In Western culture the decade of the 1920s is often called the Roaring 20s. It was a period of economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge in the US and Western Europe. The French famously called it années folles (‘crazy years’), given the era’s social, artistic and cultural dynamism. Jazz blossomed and Art Deco peaked. Then it was all over.
This Thursday, my 20s passed away at their home in Brooklyn. It has been confirmed that they expired after a lengthy battle with expectations. At the time of their departure, they had just turned 10 years old.
My 20s are best known for creating, producing and distributing panic attacks. Although most episodes of my 20s’ panic attacks were centred on career issues, several of the most attention-grabbing instalments were stand-alone: They include such classics as Could Be Doing More to Save Democracy and, of course, the annual holiday episode, Immediate Family.
Audiences famously debated whether my 20s’ panic attacks were dramas or comedies, as most contained both tears and hysterical laughter. Notably, they hit the number needed for syndication — 100 episodes — in a record-breaking three weeks.
My 20s were born in a different era: Early 2009. Although it may be hard to comprehend in today’s society, when my 20s were in their infancy the iPhone 4 had not yet come out, and most prominent thinkers believed in outdated concepts such as “climate change” and “civil rights”. Cultural touchstones like Interstellar were still years away.
My 20s moved to New York City after early years spent napping, drinking from bottles and spitting up.
They set out to work in emotional investing — an ironic misstep in retrospect, as relationships turned out to be the wrong arena altogether for my 20s. From one failed relationship to another failed relationship, they refused to take a hint, never once making a partner.
These failures directly led to the production of my 20s’ now iconic series of panic attacks, according to one of several therapists who acted as a consultant. My 20s spent years generating panic attacks until eventually retiring into existential crisis management. In this capacity, my 20s often attempted to remain anonymous.
Spreading from the ego to the surrounding id
My 20s began a life-long battle with expectations early — assumptions first appeared in the ego shortly after college graduation. But they fought bravely, and for almost a year in 2015 their expectations disappeared entirely (thanks in part to experimental meditation treatments).
Unfortunately, expectations are hereditary, and eventually they returned, this time spreading from the ego to the surrounding id.
My 20s were bedridden in their final year as a result of the severe physical and emotional toll of their expectations. But even in their final days, my 20s retained their trademark optimism: The Brooklyn Public Library has confirmed that only a few days before my 20s passed away, they finally registered for a library card. Perhaps this was merely an important symbolic gesture, perhaps another unrealised project — of course, we can never truly know.
The final hours of my 20s were spent in the presence of dear platonic friends. At the time of passing, there was singing. One friend described the gathering as “kind of like a celebration.”
My 20s are survived by my 30s, who ask for privacy at this time.
— New York Times News Service
Ethan Kuperberg is a writer, film director and actor.