January 26, 2004
An Open Letter to Baby Boomers
“Sixty is the new forty.” I heard that quote the other night on the HBO show Real Time With Bill Maher. Bill was evidently quoting the latest Baby Boomer pronouncement which blithely denies the combined laws of probability, nature, decency and gravity. What’s next? 120 is the new 100?
Probably, assuming younger generations don’t pull the plug on our sorry arses before we get there.
And I really couldn’t blame them. Has there ever been a more spoiled, self-centered, whiny and vain generation in the history of the world? Maybe the Huns, but at least they had the decency to kill everyone who disagreed with them, so they wouldn’t have to be around to hear all their self-centered poo paw.
“People try to put us down. Just because we get around.”
—My Generation, The Who
“What Youth deemed crystal, Age finds out was dew.”
Just last Saturday at the Barrett-Jackson car auction, I saw a Ford Shelby GT-500, which I could have bought for $5,000 and some change in 1967, go for $280,000. That’s a lot of dew. And the scary part is that I was thinking to myself that’s only about $5,000 more than I would pay if I had the dough. Hey Man, it’s a muscle car.
Here’s a raw truth (and if you’re a male in your late fifties, or beyond, you may want to stop reading right now): my 23-year-old daughter could not stand seeing Jack Nicholson kissing Amanda Peet in the recent movie Something’s Gotta Give. “That was so gross!” Deena groaned while making the face of a thoroughly disgusted hija (Spanish for daughter). “Who wants to see some old geezer pawing a young girl?” Well, actually, old geezers who don’t want to admit they’re old geezers, and that, by extension would include me. I haven’t seen the movie yet but my reaction to hearing about the supposed sexual attraction between Jack, 66, and Amanda, 31, was “Way to go Jack! There’s still hope for the rest of us active, mature men.”
According to my daughter: “Give it up grandpa!”
And she is not alone. In fact, it’s my theory that the rest of the world is just being nice. They don’t want to have to tell us to “quit acting like you’re still in high school.” It’s unseemly. We should know better. Many of us went to college for God’s sake!
Let’s face the facts. Baby Boomers are officially old—terminally so. John Lennon has been dead for almost a quarter century and James Dean for half a century. Our two presidents were Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (a perfect yin and yang to our psychographic extremes). It’s over. We are geezers. Nobody, except us, cares that we were once hip, stayed up all night, got stoned at work, dropped acid, put a flower in a gunbarrel, whatever. It’s an embarrassment to keep repeating it and making others listen. Trust me, they are just being polite. It’s much like seeing your grandmother do the twist (to use a completely obsolete simile that only Baby Boomers would get).
You can call me old and bitter, but at least I know it. My advice is to quit fighting Person Nature and add some maturity and dignity to the moxy thing. Baby Boomers, act your age, dammit!
“Youth has been a habit with some so long they cannot part with it.”
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