Daniel James Classic Material Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation.

This is the thought that runs through my mind as the August wind whips into the car that goes barreling down the back roads towards Route 9 on a Tuesday afternoon. My mom is driving us on a routine trip to Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and Barnes and Nobles because I need to buy some new clothes and books for school. Black Sabbath is blaring through her car speakers because she used to listen to them and was dumbfounded at the fact that I appreciate their music. Just as the opening riff to Paranoid comes up on shuffle, and she’s talking to me about the first time she heard this song, I think that sometimes I was born in the wrong generation. For starters, the music was way better in just about every decade before my current one. I’m tired of hearing repetitious themes in hip hop, just as everyone else is getting bored with the generic, uninspired rock albums that have been infiltrating the airwaves like a sign of Revelations for quality music. Every artist I would want to hear play is now either resting in their grave or no longer touring. I’m left with, at best, second rate narcissism that plays like a 14 year olds mixtape of puberty and hormones rather than something intelligent and enjoyable. “Talk to me,” my mom encourages. “You look like you have something on your mind.” I glance over at my mom. At 53, she looks exactly like she did at 33. Her face has yet to develop a single wrinkle, and her golden blonde hair shimmers off the sunlight that seeps in through the window. She has not put on a single pound, despite birthing me 21 years ago and my brother 2 years afterwards. Even her skin looks clean, either lacking or hiding any sign of deterioration. She’s The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty. She’s every Rolling Stones’ album I’ve ever had the blessing of hearing. She’s Abbey Road. My mother is The Dark Side of the Moon. Do I have to spell it out? If this were any other decade I would have to talk. My dad would probably be there too, in a much more intimidating setting where I would be seated and the two of them would be towered over me, demanding answers that I would be terrified to give. They’d probably call me the bastard child and the one that they screwed up on for the things I’ve done. I wouldn’t blame them, and I’d probably sob quietly to myself while a battalion of disappointing and angry words charged their way through my soul and massacred my humanity. But this is the new generations. This is the new day. They’d tell me they love me. They’d offer to get me help. They’d support me. My family would listen to my monumental and life-destroying problems with empathetic ears in any given setting. There would be no removal of kinship. They would try to save me, even though I’m probably not worth the effort of being saved. I’m circling the drain; a lost soul waiting to drown. I’ll fade to black sooner or later, so why fight it? I change the album to 40 Licks. The opening guitar riff of Gimme Shelter by Keith Richards does little to help. I tell her nothing is wrong. We merge on Route 9.

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