It’s Ethan HAWKE, Not Ethan “Who?”

Earlier this week I was telling Deb at work that I’d read in a Vanity Fair article that Bruce Springsteen did not hire a ghostwriter to help pen his new autobiography; instead, every word is his own. I told her that I really respected celebrities who did this. Like Ethan Hawke, who actually wrote and published a couple of novels. I have no idea if they’re any good, but kudos to him for writing ’em.

“Ethan who?” she asked.

No. No, no, no, no, no!!

How can a person have no idea who Ethan Hawke is?! I wondered incredulously.

“How can you have no idea who Ethan Hawke is?!” I asked incredulously.

And then I remembered that Deb is a Millennial. Still, I pressed on, naming a few of the actor’s better-known films. “Reality Bites? Before Sunrise? Boyhood?”

She continued staring at me blankly. And then Kathleen, another coworker, happened by.

“Kathleen, you’re not going to believe this!” I said, unable to contain my shock and bewilderment. “Deb doesn’t know who Ethan Hawke is!”

“Ethan who?” Kathleen asked.

%$@#&. SMH. FML. And any other appropriate acronym I’ve left out.

I should have known better. Kathleen’s a Millennial, too.

What kind of world do we live in where people do not know who Ethan Hawke is?

[Please don’t respond with “a world where you’re old enough to be their dad” like my smart-aleck friend Monica did].

Dear Millennials: this is Ethan Hawke.
Dear Millennials: this is Ethan Hawke.

So the next day I brought in a DVD copy of “Reality Bites” and handed it to Deb. When she asked what it’s about I was tempted to reply, “It’s all just a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes,” to paraphrase Troy Dyer (a/k/a Ethan Hawke), but of course she wouldn’t have gotten the reference so I told her instead to read the back of the DVD case.

I’m curious whether she’ll like it or not. I mean, “Reality Bites” is the quintessential Generation X movie. But it came out in 1994, so there’s a possibility she won’t get it. It’s all about disenfranchised youth and misplaced idealism and the grunge scene and AIDS. Hardly topical stuff these days. There was no Internet back then, and no emojis. Ben Stiller did have a car phone, but it was attached to a cord and the size of a small brick. Maybe the film doesn’t stand the test of time.

All I know is, it’s damn good, and was super influential in my life when I was 23. After all, it taught me the meaning of irony after Alanis Morissete failed. Convinced me to change my answering machine message to, “You’ve reached the winter of our discontent.” Showed me that Evian is “naive” spelled backwards. And even made Peter Frampton seem cool. That’s no small feat there.

If nothing else, Deb will at least know who Ethan Hawke is.

Oh, by the way: the reason I was discussing Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography? I am going to be receiving an autographed copy on October 4th. Handed to me by the author himself. The one. The only. The Boss. Dream come true? You bet your ass.

But that’s a story for another day.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

16 thoughts on “It’s Ethan HAWKE, Not Ethan “Who?”

  1. Just so that you don’t begin to worry that you’ve somehow entered an alternate timeline where you are the only one with memories of a past that didn’t exist, I should let you know that I too know who Ethan Hawke is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe those two don’t watch movies? My kids know who he is! I would think just being the ex of Uma Thurman would have raised his profile level for Gen Xers.

    I fell in love with him after Reality Bites. Such a great movie. Sigh…..


  3. Blows me away that they had no idea who Nathan Hawke is?!? That’s like the time I mentioned something about Frank Sinatra to a few coworkers and one of them said, “Who is Frank Sinatra?!” OH. MY. GOD.!!!

    Loved Reality Bites! Great movie. Great cast!

    Can’t wait to read about receiving an autographed copy from Bruce Springsteen!

    Have a faaabulous weekend, buddy!


  4. Most people don’t know the Beatles, Led Zep, Doors and Stones. Ecept fot the being 67 now, I’m glad I am (was?) part of that generation. I had to research your comment but I did get it: Mark Twain set his story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”

    Liked by 1 person

Add Your Two Cents!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: