December 15, 2017
Hello again Maple People,
Gosh I get sick of hearing folks say “baby boomers’re dying out”. I’m a “card carrying” baby boomer and b’God, I ain’t dead yet. In fact I had my prostate checked yesterday and…well, the less said about that, the better.
As you might have surmised, I’m kinda proud of my generation. Not that we didn’t make our share of mistakes; we survived that awful drug scene in the 60s & 70s even without help from giant pharma like they have today. We did it the old fashion way, illegally. And yes, we stupidly smashed a few guitars to smithereens in the name of art but the virtuosity of Yo Yo Ma, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Bonnie Raitt somehow shined through.
Then, sure, there were the Charles Mansons and Squeaky Frommes but we also had John-Boy Walton, Dolly Parton, and Sally Ride. Yup, if we couldn’t impress ’em with Blue Mountain melodrama or country crooning, we’d send ’em off toward the moon!
I recently asked a couple of my fellow boomers their take on our generation. The first one, Bill, borrowed some “cream a th’ crop” from our prior generation and simply responded, “As Curly used to say, ‘I try to think, but nuttin’ happens.'”! Curly Howard was a great American comedian whose genius we boomers cannot claim. We can, however claim Robin Williams, Jay Leno and Eddie Murphy who all employed styles a bit more risqué but, what the heck, boomers brought in exposed knees of women, TV renditions of couples in the same bed, and plunging necklines. Bill did eventually get back to me with a tenor that was quite negative. Recalling his college-day youth, he said “We left the large issues to the adults to figure out because they had gotten us into the original messes in the first place.”…sound familiar folks?
The other fellow boomer, Ed, “Crazy Ed” to me since we were best buddies back in college, got right back. His comments went in a totally different direction: “Do you realize”, he asked with a definite tone of alarm, “that we were the last generation who knew enough to drive a standard shift?”…”Wow, how depressing!”, I thought. Yes, Ed’s and my friendship was always heavy toward motor vehicles. And, y’know, he’s right, cars are important. After all, we boomers ushered in muscle cars, Cadillac fins, and making out at the drive-in.
I remember not only being proficient at shifting but also double clutching. Double clutching relates to timing the engine revolutions with the mechanical action of the clutch pedal to “still” the transmission gears so the darn thing can be shifted. A person proficient enough at this could also shift without even using the clutch. I remember once driving my VW bug through busy Burlington streets back home to Montpelier with no clutch at all because the clutch cable had broken. Employing the adage “Fortune favors the prepared.”, I scoped out every situation at traffic lights and stop signs and somehow managed to limp that crippled VW back home.
Nope, we Boomers are not leaving anytime soon. We’ve had our share of challenges, but still accomplished many notable things. Yes, we’re getting out our canes and walkers, and may require some expensive medical maintenance for a while. So please Generation Xers, get yourselves in gear (not that you know what gears are) and open up both your hearts and wallets…it’s payback time.