Pretty will be the first to tell anyone that I am the world’s last to know anything about pop culture because I am not a twitterer, instagrammer, pinterester, redditer, or snapchatterer. I am not linked in, tik tokked, or tuned in or up on most days. I’m not passing judgment on any of these or the countless other social meda platforms nor am I necessarily proud of being uninformed although I remain stubbornly committed to Facebook regardless of whether anyone is bothering to influence my vote in the 2020 election. Just try. Please try. I will get you.
I do, however, continue to watch CBS Sunday Morning faithfully because it is one show that Pretty and I can enjoy together. (Remember she continues to boycott all real news programs since the 2016 elections but instead gets her news information from Twitter.) So yesterday Pretty half watched CBS Sunday Morning by herself until I straggled in from our bedroom in a semi-conscious state thirty minutes into the broadcast. Segments came and went as I ate leftover sweet potato casserole from Thanksgiving for breakfast before taking my morning meds.
I was shaken out of my television reverie by the Faith Salie commentary called OK, BOOMER in which she humorously described ok, boomer as a recent put down by the Gen Z (1995 – 2010) population of their aging Baby Boomer elders (1946 – 1961). Hm. What up, Gen Z?
Apparently we the Boomers are being blamed for “rising waters, disappearing species, crippling debt and crumbling democracies.” Whaat? That’s all our fault? Easy for you to say, 48-year-old Faith Salie (Gen X 1961 – 1981). Where were you guys when we were ruining climate change? Ho, ho, ho – and a merry old millenial (1981 – 1996) to you all for a holiday season free of guilt for any of the world’s most dangerous threats. The Boomers did it.
Anyhow, as my now deceased Greatest Generation friend Libby Levinson used to say whenever she was about to change the subject, Faith’s sally struck a nerve that I usually reserved for my free-floating anxiety over the current criminals in charge of the country. It was a bridge too far.
I can’t bear to be thought of as old and irrelevant, I ranted to Pretty who was quite familiar, of course, with the OK BOOMER memes. Then I got irritated with her for not feeling disrespected because she was, after all, one of those Bad Old Boomers herself. The only person who can ever make you feel disrespected is yourself, Pretty said. Oh, sure, I said. Go ahead and quote one of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quotes back to me. Sigh. I could feel the air being let out of my anger. That Pretty.
Today I sat in the pedi chair that belongs to the great pedicurist/philosopher Esther Isom who was responsible for the title of my last book: Four Ticket Ride. I couldn’t let the Ok, Boomer thing go so I was still raving about it from her chair which reminded me somewhat of a throne so I’m sure I had my proclamation tone in full force. I couldn’t believe Esther hadn’t heard of the funny haha put down from our children either, because she also was always in the cultural know, but she took it with a grain of salt.
Tell them let’s see what you got first, she said with a laugh. Of course we won’t be around to know how they’ll do, she continued, but they’ll learn life isn’t as simple as they think it is.
Point taken. I am not unaware of my generation’s shortcomings – we have been poor stewards of our planet, insensitive to the needs of the poor, squandered the earth’s resources to keep gasoline in our vehicles, failed at equality for people of color, elected corrupt public officials at every level of government – to name a few. I sadly recognize and confess my Baby Boomer sins.
But hey, we’ve been on the front lines marching against the Viet Nam War, opened up amazing opportunities for women in the work force and athletics, secured marriage equality for same sex couples, fought for civil rights; and worked, worked, worked to achieve the American Dream. We were competitive but with the spirit of a rugged individual. We were the original gangsters so… before you write me and my cohorts off as ancient and irrelevant, let’s see what you got first, kids.
In the meantime, show some respect.