dictums.
Personality Tithe: A price paid for becoming a couple; previously amusing human beings become boring: “Thanks for inviting us, but Noreen and I are going to look at flatware catalogs tonight. Afterward we’re going to watch the shopping channel.”
Platonic Shadow: A nonsexual friendship with a member of the opposite sex.
Poor Buoyancy: The realization that one was a better person when one had less money.
Poorochondria: Hypochondria derived from not having medical insurance.
Poverty Jet Set: A group of people given to chronic traveling at the expense of long-term job stability or a permanent residence. Tend to have doomed and extremely expensive phone-call relationships with people named Serge or Ilyana. Then to discuss frequent-flyer programs at parties.
Poverty Lurks: Financial paranoia instilled in offspring by depression-era parents.
Power Mist: The tendency of hierarchies in office environments to be diffuse and preclude crisp articulation.
Pull-The-Plug, Slice The Pie: A fantasy in which an offspring mentally tallies up the net worth of his/her parents.
QFD: Quelle fucking drag. “Jamie got stuck at Rome airport for thirty-six hours and it was, like, totally QFD”.
QFM: Quelle fashion mistake. “It was really QFM, I mean painter pants? That’s 1979 beyond belief.”
Rebellion Postponement: The tendency in one’s youth to avoid traditionally youthful activities and artistic experiences in order to obtain serious career experience. Sometimes results in the mourning for lost youth at about age thirty, followed by silly haircuts and expensive joke-inducing wardrobes.
Recreational Slumming: The practice of participating in recreational activities of a class one perceives as lower than one’s own: “Karen! Donald! Let’s go bowling tonight! And don’t worry about shoes…apparently you can rent them.”
Recurving: Leaving one job to take another that pays less but places one back on the learning curve.
Safety Net-Ism: The belief that there will always be a financial and emotional safety net to buffer life’s hurts. Usually parents.
Sick Building Migration: The tendency of younger workers to leave or avoid jobs in unhealthy office environments or workplaces affected by the Sick Building Syndrome.
Spectacularism: A fascination with extreme situations.
Squires: The most common X-generation subgroup and the only subgroup given to breeding. Squires exist almost exclusively in couples and are recognizable by their frantic attempts to recreate a semblance of Einsenhower-era plenitude in their daily lives in the face of exorbitant housing prices and two-job lifestyles. Squires tend to be continually exhausted from their voraciously acquisitive pursuit of furniture and knickknacks.
Squirming: Discomfort inflicted on young people by old people who see no irony in their gestures. Karen died a thousand deaths as her father made a big show of tasting a recently manufactured bottle of wine before allowing it to be poured as the family sat in Steak Hut.
Status Substitution: Using an object with intellectual or fashionable cachet to substitute for an object that is merely pricey: “Brian, you left your copy of Camus in your brother’s BMW.”
Strangelove Reproduction: Having children to make up for the fact that one no longer believes in the future.
Successophobia: The fear that if one is successful, then one’s personal needs will be forgotten and one will no longer have one’s childish needs catered to.
Survivulousness: The tendency to visualize oneself enjoying being the last remaining person on earth. “I’d take a helicopter up and throw microwave ovens down on the Taco Bell.”
Tele-Parablizing: Morals used in everyday life that derive from TV sitcom plots: “That’s just like the episode where Jan lost her glasses!”.
Terminal Wanderlust: A condition common to people of transient middle-class upbringings. Unable to feel rooted in any one environment, they move continually in the hopes of finding an idealized sense of community in the next location.
The Emperor’s New Mall: The popular notion that shopping malls exist on the insides only and have no exterior. The suspension of visual belief engendered by this notion allows shoppers to pretend that the large, cement blocks thrust into their environment do not, in fact, exist.
The Tens: The first decade of a new century.
Ultra Short Term Nostalgia: Homesickness for the extremely recent past: “God, things seemed so much better in the world last week.”
Underdogging: The tendency to almost invariably side with the underdog in a given situation. The consumer expression of this trait is the purchasing of less successful ‘sad’ or failing products: “I know these Vienna franks are heart failure on a stick, but they were so sad looking up against all the other yuppie food items that I just had to buy them.”
Vaccinated Time Travel: To fantasize about traveling backward in time, but only with proper vaccinations.
Veal -Fattening Pen: Small, cramped office workstations built of fabric-covered disassemblable wall partitions and inhabited by junior staff members. Named after the small preslaughter cubicles used by the cattle industry.
Virgin Runway: A travel destination chosen in the hopes that no one else has chosen it.
Voter’s Block: The attempt, however futile, to register dissent with the current political system by simply not voting.
Yuppie Wannabe’s: An X-generation subgroup that believes the myth of a yuppie lifestyle being both satisfying and viable. Tend to be highly in debt, involved in some form of substance abuse, and show a willingness to talk about Armageddon after three drinks.
And that’s it. Phew. Normal service shall resume soon.
Oh, and if you’re after a copy of the book, try here.