People of my generation have heard that we came of age in a desperate time where a “good job” was the stuff of legend and student debt was the norm. It most certainly left its imprint on our psyche and has given us a unique perspective on wealth. Now more than ever, it’s not only socially acceptable, but quite chic to say, “I’m broke.”

This is not the brokeness of our parents’ generation, or our grandparents. There’s was a real brokeness, not an excuse not to do something we don’t want to do. My parents wore homemade clothes throughout their childhoods, and even occasionally had to limit the amount of food each person got at dinner, and they weren’t even the worst off. Let’s not get into the Golden Generation and the abject poverty they saw. Compared to what past generations have seen, our brokeness is one of mere convenience. This is not a condemnation of our generation—let me explain.

How did everyone in the Great Depression still afford to shop at American Apparel?

How did everyone in the Great Depression still afford to shop at American Apparel?

Back in the day, no one admitted to being too broke to do something. You didn’t announce you were a poor kid. You buried that deep inside and worked until you could show off how much money you finally made. Now you hear the term “broke” thrown around quite often, mostly at designer boutiques, Whole Foods, and upscale watering holes. We complain about debt and about how we have to pay our own bills, as we sip on marked-up vodka drinks.

I’m not trying to say we don’t face serious financial difficulties as young Americans. We work hard and make very little with little chance of advancement for a long time, but we’re merely conveniently poor as opposed to destitute. What I mean is we forgo creature comforts and occasionally necessities so we can get drunk and have fun on the weekends. That my friends is a choice.

Nothing says pinching pennies like a $10 cocktail

Nothing says pinching pennies like a $10 cocktail

  • To my generation, $20 in the gas tank is a burden, but $20 at the bar is a bargain.
  • $50 parking ticket is a travesty, $50 ticket to see Soundgarden is a necessity.

I include myself in this category. I complain about having insufficient funds and buy the lowest grade lunchmeat. You know, the turkey meat that’s always wet as if it just got done with a soak in a Turkish bath. (Pause and wait for everyone to stop laughing at that pun)

I question the description. Perhaps New Dheli Fresh is more like it

New Dheli Fresh is more like it

People make it seem like having enough quarters to do laundry is equivalent to building a solid retirement portfolio, but god forbid you go without a cup of Starbucks in the morning. We’re not broke. We like to say we are and even portray that we are. Imagine how this way of thinking will serve us once we actually do take power (If we ever feel like it).

Our infrastructure is crumbling? Have to wait a little bit—I heard Dave is going back on tour this summer. There’s a shortage of potable water here in our advanced nation? We’ll get to that after we all get a taste of this croissant and donut merger everyone’s talking about. The Russians are engaging in aggressive tactical maneuvers? WE don’t have time for that because OITNB just got uploaded. Just buy them a shot. Of what? I’d say vodka but that would not be politically correct to assume they’d naturally choose a flavorless disgusting version of rubbing alcohol.

Just kidding. Everyone knows they love that garbage

Just kidding. Everyone knows they love that garbage

You can see I’ve thought about this way too much, as I sit here with an empty refrigerator and a belly full of beer. They always say it’s the little things in life that make it worthwhile. And last time I checked a mug of beer was a lot smaller than my car insurance, so bottoms up!