If you came of age before the era of selfies, social media, and participation trophies, you had your own slang words and your own fads. And all the new jargon and concepts buzzing around from Millennials—the new in-jokes, references, styles and social politics—might have you feeling a little lost at sea, getting a firsthand look at what older people used to call the “generation-gap,” when they shook their heads at you—playing your Nintendo Entertainment System in your Bo Jackson Cross Trainers. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. No need to waste a whole workday reading up on Snooki and Twitter. Here’s a crash-course in everything you need to know to follow along when Millennials open their mouths.
#1: “Oh, God! Kill me! Don’t let me change!”
It would be hard to figure out this popular phrase without understanding the context. When a lethal virus, known in the media as Hydra, swept across the nation in 2027, thousands and thousands of Millennials were killed or bitten by the droves of walking dead that spread uncontrollably, breaking through frantic CDC and military resistance. When the connection was made between being bitten by a zombie and becoming a zombie yourself, it became all the rage for Millennials who were bitten to beg their friends to end their lives, before they had to endure the agony of transforming into a shambling tower of putrid flesh, wandering the earth like the damned and murdering everyone they used to love. So, if a Millennial says this phrase to you, try not to roll your eyes. Remember that times have changed. When you hear this, you can either run from the infected and let nature take its course, or, if you’re feeling generous, you can grab the nearest gun and shoot the Millennial in the center of the forehead to end their suffering and reduce the chances that his or her corpse will reanimate.
#2: “My legs really, really hurt”
If you’ve ever witnessed the lifecycle of a meme’s popularity on the internet, you know that each meme that catches on changes steadily as it’s reused again and again. In just the same way, this fad among Millennials of aching, burning legs changed over time, as it caught on with more and more people. It started after the disbandment of the federal government and the complete collapse of civilized society. The wandering groups of survivors were having a hard time feeding themselves properly, even with the canned goods they scrounged and the escaped, emaciated cattle they hunted across the ruins. It wasn’t long before people started feeling the effects of nutritional deficiencies, and burning pain in extremities came into style. As time went on, the leg pain turned into soft, bleeding gums, then Millennials started dropping teeth. By the time jaundice came into fashion, the affected people started succumbing to their scurvy and the “My Legs Hurt” meme died out.
With all major population centers in shambles, it wasn’t long before the reek of dead bodies and the many forgotten pets roaming the streets started drawing large predators out of the wilderness, into cities and towns. Blood-curdling screams quickly started trending among surviving Millennials as they were killed by bears and wolves. The roving hordes of the undead were more a background nuisance at this point, not nearly as effective as intelligent natural predators, but still more than willing to pick up the slack and kill and infect Millennials who were distracted, careless, or already wounded. Not since Pokemon GO had any new fad kept Millennials on their feet so much, running and dodging and keeping a sharp lookout in every direction.
#4: “Bag Men”
After the main swarm of undead victims of the Hydra virus passed, like an overpopulation of locusts decimating the land and then dwindling away, some of the survivors thought the plague had ended. But others started to notice there was still something wrong with some people. In a tiny republic that formed out of the ruins of Sacramento, the last real bastion of civilization to survive the apocalypse, they realized that the Hydra virus had evolved into something new. The undead no longer looked like zombies. Now, they could blend in with ordinary humans, mimic living people almost perfectly, and they would only make a kill when they got a human alone. An agency was formed to keep the Republic of Sacramento safe from the threat of the evolved virus and the new species of zombies—when the descendants of the Millennials say “Bag Men,” they mean the highly trained, brilliant, deadly, feared, reviled, essential-to-the-survival-of-mankind agents of the Sacramento Bureau of Public Health.
Understanding these common phrases should help you navigate your next conversation with a Millennial pretty easily. Just remember: if the person you’re talking to seems a little off, they might be an undead mimic. Avoid touching or exchanging fluids with the suspected vector. Contact your nearest BPH Field Office immediately to make a report. You should only live once!
Silas Jackson, NoiseFeed Ltd., is, among other things, a freelance writer, entrepreneur, yoga studio co-owner, instructor in fitness, lifting, martial arts, and yoga, groan-worthy meme generator, and industrial class sarcasm-production cyborg operating at exponentially increasing capacity. His works have been featured in various publications, both in print and online. Co-creator of the Bag Men series, several of Silas’ other projects can be found here.
Photos courtesy of digiday.com, knowledge-leader.colliers.com, cuinsight.com, socialenterprisebuzz.com, and investors.com, respectively.