Recently I was discussing with someone the notion of what a generation meant. As is the case with many things, there are many ways to define what a single word means.
One definition is a group of people who share approximate age who also have similar ideas, problems, attitudes, etc. One example is Generation X. I made the comment that I belonged to Generation Veruca. Generation V for short if you prefer.
If you recall the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from childhood then you will no doubt also recall the children who won golden tickets and admittance into the chocolate factory.
Veruca was one of them, a nasty little spoiled child—selfish and entitled. Her whining was constant. What she wanted was always a fickle caprice but had to be satisfied in the moment that it first popped into her mind. “I want an Oompa Loompa now, daddy!” was one of her many demands pronounced in her screeching voice. What made her demands worse was the way she leveraged them. “If you loved me then you would…” As if that was how love worked. Her distorted realities are astounding. Where the blame should be placed is not a question I care to try and answer. I am only pointing out some of Veruca’s ideas, problems and attitudes.
My generation certainly shares some of Veruca’s attitudes. It isn’t hard to find the attitude of selfish entitlement and longing for instant gratification. Sometimes we needn’t look farther than ourselves. But I realized something. It’s not just Veruca’s attitudes that my generation hold’s. I think every child in the movie has attributes that are applicable to this generation of mine.
There’s Mike Teevee’s obsession with the media (I’m sure he would love all of the new gadgets that we have now), Augustus Gloop’s gluttony and obesity, and Violet Beauregarde’s… well I don’t remember her specific vices other than the fact that she was fascinated with chewing gum. Perhaps it was her compulsiveness in doing or saying whatever she felt at the moment. (I guess it’s time to watch the movie again.)
The only attributes we didn’t get were Charlie’s (his last name is Bucket in case you were wondering), who if you remember is the good guy in the story. We missed out on his concern for the welfare of others, his integrity, his wok ethic, etc.
Of course we can be glad we aren’t exactly like Charlie. After all his family is poor (they mostly eat cabbage), he has a low paying job that takes all his time, and has no friends outside of his family. I guess his job that takes all of his time isn’t so bad after all; it keeps him busy enough to distract him from his friendlessness.
What’s my point in all of this? I guess that it is simply that we’re not Generation V after all, we’re Generation W, for Wonka. We’re an amalgam of all of the children he invited to his factory. All of the except the one who is worth emulating.
We, like they, may miss out on the prize of a lifetime supply of chocolate because we are like them, a rotten bunch of children.