You gotta hand it to us Baby Boomers. We’ve shaped the world to our selfish pleasures pretty damn well. We’ve managed to get pot legalized, and we have an assortment of little pills that give men erections and a waterfall of antidepressants to convince our brains to be happy. Our cars are starting to drive themselves. Dark chocolate and wine have officially been ordained essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. Soon, we’ll have personal drones to fly us around the planet so we can surf killer breaks, ski fresh pow, and drink particularly tasty vintages. I’d say we’ve wrapped this life up in a nice ribbon.
The obvious destination for us aging Boomers is the backseat of our electric car, where we can be smoking killer weed and having pharmaceutically-enhanced sex while Siri steers us safely to our children’s homes to visit the grandkids.
Our grandchildren will ask our disapproving son or daughter, “Why are Grandma and Grandpa always so giggly? Is that what happens to all old people?” Uh, these days, pretty much…Yes.
It also gives new meaning to, “Why does Grandma and Grandpa’s house smell so funny?”
Yep, you could say the Woodstock generation has figured it out. Could have been all the drug-induced contemplation of life back in the ‘60s. Or the protests against the Vietnam War, the Establishment, the Nixon Administration, and for that matter, anybody not wearing old blue jeans. Our hopes and dreams were shaped by the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, and all the passionate, original music that still beats the shit out of the crap they pump out these days. With the exception of Taylor Swift and Jack Johnson, of course.
And it’s not just the good weed and sex pills that have made our lives ridiculously gluttonous. Our brilliant, scientific community has decreed—in countless and exorbitantly expensive studies—the fabulous health advantages of strong coffee and the aforementioned wine, which ironically, pretty much describes the essential elements of a Boomer diet, with maybe a seared wild-caught salmon and kale salad every so often to at least wink and nod at real health food.
Then there’s the whole surge in antidepressants, or as I call them, happy pills. These days, 25 percent of women over 40 are on happy pills. And why not be happy? Isn’t that a basic right of our constitution…the pursuit of happiness? Only 10 percent of men are on antidepressants, but most guys I know drink so much beer and liquor that they are happy, then sad, then hungover. So, maybe we men should get on the antidepressants train.
And even with all of this freedom and happiness, and the endless cuisine choices at our fingertips, I still hear people complain about their hardships. Come on, people. We’re spoiled rotten. You want to talk about hardships—the American pioneers had it hard. Just look at their crossings to California. Back then, it was eight months of agonizing trails in a friggin’ wagon with wooden wheels. Children were born, and the weak died along the way. If the elements didn’t kill them, the wild natives we were shamelessly displacing had their chance. Now we get pissed off if we lose our satellite radio connection in our Lexus as we cross over the continental divide at 80 mph on cruise control in our heated leather seats.
You’re upset that “Stairway to Heaven” is cutting in and out, so you turn to your surgically-enhanced wife and say, “Honey, please call those XM radio idiots and raise some hell! I want to hear that guitar solo, damnit!!”
Give me a break. Countless ancestors died trying to scale those mountains and ford those rivers. They had to avoid war parties, bears, and mountain lions. Not to mention disease. It’s a wonder any of them made it. And we’re like, “Shit, I lost my cell signal! How will I ever survive???”
Sure, there’s still a lot of suffering worldwide, but for the most part, we in America have access to healthy lives, housing, and food. This is not Hitler’s Germany or Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge or Idi Amin’s Uganda or Syria, Sudan, Congo, or Iraq. When people complain about their lives, they should consider the soldiers fighting in some faraway war with a spouse and kids waiting at home in constant fear of bad news.
So as far as the “Make Love Not War” movement, we’ve done a piss-poor job on that front. Even with all of our technological advances, we’re still losing our brothers and sisters in firefights, just like in the Vietnam days. Sadly, history does repeat itself.
Speaking of technology, one thing we never considered as we rolled around in the mud burning bras and listening to Jimi Hendrix rip up his axe was the screen addiction we’ve fallen into. Blame that one on Jobs and Gates for their brilliance and blood-thirsty greed. They tempted us, and we jumped into the PCs, laptops, iPhones, and all the rest as if it were another drug to experiment with. Turned out it was the most addicting of all, and I am admittedly hooked on it, too, especially email.
One day soon, though, I swear, I’m going to break my addiction cold turkey and send my final email, which will read, “Dear Everyone I Know—I have officially quit email. If you want to reach me, call me. If you don’t have my phone number, I don’t know you well enough to continue our relationship. Have a good life. Goodbye.”
Then, I’m going to open a bottle of expensive wine, light up a fat doobie, crank up some Pink Floyd, take a blue pill, French kiss my wife, and tell the autopilot on the boat to take us to a place where the water is warm and clear, the natives are nice, the seafood is plentiful, and there’s no cell phone service.