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Other Titles by New York Times

Bestselling Author Jen Lancaster

Bitter Is the New Black

Bright Lights, Big Ass

Such a Pretty Fat

Pretty in Plaid

My Fair Lazy

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Published by New American Library, a division of

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First published by New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, May 2012

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

Copyright © Jen Lancaster, 2012

Froot Loops is a registered trademark of Kellogg North America Company Corp.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.



Lancaster, Jen, 1967–

Jeneration X: one reluctant adult’s attempt to unarrest her arrested development, or why it’s never too late for her dumb ass to learn why froot loops are not for dinner/Jen Lancaster.

p.   cm.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58520-7

1. Lancaster, Jen, 1967– 2. Authors, American—21st century—Biography. 3. Maturation (Psychology)—Humor. 4. Conduct of life—Humor. 5. United States—Social life and customs—Humor. I. Title. PS3612.A54748Z46 2012 814′.6—dc23 2011048451 [B]

Set in Bulmer MT

Designed by Spring Hoteling

Printed in the United States of America


Penguin is committed to publishing works of quality and integrity. In that spirit, we are proud to offer this book to our readers; however the story, the experiences and the words are the author’s alone.

The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

For former slackers everywhere and

for Karyn, who gives good title



Author’s Note

1. Involuntarily Voluntary

2. The Evolution of a Bad Idea

3. Flipping the Script

4. Lucky Nineteen

5. The Queen of Kings

6. Get Off My Lawn

7. Generation Y Don’t You Do It for Me?

8. A Barbie Girl in a Barbie World

9. I Wish I Could Quit You, Gladys Kravitz

10. The Old Dog Whisperer

11. Don’t Blame Mii, Japan

12. As Seen on TV

13. Role Models

14. Peer Pressure

15. How Do You Talk to Girls

16. Ring of Fire

17. Bond, Jen Bond

18. The One About The Monkey

19. It’s Not Like Texas Didn’t Warn You

20. Quickbooks, Quicker Shovels

21. I Know Why You Fly

22. That’s the Night That the Lights Went Out (in Lake County)

23. The Five Stages of Grief

24. Generator X

25. When Bad Things Happen to Bad People

26. Death and Taxes? Can I Select Neither?

27. Distinguish Myself



We were stuck between meanings. Or we were the last dribbles of something. The fall of the Soviet Union, this was, the death of analog. The beginning of aggressively marketed nachos.

—Milo Burke, Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask

Generation Xers were brought up on television, Atari 2600s, and personal computers. They are the generation that was raised in the 1970s and 1980s, and saw this country undergo a selfish phase that they do not want to repeat.

—Jennifer Jochim, Outpost

We’re the middle children of history . . . no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives.

—Tyler Durden, Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club

Note: Due to formatting issues in electronic files, the footnotes now appear within the text, bracketed and italicized.


January 2010

“Thanks for completely ignoring me.”

I’m standing here in my cashmere coat, shaking. Whether it’s from cold or from fury, I’ve yet to determine.


“I said thank you for completely ignoring me. I sat out there with my hazards on for the past twenty minutes.”

The valet blinks heavy-lidded eyes that don’t quite function in unison. “Guess I didn’t see you.”

“Didn’t see me?”

I am incredulous. How did he not see me? I was in an SUV the size of a school bus and let’s just say I was liberal with my use of the horn. I was impossible not to see. Helen Keller could see me. Andrea Bocelli could see me. Stevie Wonder would be all “Do I Do see you!”

I’m trying hard not to punch this guy smack in his red windbreaker, so I’d wager it’s the anger that’s making me shake.

“Didn’t see you,” he confirms, not meeting my glance. Instead he scans the street looking for other vehicles he might park.

This is exasperating. Not only did I wait twenty minutes for his attention, but once I realized he was never getting to me, I had to park myself. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but a) because I’m very, very lazy I specifically get my hair cut here since they have a valet, b) he’d already made me late for my appointment and c) the nearest garage was blocks away.

I had to drive down three stories into the belly of this semiabandoned building to find a cavernous parking area where the only light came from a handful of fifteen-watt incandescent bulbs hanging from the ceiling thirty feet above. I never met a parking garage that didn’t feel all CSI and like a sexual assault could happen any minute, but this? This was the rapiest rape garage that

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