The Greatest Generation

I have to tip my hat to the “Greatest Generation” who survived the Great Depression, rebuilt America’s infrastructure, and stormed the beaches of Normandy to help the win World War 2.  While I acknowledge their wonderful contribution to the world as we know it, I think today’s generation doesn’t get the credit it deserves. 

For example, if you went walking down Broad Street in Philadelphia asking people if they’d sign up to storm the beaches of Normandy and be exposed and vulnerable to heavy gun fire, I think a bunch of us would pass.  However, we could get some guy in a cubicle in Nevada to fly an unmanned drone into Afghanistan and fire away on enemy combatants without a single US soldier getting hurt.  The other crazy thing we have developed is the AC 130, it’s essentially an enormous plane that can rain down enormous bombs with pinpoint accuracy.  These things are freaking spooky, take a look at this video of a real scenario, things get bonkers at the 2 minute mark:

We might not have the guts, but we’ve invented some pretty crazy stuff.  It reminds me of the quote by General Patton in the movie, “ Wonder weapons… my God, I don’t see the wonder in them. Killing
without heroics, nothing is glorified… nothing is reaffirmed? No
heroes, no cowards, no troops, no generals? Only those who are left
alive… and those who are left dead. I’m glad I won’t live to see it.

”  We are in the age of wonder weapons. 

Our generation invented Google, I cannot begin to explain how awesome Google is, I think its even better than landing on the moon.  Google has made every human 1,000 times smarter.  Do you know what a pain in the ass it was to figure anything out 20 years ago?  We had to use the Dewey Decimal system to find a freaking book with outdated information and hopefully the book had an index so you didn’t have to read 1,000 pages just to find the one thing you were looking for.  The one thing that puzzles me about Google is that I feel like we should all be millionaires now, like 20 years ago, you would have to have gone to Harvard for 20 years to know all the stuff you can find out on Google, but now a 12 year old kid can teach you about any subject with the help of the internet.  Why aren’t we all rich now that we know so much more stuff?  In fact, I think Google should start colleges and they can just give you a long list of search terms to learn a particular curriculum. For example, if you wanted to become an economics major in Google University the curriculum would be; Google search: Adam Smith, Alexander Hamilton, economics, John Maynard Keynes, and so on. 

Our generation invented GPS!  I was recently in France for the first time ever, hopped in a rental car in the city of Paris without a clue of where I was going, typed in an address, drove 400 miles, and arrived exactly where I wanted to be within 10 minutes of when the little GPS said I would be there.  I cannot imagine how royally screwed we would have been if Jaclyn and I would have had to decipher a map and plan a route to get to a small country village in the eastern countryside, but the GPS allowed us to travel in confidence. 

Finally, our generation invented cell phones.  I have absolutely no idea how they work, but I can talk to my wife from a boat 15 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean without any problem at all.  I can Google how to catch a Bass while bass fishing on the Delaware River.  I can text San Diego Dave from Wrigley Field, I can call Jac when I safely land on the runway, I can call to let my family know I’m running late. 

Our generation will never be labeled the greatest generation, maybe we’re the hollow generation.  We behold untold power & intelligence, but dispense it with the shallow purpose of Facebook likes and and allow soulless machines to do our killing. If I had one wish for our generation, it would be that we all took a step back and thought about how we choose to use our potential. Google altruism. 

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