Pixies Can Still Rock and Roll

Jun 14

Looking at Quora is a truly epic waste of my time, and I don't know why I do it. But I do it anyway.

Words of advice to young people: pretend that sites like Quora do not exist.

Anyway, there are apparently a lot of young people in the world who ignore that advice and look for wisdom, information, and controversy on the site. Some of the questions they ask are poignant, some are ignorant, and some I don't know what to make of. If you pick a random age between 16 and 62, odds are there is a question on Quora "Am I too old to learn to program".

I can't imagine what would make a 17 year old ask that. I mean, what is wrong with our society? With advances in medicine, lifespans are going up and quality of life is increasing for the elderly, so a seventeen year old today could easily be looking at another century of life. One hundred years. And even ignoring that, a seventeen year old hasn't started college. Doesn't have a real job. Is a decade or two away from marriage, kids, mortgages, and all the baggage of adulthood. They literally haven't started their life yet. The only jobs they are too old to start training for are olympic gymnast and child actor… everything else is still within their reach.

I doubt very much this person is wondering whether they can become a lawyer or a doctor or President of the United States. It's pretty obvious that there is plenty of time to accomplish those goals. They probably aren't wondering whether the Nobel prize in economics is beyond their reach. Because obviously, all of these things are still within the grasp of a seventeen year old. They aren't wondering whether they are too old to become an astronaut, or a rock star. This person, this 17 year old, is wondering whether they can reach the lofty goal of writing software for a living. As if writing instructions for computers is somehow akin to professional football, something so demanding and stressful that only the young can handle it.

What in the world does that say about our society, or the image of this profession? Is there supposed to be some magical thing about writing instructions in a formal language that only the young can grasp? Is there some weird idea that if you aren't a billionaire before you reach thirty, somehow you're thrown out of the profession? How weirdly agist is technology that a teenager wonders if they are over the hill?

Anyway… I'm listening to a new album by Pixies, Indie Cindy, and while it doesn't tear a hole in your mind like Doolittle did, it does in fact rock, and rock differently enough that it fits in just fine with the music from the local college station that I listen to when I'm driving. It reminds me of my brother, who's currently making a living playing bass, an instrument he didn't even pick up until he was 40. The world has gotten very weird since I was young, man. When I was seventeen, and Pixies came out with their first album, I saw rocking out as my turf, and being a keyboard jockey as a life for old people. Now I am old people, and Pixies are still coming out with new music, and some young punk is wondering whether it is too late to become me.