Greg Johnson: It’s So Whack I Can’t Be Sweet

Greg Johnson writes: Im too young to be a flower child, too old for Generation Z or Millennials, too poor to be a yuppie, not entitled enough to be a liberal and too geeky to be hip."

Greg Johnson

January 01, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

We love putting labels on people.

If you’re not conservative, you’re a liberal or a centrist. The Greatest Generation that won World War II has nearly died off, baby boomers are retiring, and the lost generation of the 1960s became the driving force behind the “me” generation, which spawned Generation X.

A 54-year-old white male moderate conservative, I’m one of a select group that doesn’t fit in much of anywhere these days. 

I’m too young to be a flower child, too old for Generation Z or Millennials, too poor to be a yuppie, not entitled enough to be a liberal and too geeky to be hip. 

That said, I bet many ultra-right Republicans these days would consider me a RINO. I don’t understand why that’s supposed to be an insult. R(H)INOs are pretty badass. They’ll run you over and put a horn through your guts without a second thought.

It’s hard to believe there isn’t a clear classification for those like myself.

In the 1950s, America’s collective swellness (the state of being swell) was the calm before the flower power groovy vibes of the 1960s. 

I may have been right on and solid in the 1970s, but was so young then I really can’t remember.

Wearing my Vans, Jams, Ocean Pacific T-shirts and Swatches, I was, like, for sure, a totally radical dude of the 1980s.

Aging through the 1990s, I grew too fat to be phat and never had a posse to go rollin’ with. I was never a player, cool, hot, dope or had much that could remotely be considered bling-worthy.

I recall the first time I realized I was trippin’ and not the hipster I was in my own mind. 

A 22-year-old green sports reporter, I deluded myself into thinking I had more in common with the high school athletes I was writing about than my older colleagues in the office. That bubble burst with three words from one of those interviews.

“Excuse me, sir.”

Sir. Sir? Sir!

When did I become a “sir?”

I wasn’t even a mister yet, let alone a sir. I still called my father “sir,” now some teenager is using it on me? Can’t he tell I relate more to the young crowd than “real” adults, that like Stacy’s Mom, I’ve got it going on?

The problem then was the same as it’s still today — self-perception can often be more of an exercise in self-delusion, more fantasy than fact. 

I thought I was cool. Heck, I still liked the same music and wasn’t far removed from that generation.

Alas, I’ve had to submit to the painful realization that I’m not chill or a playa. I’m not a homie, dude or a dawg.

I’m a sir, which I guess is a lot better than being The Man. 

But can’t I still daydream about kickin’ it because I’m so cool?

Next time you see me out and about, instead of asking, “Excuse me, sir? Aren’t you that guy who writes for Cowboy State Daily?” throw me a “Hay, dawg!” instead.

Until then, it’s so whack I can’t be sweet.

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Greg Johnson

Managing Editor

Veteran Wyoming journalist Greg Johnson is managing editor for Cowboy State Daily.