The Bitter Old Gen X’er’s Guide to Life

The Bitter Old Gen X’er’s Guide to Life

by Ken Eckert


I wrote this book over the 90’s and in recent years I’ve done some editing and a few additions. I have never had it published as a whole in print, although I’ve had excerpts published in small anthologies and student newspapers in Alberta and Newfoundland, as well as in one of Vancouver’s daily papers.

I’ve reproduced most of it here, or you can download it as an e-book: The Bitter Old Gen X’er’s Guide to Life (pdf). Legal notes



We’re better off not knowing how laws and sausages are made.
- Anonymous

The most insipid ridiculous play I ever saw in my life.
- Pepys, on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1662

You can fool all of the people too much of the time.
- James Thurber

The original title of this book in the 90’s was The Cynic’s Guide to Life. But now that I am older I can see that I was mistaken, and rather than being a cynic, I was really a pessimist. What’s the difference, you may ask. Well, maybe you’re not asking. But I’m going to tell you anyway, because I have the power hahaha… oops, wait, you started to think about leaving this site and checking your e-mail.. alright, I’ll be more respectful if you keep reading.

Allow me to explain the difference. When I was younger I was a pessimist; I believed that the world was against me. The half-generation before me got Paul Simon; my generation got Tiffany. But as I grew older and travelled and drank in new experiences, my outlook on life matured. Now I know with certainty that the world is against me. You see, pessimists are mentally lazy. They simply assume the worst because it’s easier. Cynics, on the other hand, have the experience to assume the worst. If it helps, call a cynic a pessimist with gravitas, like people on CNN say when you feel like punching them.

"So what sort of book is this?” you ask. “Is it worthwhile reading?” you ask. Well, don’t ask. How can I tell you? I wrote it. I can’t describe it objectively any more than a mother can describe her son objectively. She will call him a fine boy even if he just went berserk with a chainsaw in the donut shop. But I will try: you see, the title of the book is a total lie. This book is really about pruning Azaleas for fun and profit. But those of you who are budding cynics shouldn’t be too offended; you’re already accustomed to disappointment.

Thus this book is predicated on the fact that the world is generally out to get you and things are getting worse, and that being born to Generation X, the group of people born between the late 60s and the mid-80s, means that we are basically out of luck in comparison to the previous generation. For a while in the 90’s there was a sense of optimism in the air, what with relative peace in the mideast and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and it was hard to be bitter for a while. But since 9/11 things have gone to pot again and I feel much better knowing that my original beliefs were justified, and what with decline and unemployment ravaging our civilization and disease and war on the horizon, it’s a great time to be bitter and opportunities abound.

So why be a cynical X’er? That’s simple. Because it’s fun! Being a nuisance is an enjoyable form of recreation. It also improves your health by reducing stress. This is why many famous complainers live to such an old age. John Lennon might have been an idealist, but he only lived to forty. Old, cranky, stodgy people with canes to hit dogs with live forever. Just go to Wal-Mart and see for yourself.

The Bitter Old Gen X’er’s Guide to Life
by Ken Eckert

Does for fine literature what M.C. Hammer has done for fine music.” - Rolling Stunned

"Mr. Eckert’s works have been compared to many writers of our day. Always unfavorably, but at least they’re compared.” - The New Yark Times

"The most captivating read available for those waiting for their new Archie & Jughead.” - The Glob and Male

About the author. Ken Eckert holds several degrees in English, and as a result has had lots of unemployed time to write books like this.


Is Elvis Really Alive?

Going to University

Politics & Government

The Internet: Patience

The Great Authors Contest

Sports & Recreation

The End of Everything

The Care & Feeding of Women

Death: A Lively Discussion

Getting a Job

Canada: The Real Story

My Hair: A Requiem

The Church vs. Wipe-Out

The Language of Attraction

Life Rules

Bitter Gen-X’er Exam