Well, welll, well! Two years ago, I started this blog after reading about a number of Baby Boomer haters out there in cyberspace. The infamous Baby Boomer Death Counter has been shut down and comments have prompted me to investigate further.
Here is what I found:
Who produced this macabre counter?
James Love, an Internet publisher, satirist and writer.
He created this web site spur discussion regarding the mortality of the Baby Boom generation. Much is written of accomplishments, attitudes, consumer patterns, but little is written about the curtain closing on this large generation. He created the counter to spur/provoke this discussion.
On a Generation Dying Well
by James Love
We, the baby boom generation, were a burst of life just after the Second World War. Hospital wards bustled with little bundles, new suburbs were put to pavement, and schools popped up across North America. It was as if a new age of humanity was upon us and indeed some declared that the Age of Aquarius had begun.
A few decades later, as the first of the boomers turn 60 and the last of the boomers mid-sections have joined the great collective expanse an existential reality remains for which we seem to be avoiding. Sure, we know of “so and so” that got cancer, and how “such and such’s” wife died of a heart condition. We know intellectually that with each day the wheel of time seems to spin faster and we occasionally hear the bony footsteps of the Grim Reaper shuffling behind us. For all our bombastic youthful chutzpa, our collective fear of death seems out of place for us. We close our eyes and whistle in the dark; looking at the slow click of the clock and realizing each day that its “click, click, click” is speeding up.
I don’t intend to be overly unkind when I say that I find this collective fear amusing. Individually, I’ve held the hand of numerous dying folks and understand the personal pain and emotional suffering around death. That is not funny, although many people do find humour in their own dying. I must however confess a certain schadenfreude as I witness the death of the Baby Boomers as a whole. It’s the fall of the false-pride of our generation that seems to be the source of it. Yes, older boomers try to hold back time with tucks, sucks, and spending big bucks, but let’s face it, we’re not young any more and we never will be. That horror we experienced a couple years ago when we looked in the mirror and cried out “Oh my goodness, I – look – like – my – Dad/Mom”, is soon to be replaced with the shock of looking like our grandparents! Know this to be true; the first grey hair “down there” has been an existential crisis for many a boomer. And of course, the Age of Aquarius in the 1960’s gave way to the sexual license of the 70’s and the Barbarous 80’s. I don’t know what to call the 1990’s other than a handful of years until the Gulf War Decade (lets hope its a decade). For all our youthful pride, we ended up faced with the daunting struggles that every generation has to deal with given the complexity of the human situation and the tenacity of evil.
I do have hope however that the introspective side of our generation will win out over our narcissism. Old people can be powerful people; for good or for evil. We’ve known that all our lives; don’t trust anyone over 30 and all that stuff. Old people can be powerful because collectively they have money, experience, and have been around long enough to know how the system works; or dare I say it, how to work within the system! If you don’t believe me, just ask any congressman whether he wants to make the American Association of Retired Persons angry at him! We’re going to have a different kind of power as old folks, and I hope we use it well. If the excessive pride of our youth has run its course towards an excess of humility in old age, I suspect our generation will show itself as one of the most powerful in remedying a few of the great evils of our time. I’ve discovered in my few short years on this earth, that the widows penny is worth far more than the pontificating of a soul empty of good deeds.
Sure, there will be a period coming where all we baby boomers will talk about is our coming deaths, but once the great collective narcissistic lament is finished, I hope we’ll move on to being great old people. Yes, we’re going to be dead like every other generation, however it is my hope that we won’t just die like any other generation. It is my hope that we will spend our last years well and will be remembered as a truly great generation and a burst of positive human energy that will be felt for generations to come.
PS There are even more Baby Boomer hate sites than in 2013. Let’s emphasise the positive and leave the ‘Die Boomer Die’ set to worry about why they are spending so much energy on denigrating us. In the words of Taylor Swift, “Haters gonna hate,hate,hate,hate,hate. Shake it off. Shake it off! Sorry I couldn’t resist!