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Five Participation Trophies for Unacknowledged Boomers

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Five Participation Trophies for Unacknowledged Boomers

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To Boomers, Millennials have been spoiled by unearned acknowledgement. To set that right, here are five Participation Trophies they’ve absolutely earned.


There has been a lot of talk recently about Millennials’ difficulties in the workplace. One of the antiquated theories is that we’ve been spoiled by shelves full of unwarranted congratulations and meaningless participation trophies. These trophies are now seen as having been a catastrophic education strategy, mostly for going against the wisdom of the learned sage Jeremy Piven of Entourage who states, “In this life, there are no asterisks, only scoreboards.”

But I think I have figured out why the older generations are so outraged with these participation trophies: they themselves feel insufficiently acknowledged. So, in the spirit of “better late than never,” I would like to try and rectify this injustice and present a series of trophies to Baby Boomers in general. Here is what will be engraved on the base of said trophies:


I Worked 50 Hours a Week to Pay for My Kid’s College Degree in Basket Weaving

Many Baby Boomer parents worked through dying childhood dreams, corporate bullying, and multiple cardiovascular “events” so that we could choose a career in whatever we wanted. We “gratefully” accepted, took this statement very much to heart, and therefore proceeded to get really really expensive degrees in Comparative Moldovan PoetryClowning Practices of the Amazon, and just plain Communications.

Only for us to immediately move back into the basement upon graduation, crushed that our Brechtian Puppet Show on the Zapatista Struggle for Indigenous Rights didn’t flourish into a lucrative career. I want to hand you a trophy for letting us do all that without having a nervous breakdown. So we could have one instead. And go into therapy. Which you also pay for.


I Kept Novelty T-Shirt Empires Afloat

As a teenager, my parents wanted me to learn basic money management by giving me a little money. I took that money and put it in a trust to finance nu-metal man-braids, Adihash T-shirts, and patches of bands called Snot, Rotting Christ, and Anal Cu#t. And you let me do it. I’m pretty sure if you’d fought me, it might have escalated all the way to one of those Female Body Inspector T-shirts. It didn’t, and for that, you deserve a trophy.


I Survived the Television

My parents were the generation that had the TV dropped on them. It was a revolutionary medium. TV allowed young children to simultaneously experience the refreshing pause of Coca-Cola and the looming threat of nuclear annihilation in the same cartoon ad break. And that was only the first wave. Then they had children just as cable TV arose …


I Survived Rupert Murdoch/Ted Turner Television

In the ’80s and ’90s, it was no longer enough to learn basic parenting such as how to avoid dropping the baby. Now, you had to protect said baby from an endless list of bogeymen Rupe had to invent to fill his 24-hour news cycle in order to replace fading Cold War ratings. Bogeymen you never saw with your own eyes because they were really dedicated to hiding in the hedge, lying in wait for your child. Those included but were not limited to: the droves of guys handing candy out the back of vans, everything being a gateway drug to heroin, and Marilyn Manson.

So, for keeping us safe as infants whilst fighting the urge to chip and chain us, thank you, here’s a trophy. And thank you also for all the whiteboard presentations on how to survive the outside world obstacle course of pedophiles, unionized pit bulls, and raining hypodermic needles. They went really well with the motivational speeches on never giving in to your fears.


I Survived My WWII-Era Parents

I, for one, would not have wanted to be raised by my grandparents’ generation. I’m not a child psychologist, but I suspect that “the belt” is probably the ultimate failed parenting strategy. Also available was “the clergy,” a strategy teaching you parents using the belt is wrong, since the child should be using the belt on himself already.

Also, I feel like the WWII generation may have been traumatized by … WWII. Which I hear, in addition to being an infinite source of History Channel specials, was also unimaginably savage. So, kudos to our Baby Boomers for trying to squeeze in moments of parenting in between flashbacks of grandpa brandishing a bouquet of belts and yelling about soup etiquette in a volume that would suggest there were SS howitzers about to attack from inside the casserole.

I’m truly sorry you had to go through that. Here’s a trophy.



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Nathaniel Davis

Nathaniel Davis is a hairy, neurotic writer based in Toronto. He has recently turned 30 and abandoned his dreams of world domination. He now focuses on analyzing the people who won't. He writes weekly on medium.com/@nathanieledwardavis