Can the generation that invented the ‘Youth Culture’, ever give it up?
Hey fellow ‘Baby Boomers’ have you taken a look at the calendar lately? And then a quick glance in the mirror at … you?
I did the other day and I don’t recommend it.
All I could think of was – “Who is that old guy with the grey hair and who looks like he swallowed a basketball?”
I could go on – but I won’t. Way too painful.
Tell me, where was it written back in 1967 when my hair was long and curly and … brown - and my stomach was as flat as the concert field where I went to see the Rolling Stones, that this gig that I had signed on for that we call life, also included a hidden catch that we were going to get … older.
Was there some sinister metaphysical deal or ‘Faustian’ contract that I unwittingly signed all those decades ago? That fine print that I obviously blew by in my rush to plunge headfirst into all the best that inexhaustible youth had to offer. Don’t you think that I have a great case for one of those lawyers you see advertising on TV? You know, the ones who say, “if you’ve been injured in an accident …” Well I have! Run over. Smacked flatter than a pancake by that run-away 18-wheeler Semi called – aging.
I mean I don’t want to sound like sour grapes after having cashed in many years carefree romps with my younger self, but haven’t I, me – you, we – all been a victim of the cruelest kind of ‘bait and switch’? Assuming as we did for all these years that just because we acted like teenagers, we’d look like one – forever! Well come-on, it seems to have worked for the Rolling Stones.
And come to think of it Mick Jagger doesn’t look too bad for a sexagenarian. Nor does Keith Richards for someone who was embalmed three or four decades ago.
Oh all right – yes the ‘sour grapes’ are kicking in again. But I mean really … Yes, I drank way too much and Yes, I partied way too hard, but really – put next to the Stones – I was a ‘freaking’ choir boy! So how come they look OK (well outside of Keith Richards internment and subsequent mummification back in the 70’s) and I look like 40 miles of bad road?
All right. This time I promise – no more self-flagellating, aging ungracefully, self-pity. Even if I am pouting and mentally giving the ‘bird’ to every attractive, youth oozing twenty-something I see.
For all of my fellow Boomers who haven’t yet achieved that dubious distinction - crossing over the Sixty mark is about as much fun as the first time you ever went to a chug-a-lug contest and awoke the next morning to a hangover and asking yourself the age old question… “Did I really do that?”
No – I take that back. At least with the youthful hangover, you knew that by the time the sun went down you’d be ready to party again. With aging, you’re not gonna be ready for anything by nightfall except for maybe a little Jay Leno and falling asleep in the Lazy Boy.
OK ….. That’s it – no more feeling sorry for myself !
I have read that 60 is the new 40. And 40 is the new 20. And … (hey, if this keeps up I’m gonna have to start buying Clearasil again).
But recent unpleasant birthday angst aside, I am beginning to see a trend as the generation that indelibly stamped youth onto not only our, but the collective consciousness of the world, approaches their fifties and sixties.
From where I sit (poised on the edge of my ‘Lazy Boy’) it does not appear that we have any intention of going ‘gently into that good night.’
In fact I’m willing to make a bet here and now that the Boomers are going to make history yet again by becoming the first generation ever to ‘flip off’ the Grim Reaper and make a serious stab at staying young … Forever !
Don’t laugh – I think we just may do it. Come on, wouldn’t you like to show all those teachers and parents and every well meaning adult who ever warned us, “just wait until you turn sixty – or fifty – forty. Then you’ll be sorry that you … (you can fill in your own blank here).
But are we? Sorry I mean. - that we burned that candle at both ends. And maybe got our fingers singed along the way?
Yeah, there might be a few things you’d change, but all in all would you really want to trade in all those fun, wild times for a fully functioning liver and a good set of eardrums that haven’t been blasted out by too much music played way too loud (just like mama warned). Would you?
Nah. I didn’t think so. Me neither.
And buck up guys. I was watching good old Jay Leno the other night between popping my pills for high blood pressure and a bad back. (yeah, too many cheese dogs and nights spent sleeping in a VW Microbus) and he had on two great icons from our generation, Dianne Keaton and Sally Fields.
Wow – Woody Allen’s sweet, cute, ditzy chick (no pun intended for the Dixie Chicks) and the girl who played both Gidget and the Flying Nun! I mean how cool is that!
And you know what? They both looked damn good!
And hey – what with all that we know about nutritious diets, exercise, tossing away the smokes, cutting out the booze and ‘other substances’ (well at least cutting down on them) and our generations answering to sagging libidos – Viagra – well who knows; we just might make it…. Forever !
See ya’ there!
Shadow of Innocence
Kunati - April 2007
Click here; Shadow of Innocence to pre-order your copy of Shadow of Innocence on Amazon.
Ric Wasley has spent almost forty years wandering through corporate board rooms and honky-tonk bars. He now divides his time between writing mystery novels – Shadow or Innocence – A McCarthy Family Mystery – Published by Kunati, http://www.kunati.com , and observing the really ‘juicy parts’ of the human condition
New from Kunati Publishing: SHADOW OF INNOCENCE - The Newport Folk Festival provides a groovy backdrop for this fun and exciting mystery set in the music and drug soaked sixties. The Baby Boomers and everyone else are sure to enjoy this appealing mystery featuring a pair of musician partners in love and danger. Don't miss Shadow of Innocence! From Kunati Publishing.
Advance Praise for Shadow of Innocence:
“Colorful and exciting.” Says David Pitt of Book List
“Wasley is well versed in the 1960s New England music scene (he was a folksinger and rocker), and he is able to make us feel as though we are in that time and place.”— David Pitt – Book List
“Here's a recipe for a page-turner: Take a moment of high American drama - the tumultuous year of 1968. Add some cool New England locations - Harvard Square and the Newport Folk festival. Throw in a wisecracking Boston detective. No, wait... make that a whole family of Boston detectives. Let Ric Wasley cook it all up for you. Then sit down and enjoy. You'll be glad you did.”
William Martin, bestselling author of Back Bay, Harvard Yard, and The Lost Constitution
And don't forget to check out my fellow Kunati author Cheryl Kaye Tardif and her tragic yet uplifting novel Whale Song, the story of a young woman haunted by the assisted suicide of her mother and the mystery that surrounds her death. Read more about Whale Song at http://www.kunati.com/catalog_whale_song and check out Cheryl's site at http://www.cherylktardif.com