I want to apologise. I know it’s not like a member of Generation Y not to be boorish, shallow and selfish but it’s time to stand up and take responsibility for what I’ve done. For wreaking economic disaster on people the world over.
The Global Financial Crisis is my fault.
It started small, like all human-created disasters, I suppose. I set up a system where the world became dependent on credit by laminating plastic credit cards during art class at Nunawading Primary School and lending out my pocket money from my Dollarmites account. I used my little orange moneybox to lend billions in unsecured sub-prime loans to people clearly unable to pay them back.
Soon I got into the habit of using the ridiculous interest I paid myself for lavish bonuses, spending up big on chocolate milk and sausage rolls, and unlimited trips to the local park. I even bought myself some roller-skates. Who did I think I was kidding? I was flying too close to the sun on wings made of paper money and dreams. It was never going to last.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Of course, once out of school, the years of success and greed made me aim too high once more. Having a job while getting a degree? Was nothing ever enough for me? I even went so far as to work two jobs while wasting my time over-qualifying myself. I became what is known as a “job hog”. But when Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull united in a bi-partisan chorus of “you don’t know how lucky you are, kids”, I realised how terribly mistaken I’d been.
I realised that infinitely more worthy Generation X and Baby Boomer workers were still unemployed while I was living high on the hog in a call centre complaints department. I immediately handed in my resignation. I wasn’t worthy of listening to a woman crying about the weather in Mentone. I didn’t deserve to be screamed at for the newsreader sending subliminal messages about spaceships. I hadn’t earned that right. Maybe I never will.
Even writing this now I am taking valuable writing work away for someone older, wiser and doubtless more worthy than myself. And for that, I am sorry. But I write not to ask for your forgiveness, but to acknowledge the pain I’ve caused. All of this is my fault — the whole stinking lot of it. Generation Y did this to you. You suffer because of us. Not just the GFC but climate change, too. Global warming wouldn’t even exist if my generation weren’t breathing so much air all the time. One might say the world would be a better place if we’d never been born at all.
We have failed you. And it is a burden we will carry — along with a dying planet, an aging population and degrading generational stereotyping – for the rest of our selfish, useless lives.
Courteney Hocking is a Melbourne writer and comedian.