Does Reality Still Bite?

Does Reality Still Bite?


My Saturday morning started with an early morning showing of the 1994 Gen X classic, Reality Bites. Fifteen years later, the movie still strikes a chord and makes me wonder if we ever got over our quest for nirvana in a world ruled by Baby Boomers?

Looking around at my friends, it seems we’ve grown up. After all, we’ve moved out of sharing an apartment and rent with friends, to sharing a mortgage with a spouse. We’ve traded the Big Gulp for Chardonnay and microbrews. And we’ve moved from The Gap to jobs with companies that provide benefits to our families and pay us enough well enough to send our kids to private school. On the surface, reality doesn’t look so bad anymore. Or does it?

Today’s reality equals mortgages, child care, car payments, alimony, child support and sucky jobs. We may have grown up, but the realities fifteen years later just have a higher price tag than that of Lelaina’s $400 phone bill to the Psychic Friends’ Network.

We’re conflicted. Lelaina’s father tells her, “The problem with your generation is there’s no work ethic,” while in the same breath he tells her to “use her ingenuity.” Okay, so we find jobs that pay us well for our knowledge and skills and it pays for the stuff that our parents and society tell us we’re suppose to have, all the while the ‘establishment’ is killing our sense of creativity, and the ingenious spirit that propels us to move forward.

Troy’s fired from 11 jobs, but all he wants to do anyway is play music. He refuses to sell out, even when everyone’s telling him to get up before noon and get a job. In hindsight, he’s a trailblazer and we all really want to be like Troy, refusing to sell our soul to the establishment. His courage to pursue his passion, something that his rival, Michael, the up-tight, Saab driving, movie producer does not have is still inspiring today. After all, an entire industry devoted to finding your passion has proliferated since Troy and Lelaina fought to buck the established rules of 9 to 5 created by our parents.

Vickie’s proud of being a Manager at The Gap. She lives for the moment and for that moment she’s content with the intricacies of folding t-shirts and jeans all day, even when she’s tortured with the thoughts of dying with AIDS. Maybe the fear of dying of AIDS diminished as we married, but the thoughts of lay-offs, failure, and missed opportunities continue to haunt us. No matter what the world sees on the outside, we’re always tortured with something.

So maybe we have larger paychecks and larger responsibilities, and maybe we’re no longer in “the winter of discontent.” But in the end, we still know that reality still bites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *