Poetry slams were never my thing, but they are a reminder of a now hard to imagine era where poetry and music fests made sense together. I didn't know much of anything about Maggie Estep other than her name, yet it still was jarring to see all over Facebook and elsewere that she'd died of a heart attack. My first thought was Gen X is dying. We'll actually all die before Boomers go away. But then I thought, is 50 really Gen X? It's damn cuspy. I saw a few headlines at the start of 2014 about how the oldest Gen X'ers will be turning 50 this year, but I work in marketing and for my company 1965-1980 is the rule, and a pretty established one. But I can only say this here because debating whether a deceased woman was a Gen X-era poet or a Gen X poet is pretty pedantic, tone deaf and not what anyone cares about.
I only began feeling old(er) when I realized that things I took for granted growing up are no longer the norm. I'm so out of the loop toy-wise that I hadn't realized how gendered they'd become. I'm sure there were flaws, but I'm only now seeing the greatness of a '70s/early '80s Free to Be You and Me upbringing where it was a completely mainstream idea that girls and boys could play with the same toys. My sister and I always had toy trucks and racetracks in addition to Barbies and it never seemed odd. Now there are girl legos. Hello Kitty wasn't pink and glittery until the '90s. Based on how popular this interview (spurred by a Huffington Post post) with the 37-year-old doctor who modeled in the above now-radical-seeming 1981 ad has been, there is clearly surprise at how much things have changed in the past 30 years.