My Yuppie Issues

17 07 2012

Yuppies are evil. That was the message my family impressed on me and my cousins as we ran barefoot and free through the backyards of summer.

Now I am a yuppie with yuppie friends and I feel conflicted about it.

Also, does anyone even use that word anymore? In actual conversation? Or is it an understood but nonrealistic reference point, like the dialogue in Woody Allen movies?

I could illustrate a Dick and Jane book (again with the fading references) about yuppies for you. Do you know what I would put in there? A married couple giving me a lift in their Volvo as we embark on an afternoon sailing trip. Because that is exactly what I did last weekend. Popped collars and chinos were involved. Deeply involved.

As an opposite reference point let me illustrate another leisurely vision for you. Picture a large and sunny backyard in Pennsylvania. There’s a portable grill, probably missing a wheel, burning hot dogs in one corner of the yard. Beyond the large oak tree and fragrant forsythia bush is an over flowing septic tank.

My dad and uncles are gathered around talking about a childhood friend who had just signed up for a country club membership. They are shaking their heads in silent disbelief with their mouths hung open. As if their friend had just told them something completely ridiculous. Something totally over-the-top and unbelievable. Something like, organic food really is worth the price in the long run.

The message that yuppies are evil was not something that was just implied. It was explicitly stated in many ways, in many scenarios.

People that work long hours = fucked up priorities
People that have big houses = more money than they know what to do with
People who spend their fat paychecks on you = yeah, that’s ok

Being that I still live with roommates and don’t own a car, I’m not 100% yuppified yet. But I’m getting there. I’m picky about beer. Plus, I really enjoy shopping at Ann Taylor. Not as much as I enjoy shopping at garage sales, but probably as much as I enjoy shopping at Good Will.

The whole (white, privileged) world is becoming more yuppified. Or is it just that the gap between the rich and poor is getting wider and that we’re bringing back slavery in a covert way?

Either way, I can feel my yuppie issues fading. Which is probably a good thing for the nice people who drive me around in Volvos. But a bad thing for the side of me that still believes in the gospel of Damn the Man.

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