Tangled Up in ME

Hey boomers: Get over yourselves. Then maybe we'll pay attention

| Utne Reader September / October 2007

It's finally happening. In spite of the plastic surgery, the Viagra, the three-wheeled motorcycles -- the baby boomers are feeling old. As the Wonder Years fade to the Blunder Years, they're gazing deeply into the unflattering mirror. They're seeing wrinkles and gray hair. And they're saying, 'Hey, we're elders! Far out! Let's mentor someone!'

Forgive me if I don't camp overnight for tickets to that show.

Isn't it enough that we'll be the underpaid and uninsured chumps who'll wheel them to the 'bongo room' at the assisted-living facility? Do we have to listen to them drone on about their acid-drenched weekend at Woodstock, too?

This is the generation that exhorted us to never trust anyone older than 30 -- then grew up and proved the point by ushering in the long nightmare of social conservatism and permanent war that is our current reality. They promised a revolution and boy did they deliver. Safety net: shredded. Social Security: squandered. Liberalism: perished. Fairness: forgotten. Great Society: whatever. Do I even need to mention climate change? AIDS? The Monkees? So now they want to pass on their wisdom to the rest of us. Uh-huh.

OK, OK. I know I'm trading in gross generalizations here. I mean, some of my best friends are baby boomers. In fact, one of them just informed me that all alternative rock can be traced to Rubber Soul. (Really? Even Motorhead?)

I'm actually pretty invested in the notion of mentorship; I've always had a soft spot for geezers. I'm the afterthought child of pre-boomer parents, so I spent most of my childhood with a couple of taciturn members of the 'Silent Generation.' When they and their peers finally lurched out of their collective coma and began talking about the past, it was riveting.

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