Brow Beat

This Is Not the Mueller Report. This Is a Segment Called “Can Millennials Open a Can of Paint?”

Before you go read about the Mueller report, let’s watch a baffling Jimmy Kimmel Live segment called “Can Millennials Open a Can of Paint?” together, shall we? Unlike baby boomers or Gen Xers, who apparently sprang from the womb with a flathead screwdriver in hand, millennials struggle with the task in this video that should more accurately be titled “Three Young People Have Never Opened a Can of Paint Before But Agree to Try for the First Time on Camera for Entertainment Purposes.” The segment ends with a participation trophy, a concept that dates back to World War I but has nevertheless become the symbol of modern laziness and entitlement.


In that spirit, I would like to give this entire Jimmy Kimmel Live clip a participation trophy. (Yes, I am cranky and humorless, so please save yourself the trouble of telling me that on social media.) First of all, the concept falls into the trap of using the term millennials—a diverse, amorphous group that most people agree currently includes people in their late 30s—as a catchall for young people I hold in disdain. And it treats the act of opening a can of paint as some kind of obvious, universal skill when, in fact, there are WikiHows and YouTube tutorials explaining how it’s done as well as tools designed specifically for that purpose, suggesting that maybe it’s not as self-explanatory as it sounds.

On top of everything else, we are supposed to laugh at the participants’ ineptitude, but is it really so outrageous to try to use a can opener to open a can? Maybe if that young woman could afford to own a home to paint, she’d have a little more experience. And technically, the challenge was to open the can, not close it, so using the pliers is fair game as far as I’m concerned.

In other words, stick to tuna fish, you old coots.