It just seems to creep up on you, doesn’t it? Suddenly one morning you notice a few gray hairs have commandeered space on your scalp. This is precious real estate, considering how far that hairline has receded in the past year. Most of your old high school pals are popping out babies, and maybe you’ve got a few of your own. You think about mutual funds. The time to book that rectal exam is steadily approaching.
In life, it’s get old or die. And since you’re still reading, you’re aging. See that bright shiny speck of joviality in your rearview mirror? That was your youth. Gone. Wave bye-bye.
For many of us music-loving members of the group classified as Generation X, it wasn’t the above that alerted us that we’re closing in on “old.” Nope, it was weeks ago, when Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., and the Smiths were all nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The soundtrack to our pubescent years now stands alongside the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Etta James.
It seems like just yesterday we were cranking “William, It Was Really Nothing” in our Ford Tempos in an attempt to snap ourselves out of the deep funk of youth. Did we miss other musical warning signs that could have helped us come to grips sooner? Indeed, in retrospect, they were there. And it was with a hearty cup of Metamucil in hand that we drafted these handy checkpoints to help you determine where you, music nerds, currently land on the Gen-X geriatric scale.
☐ As stated above, if one of your favorite bands from childhood that formed in your lifetime has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, give yourself three points.
☐ Likewise, if any of your favorite bands from your adolescent years has, in the past five years, played a reunion show at festivals such as Coachella or Bonnaroo, add one point.
☐ If, while attending said festivals, you smuggled in a fresh Tums 12-tablet roll instead of a pocketful of narcotics, accord two points.
☐ If you can remember a day when MTV used to play nothing but music videos, give yourself one point.
☐ If you had a subscription to Spin — add one point.
☐ If you think movies like Reality Bites and Singles have aged gracefully, give yourself one point.
☐ If all you still listen to is grunge and/or industrial music, tack on two points.
☐ If Iggy Pop is the only artist you know who goes by the name Iggy (Iggy Azalea? Who’s that?), add three points.
☐ If you used to take Ecstasy, not “molly,” and can recite lurid tales of excess at venues like Roseland Ballroom, add three more points (you party monster, you).
☐ If you once downloaded albums, one song at a time, on Napster, give yourself three points.
☐ If you used to live in neighborhoods like the East Village and Williamsburg and now can’t actually afford to still live there and have moved to places like Queens or Hoboken, give yourself two points.
☐ Missed out on the Erasure reunion because you couldn’t find a babysitter for the weekend? Add one point.
☐ Learned HTML so you could put a song on your MySpace page? Add a point.
☐ You own a copy of Douglas Coupland’s book Generation X and have read it while listening to the Pixies’ Bossanova on repeat. Add two points.
☐ Because Frances Bean Cobain is 22 years old (way older than you were when you first picked up a copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind): mandatory point.
☐ That vintage Red Hot Chili Peppers shirt you own is truly vintage, purchased at Lollapalooza circa ’92 and not at Urban Outfitters last week. Add a well-deserved point (and kudos from us).
☐ You owned a pair of Vans and Chuck Taylors, grew out of that phase, and have recently bought almost the exact same pair at Journeys. Add one point.
☐ You owned a copy of EMF’s Schubert Dip on cassette and still might have it somewhere in your garage alongside dusty Jesus Jones, INXS, and Soft Cell tapes. Two points.
☐ Because riding up the elevator today, you realized that you were listening to an instrumental, easy-listening version of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” One point.
☐ In recent years, you’ve really started embracing the sounds of Bruce Springsteen. Add two points.
☐ Likewise, you have NPR permanently locked on your radio dial. Add three points.
Where Do You Land on the Gen-X Geriatric Scale?
0-5 Points – Relax, you still have a few good years left in you. Treasure each moment. Find a babysitter. Make that next show.
6-10 Points – It’s time to start considering adding more fiber to your diet, and remember to stay well hydrated at the next festival. Sunscreen is important too.
11-15 Points – You should start fine-tuning your shuffleboard and bingo skills to get a jump on the competition. You’ve probably started to collect Bruce Springsteen vinyl records, too.
16-20 – You’ve probably started to eat dinner before 6 p.m. already.
21-25 Points – Newsflash, you are that old dude/chick at the show now. Put a reminder on your fridge to send a support check to NPR next month.
26-30 Points – Lipitor prescription needed pronto.
31-35 Points – Hey, at least going to the movies is less expensive now.
36-40 Points – You’ve moved on to Nana Mouskouri records.