A CEO I know was told by the young hipsters in his organization that he should get a new email address because he was still using AOL, aka America Online, which was a pioneer provider back when Al Gore invented the Internet, sort of the Pony Express of the Web.
I suppose that’s about as uncool as giving the young woman at Plan B Burger my AARP Visa card to pay for a bacon cheeseburger with kale salad and bacon bits — so much bacon I could feel my arteries clogging just reading the menu.
But as long as AARP keeps the interest rates low, I don’t care if I have to use that card to buy front-row seats to a Kanye West concert, which I have no intention of doing because I’m generally too busy going to AARP-like events, such as the international bocce ball competition and talks about how to plan for retirement in St. Barts or how to keep your joints operational so you don’t need knee replacement surgery.
Several people I know still have AOL addresses and don’t seem to mind. Once upon a time, I had one too but I got rid of it. Nevertheless, I still suffer a certain degree of uncoolness because I have a Yahoo address, which my daughter informed me is for older folks — just like Facebook.
You see, Human Resources departments and executive search firms can tell what generation you belong to by your email address, so if you really want that job, don’t let them think you’re over the hill, or under the hill for that matter.
At her insistence, I got a Gmail account because all the trendy Millennials have them, but I don’t like to publicize it because then I’ll be getting spam from every charity I ever sent $5 to and every retailer I ever patronized, including Amazon, Brooks Brothers, Pepe’s Pizza and some olive oil company that sends me promotions about Tuscan dipping oil.
Anyway, this CEO told his staff that he didn’t care what the young lions of the company thought. He was proud of his AOL address because he was one of the first to have one and it included his whole name, which was a common name, sort of like email@example.com. Nowadays there are so many email addresses and so many John Smiths that he’d need to create an address like firstname.lastname@example.org, which would be hard to remember.
To my thinking, there’s nothing worse than old people who want to be hipsters. “Old,” of course, is a relative term. To the younger generation, it means anyone over 50 — the usual suspects who’ve been initiated into AARP and know the secret handshake. Some are struggling to find jobs because the workplace considers them has-beens or could-have-beens. (I have to wonder about the state of our economy when Millennials can’t find work and neither can people over 50. Who’s getting hired, 40-year-olds?)
With four daughters, I’m often lectured about what’s cool and what’s not. They pepper me with probing questions like: Why do I have cuffs on my pants? Why don’t I wear jeans with torn knees? Why don’t I get a tattoo? Why are those trousers pleated? Why don’t I walk around text-messaging? Why am I listening to Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and the Temptations?
I recently bought a pair of black Vans sneakers, which are popular among young people. When my kids saw them, they started to make comments like, “Cool, Dad!”
The sneakers attracted so much unwanted attention that I stopped wearing them because I don’t want to seem like one of those geezers who tries to relate to the younger generation … so I went into the attic to see if I could find an old pair of Thom McAns, which were sort of the AOL of footwear.
I guess I’ve become anti-establishment. I’m not on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter or any other social media platform because you can get into serious trouble. Look at poor Donald Trump. If someone took away his Twitter account, his popularity might go up a few points, but then we wouldn’t know what’s happening in Washington.
Geezers shouldn’t try to be cool. Better to run at our own pace than run with the herd. Dylan, as in Bob, once said, “Gonna change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules. Gonna put my good foot forward and stop being influenced by fools.” That’s my new motto! Now, I wonder if I can get my AOL address back.
You may contact Joe Pisani at email@example.com