Today, I am tired.
I’m always tired; it’s part and parcel of having fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. But today I am exceptionally tired. I woke up feeling peppy enough to run errands, and then I made the mistake of running three errands instead of one. By the end of the errands I was sleepwalking; I got home very grumpy, quarreled with my husband, let Rosie watch Star Wars for the second time, and declared I was going to take a nap.
But of course, I didn’t take a nap. I went to bed with the laptop and ended up on Facebook.
I sensed that I was crankier than usual and tried to keep my mouth shut. I scrolled past plenty of nice juicy potential arguments. I scrolled past people who insisted that Christopher Columbus was an honorable man. I scrolled past posts about the Melania-Ivana sparring match. I scrolled until I passed a white man who looked to be in his sixties claiming that 85% of black males were killed by other black males.
I scrolled back up to double check.
“85% of black males are killed by black males,” he said.
Eighty-five percent of black males are killed by black males.
This statistic rattled around in my exhausted brain, making less and less sense. How was that possible? It sounded like one of those math problems from the insufferable Saxxon Math textbooks I used when I was homeschooled. “On Tuesday, eight-five percent of black men in America were killed by the other fifteen percent. On Wednesday, eighty-five percent of those remaining alive were killed by the same means. Will there be a single black person alive in America by Friday night? Show your work.”
I read the sub-thread to see what was going on. It will come as no surprise that the man was complaining about the football players kneeling to protest police brutality, and defending Mike and Mother Pence’s planned publicity stunt. The statistic was wrong from the start, but that wasn’t his point. His point was that, if a single black person has ever harmed another, black people in general are not allowed to complain when police officers murder them. Complaints from black people are gravely insulting to veterans, of which he was apparently one.
“You must be a Millennial,” he said to the person he was arguing with. “I’ll have you know my generation invented protesting!’
I scrolled back up.
Yes. The gentleman thought that Baby Boomers invented protesting.
I’ve heard so much about the narcissism of Millennials, and I’m not saying we’re terribly altruistic. But let’s talk for a moment about Baby Boomers. I know, I know, not all Baby Boomers. Some of the most selfless people I know are Baby Boomers. But let’s please talk about the narcissism of those Baby Boomers who think they invented protesting. This is a generation that couldn’t say no to shag carpeting, Fonzie and boxy avocado-colored appliances, and we narcissistic Millennials are supposed to accept that they invented protesting. I suppose they wrote the idea down on UNIVAC punch cards and sent it through a time machine to the suffragettes, the abolitionists, the Boston Tea Party and every child in history who’s ever said “no” to his mother.
Whoever this man was, I’m certain he demanded a participation trophy for his son’s Little League performance, and then mocked his son for being such a snowflake as to have a participation trophy.
The man wasn’t done, though. He left a long warble about how the selfless fighting of people like him “gave you your rights.” So much for us narcissistic Millennials being endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I suppose. We owe our rights to the Leave it to Beaver generation. They’re the ones who invented rights, just as they invented protesting and bizarre statistics.
I posted a photo and a GIF of suffragettes on the argument thread; then I realized that I was far more tired than I’d thought, and I went to take a nap.
When I got back, I found that the Baby Boomer who invented protests had blocked me.
Sometimes I think his type of Baby Boomer invented safe spaces as well.
(image via Wikimedia Commons)