One of the biggest issues between the generations is the issue of help and generosity. I have had this very argument with my Mom many times. It goes something like this.

Boomer (Leo): Look at this fantastic thing I got/did for you!

GenX (Virgo) [shrugs]: Ummm…yeah, it’s great…..

Boomer: Aren’t you going to thank me?

Virgo: For what?

Boomer: ….For that great thing I just did/got for you!

Virgo: Okay, I give up. Thanks.

Boomer: You don’t really seem very grateful…I’m kind of hurt.

Virgo: [sigh.] I’m trying to be polite…it’s just that I didn’t ask you for it.

Boomer: What does that have to do with anything?

Virgo: The joy of generosity comes in finding out what the recipient really wants and giving that to them. You didn’t really do that.

Boomer: I don’t understand that. All giving is fantastic! [A religious Boomer might add: “Says so in the {insert religious text of choice}!”]

Virgo: To you, maybe.

Boomer: You’re so ungrateful!

Virgo: Your thing is awful. It sucks. Why would anyone want it all, let alone be grateful it was pushed upon them.

Boomer: I don’t understand you. I give and I give and you just criticize.

Virgo [patiently]: You give to control. You give what you want. You make no attempt to find out if I want anything at all, let alone a piece of crap like this! Why can’t you wait until I ask you for help?

Boomer [quickly]: You don’t have to do that! I already helped you! Here! I’ll help some more! Here’s another gift!

Virgo: You don’t get it, and I’m starting to think you are willfully ignorant. Stop trying to buy me off. Bribes disgust me. Your “help” and “generosity” are misplaced. In fact, I don’t see what you’re doing as helpful or generous at all, only as interference and meddling. Please … [with all the compassion she can muster] … take it to someone who cares.

Boomer: You’re mean! I’m going to claw you! Rraow!

Virgo: Yes, well, violence is the last resort of the weak. Why do you feel such violence is appropriate?

Boomer [sniveling like a child]: Because you don’t like me!!!!!

Virgo: [sigh.] I never said that. You just confuse the gifts you give with our relationship. They have nothing to do with each other. I like you – when you’re not being overbearing, insensitive, aggressive and pushy. You can’t make me like this crappy “gift” you want to give me. You don’t need to buy me.

Things really heat up in Round 2.