Photo by Patricia InsheiwatAsked her age, Emily Stoner—cute as a bug in a rug—held up her hand and proudly displayed five little fingers. Later, when asked what life at age 5 is like, the towheaded Huntington Beach resident would nod and, if we were lucky, speak. But the response she gave most was The Shrug.
Ah, yes, The Shrug. Nothing better defines the generation born in 1995—including the Weekly itself—than The Shrug. Given life in the vapor trail of what was the 20th century and now facing an uncertain future in the 21st, we 5-year-olds are not boomers or Gen-Xers or Generation Nexts, Ys or Zs. We're the lost children, and to us, The Shrug is apropos of everything.
You could ask Emily (as we did) what it's like—what's it really like—to be 5. She'll shrug. You could ask one of us at the Weekly what will be on our cover three weeks from now. We'll also shrug.
Sure, Emily and the Weekly could think ahead. We could tell you what's up with our Pokémon cards and Dave Garofalo dental chart and Ring Pops and newsprint costs. But that would be silly. Times change, and by virtue of our unique birthdates, we have no choice but to change, too. Neighbor kids move, newsmakers threaten to sue, our baby teeth fall out, and someone puts a stack of yellowing OC Metros in our newsracks. Faced with all that, The Shrug seems like a pretty bold statement, no?
The child and the paper share more in common than The Shrug. We both go swimming at grandma's house. We both learned to boogie-board from our dads. We both like to go on Disneyland's Splash Mountain but are scared—or, as Emily corrects us, "ascared"—of Star Tours.
Do Emily's friends read OC Weekly? No—and neither do ours!
We both love Britney Spears, the Spice Girls and The Wizard of Oz, but neither of us gets this whole 'NSync thing. Why not? Emily summed it up for both of us: "I don't like their music."
(The Weekly just shed a joyful tear.)
Though Emily lives in Huntington, for her beachgoing pleasure she chooses Crystal Cove—not so coincidentally, the best beach in our last Best of OC issue. Why trek 20 minutes south? Because the polluted surf in her hometown frightens her. Okay, the pollution really frightens her mom, but Mrs. Stoner could not have formed that opinion without the extensive coverage in—you guessed it—OC Weekly.
In the interest of accuracy, we should note that there are some differences between Emily and us. She's actually older, born on July 11, 1995; the first Weekly popped out of the publishing womb on Sept. 15, 1995. Unlike Emily, we do not have a little sister who is 3—unless you count that ill-fated Port Theater insert that Santa Ana winds blew all over La Palma in February '98. And Emily won't get one of those ubiquitous Razor scooters until she can learn to ride her bike without training wheels; we stole ours last week from the kid down the block.
These are, of course, mere trifles. For when it comes to Emily Stoner and OC Weekly, we seem to be joined at some metaphysical hip. Witness the exact same answer we both gave when asked separately where we see ourselves at age 10.