The 5-hour energy generation

Jared McCoy Staff Writer

Every now and then, I have to stop in my tracks and realize that—once again—I have become too busy. I look around and think that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Jim Jarmusch’s film “Coffee and Cigarettes,” one of my favorites, comments on this problem a little.

The film is a compilation of short films, each centered on two or three people having conversations over coffee and cigarettes. Pretty simple.

A segment called “Somewhere in California” features underground musicians Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, playing themselves, chatting in a diner about their music, and, of course, coffee and cigarettes.

Waits says that he and Pop are part of the “coffee and cigarettes” generation, while people in the ’40s, like the comedians Abbott and Costello, were part of the “pie and coffee” generation.

The analogy made me wonder how to describe my generation in similar terms.

After a little bit of thinking, the answer is pretty clear: the 5-hour energy generation.

We want fast cars, fast food and fast Internet, all as cheap as we can get it. Never mind the taste. Then, after all our sprinting, we crash because we haven’t taken in anything of value.

Everything in our lives is about dodging sleep (because it’s only completely useless) and trying to be as efficient as possible (whatever that means) to get more stuff done. We even commonly get our coffee in to-go cups because life is moving way too fast for us to sit down with a cup and saucer and actually enjoy anything.

Our convenience store culture has warped our thinking. We can’t just order everything we want or need in our lives.

The world is not at your fingertips. It is, however, within walking distance. Don’t try to dash there—you’ll be too tired to do anything once you get there.

We should all make an effort not to be busy. I think enough movies have been made about Wall Street big shots and Ebenezer Scrooge for us to figure out that they die unhappy and alone.

How will we be remembered as a generation? Will people in the future remember that we couldn’t pay attention and whined about not getting our way? Or will we take the time necessary to make important things happen?

I honestly hope I’m generalizing too much. Even beyond that, I hope I’m wrong.