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Today's Soundtrack: Seven More Things College Students Don't Need

Posted by Ben Collins, Today's Soundtrack  August 19, 2010 04:00 PM

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1) This poster:

Trust me. Your roommate already has it. He doesn't know what it means, either.

2) Or this one:

We get it. You like weed and you hate your parents. One love, one heart, one bassline for eterntity, etc.

I recommend this one instead:

It's probably much cheaper.

3) A third microwave.

No matter what happens -- no matter how much communicating you do with a future roommate -- you’re going to have a ludicrous amount of some random home appliance.

Trust me on this one: Unless you’re prepared to sacrifice one of these things by shoving some tinfoil in it and dropping it off a roof tied to an extension cord, it’s better to be woefully unprepared than to have a hilarious excess of Cuisinart hand-me-downs. You’ll do considerably better with the ladies if your room is outfitted more like Survivorman than that very creepy evangelical Christian guy from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

4) A seeing-eye dog that is not actually a seeing-eye dog.

Totally insensitive.

5) Your entire freshman year of college.

You’re just going to pretend like it didn’t happen anyway.

6) Self-esteem.

Check out, for example, this New York Times story from last month -- one of a preponderance of the same ilk -- that wonders why, oh why these lazy-assed new graduates won’t just immediately become plumbers if they can’t find a job in their field, for God’s sake.

“You maneuvered and you did not worry what the maneuvering would lead to,” the father said. “You knew it would lead to something good.”

He then turned his phonograph back up to a reasonable volume and angrily took two puffs from his tobacco pipe.

That last part didn’t happen.

Regardless, his son won’t become an associate claims adjuster or a cat groomer or a busty, desperate, blonde secretary because it has nothing to do with his college degree, and this dad’s generation just doesn’t understand it.

May I, for the first time in the history of newspaper websites, reverse roles here and present the view of a non-Baby Boomer trying to psychoanalyze your generation, Baby Boomers (who are, by the way, becoming ceaselessly annoying in their ironic, insecure cries of selfishness)?

Let’s give it a try: Most baby-boomers (and the nameless half-generation just prior) derived identity out of rebellion from the pseudo-caste system of the dynamics of growing up. This was just beginning to develop as they became adults. High school was terrible, sure, but they rebelled inside that environment. It was usually persistent underage drinking, self-flagellating and unchecked sex and drug use and general hijinx.

And they didn’t have Facebook. How lovely must that have been for them? They didn’t have Facebook for the confirmation of gossip. They didn’t have helicopter parents. They didn’t have a sensationalistic, reactionary media that called out parents for being horrible at overseeing children who would, in turn, allow parties where children drank and invited over weird, 40-year-old men named “Edward” from down the street that are probably heroin dealers.

They didn’t have these things, so they got away with them. And when they graduated from high school (and, in some cases, college) there were jobs immediately.

Their singular identities had already been mostly formed. They were allowed to meld that on their own. They’re now allowed to parade that identity in whatever job they have attained.

Not so for our not-to-be claims adjuster in the New York Times article. He just continued to work hard throughout high school to go to a respected university. And then throughout college (dude was dean’s list in college, too). He didn’t, presumably, get to crash Edward’s hemp-infested Ford Fiesta after a night of debauchery in the meantime.

So he has no idea who he is. He would, maybe, like a job to give him some direction. That is, after all, what teachers and role models had told him would be his for the taking (or would at least exist) if he continued on the ol’ straight-and-narrow.

Instead, this kid worked hard for ten years at a shot at deriving identity from a place he wanted to -- and we’re allowing Baby Boomers to get indignant because he doesn’t want to look at pictures of car accidents all day for the rest of his life?

Or I’ll just allow Mike Doughty to make a long story short, way too late.

“Schadenfreude-y pieces about millenials' supposed entitlement in bad economy. As if there were a societal downside to self-esteem.”

Now you know what it's like to be in your twenties and read a trend piece in a newspaper in 2010. Doesn't feel so wonderful from this side, does it?

7) Oh, and thumbtacks. You’re probably not going to use those, anyway.

Today's Soundtrack: Tober - Lunchbox

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About the author

Ben Collins can't help but search beyond Feist for the zeitgeist of Today's Soundtrack, his pick of a song or songs capturing the mood or events of the moment. His musical tastes vary from Strawberry Fields to The Magnetic Fields, from Low to Skee-Lo. A North Shore native, Ben has worked at The Boston Globe and Spin and is an Emerson grad. Make your own nominations to him at ben.t.collins@comcast.net or on Twitter @globesoundtrack. More »

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