Thursday, May 22, 2008

Feeling Groovy?

I was born in 1970 which means I’m pretty much the backbone of Generation X. I don’t really know what that means but thanks to our society's endless need to label everything that’s the way it is.

I grew up listening to my grandparents congratulate themselves for surviving the Great Depression and winning World War 2 while the Baby Boomers patted themselves on the back for the 60s. They were revolutionaries, man. Meanwhile everything important had been handled and the world was going to end in THE YEAR 2000 but I was still getting grief for being such a slacker.

Now the center mass of the Baby Boom Generation has turned 60 and American Consumerism is succinctly illustrating just how lame they are. No generation of senior citizens has been coddled and catered to quite like these rebellious movers and shakers who claim to have set the world on its axis.

I don’t mean any disrespect but in addition to Dennis Hopper schilling some sort of investment portfolio designed to help Boomers go gently into that good night while they pretend to rage against the dying of the light by spending money, there are numerous marketing campaigns that make it clear that this generation is a lot more Baby than Boom.

Take the Jitterbug. This is a cellular phone marketed to the AARP set. In fact they invest heavily in AARP advertising. Jitterbug’s gimmick is that there are no gimmicks. They’ve eliminated all of those dad-burned buttons and features like cameras and full color screens. It’s easy to use because, after all, old people are stupid.

Trek has followed up on that angle by marketing a three-speed bicycle that automatically shifts. It hearkens back to one of those clunky old cruisers, has a big springy seat and promises to help you “feel like a kid again”. Believe me, once Alzheimer's sets will any way.

Trek is trying to keep its options open and does market the bike to a younger crowd as well but considering that when I was a kid we actually wanted as many gears as you could cram on a sprocket, I think it’s safe to say the target demographic is the 60 and over crowd. The extra wide seat won’t rip a hole in your Depends and there’s a convenient storage compartment for your spare teeth.

What happened to I hope I die before I get old? How can it be that the generation that was once defined by something as wild as Woodstock is now hobbling gleefully into the bliss of senility? I know that you can’t stay young forever but do you have to embrace the cliché of being old?

What really irks me is the fact that I can’t seem to get a break. Growing up I was bombarded with movies about Vietnam and television shows about hippies turning 30. Now I’m getting hit with movies like the Bucket List where a couple of geezers try to live it up before they keel over. At least my grandparents had the decency to step aside and let the faster train roll on by. When life got to be more than they could handle they checked into Sunnyvale Acres and got by on cards and the occasional visit. Baby Boomers are turning the whole world into a retirement community. It’s OK is you want to be lame, just don’t drag the rest of us down with you. Pull over to the right and let the rest of us by.

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