As practically everybody knows by now, American culture and society has been dominated for the last half century by the so-called “baby-boomer” generation – the children born to the returning WWII vets during the years 1946 to 1964. Advertisers, network programming execs and politicians have all fallen over themselves to curry favor with this large, somewhat homogeneous, and relatively affluent demographic. Radio stations continue to play the popular music of the boomer generation long after its relevance has passed. TV show casts continue to age with the boomers (the Bradys in the 70’s, SNL in the 80’s, thirtysomething in the 90’s). Hollywood producers make movies out of TV shows cancelled in the 70’s (Star Trek, The Beverly Hillbillies and, uh those darn Bradys again…)
Needless to say, the generations before and since have not appreciated all of this attention at their expense. The ultimate insult to those born after 1964 had to be the label “Generation X” bestowed upon them by the Boomer-dominated media.
Well, have patience twentysomethings, the boomer party is nearly over, and if there’s anything left, it’ll be yours for the taking very soon. Why? The boomers have hit middle age.
Ah, middle age, the time when a no-longer-young man’s fancy turns away from sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll to heartburn relief and rotating tires. We are no longer prized consumers but instead, desperate savers. We don’t watch as much TV, go to movies often or even listen to popular music. Basically, what we think or do doesn’t drive the economy as much as it once used to.
Oh, don’t count us completely out. The stock market surge – that’s us with our IRA’s, 401K’s, SEP’s and whatever. And I think we voted for Bill over Bob. But basically, now that we’re older the parade is passing us by.
My own aging manifests itself in middle-age behaviour. I have a fake tree and a computerized mailing list.
Of course, many boomers are in denial about aging. So, as a public service, and with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, I present:
You Might Have Reached Middle Age If…
…Your prescription refill number is programmed into your “speed-dial”.
…You have your Christmas cards in the mail by December 1st.
…You stopped worrying about hair loss and started worrying about memory loss.
…Your IRA has a higher balance than your credit cards.
…You can make major household repairs without buying any new tools.
…You name your eyeglasses by the activity they permit you to do.
…You have the owner’s manuals to all of your major appliances.
…Some of your mortgage payment actually goes against the principal.
…Watching Leno or Letterman is only possible on “nap” days.
…When you see Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger or Peter, Paul & Mary on television and they don’t look that old to you.(Ed. Note: Two years after this appeared, the book “You Know You’ve Reached Middle Age If” was published by Andrews McMeel and went on to sell over 100,000 copies.)