It has never been easy to get old, I’m certain of that. It’s not getting any easier either, I’m certain of that too.
Most of the hassles are of the bureaucratic kind. Money hassles in general; dealing with Social Security and Medicare; taxes; doctor bills; working; investments if you’re lucky. Illness and decrepitude are hassles, that’s for sure. My least favorite hassles, however, are the ones that come from other people in the form of silly ideas. Things like, “Social Security and Medicare are entitlement programs (and we can’t afford such giveaways)”; “how long should people have to work before they can start on Social Security?”; and my least favorite, “Baby Boomers fucked up the world.”
That last one, amazingly, often comes from Baby Boomers themselves. If that’s the case, usually It’s a Conservative Baby Boomer complaining about Liberal Baby Boomers. Most often, though, it comes from younger people, and it really gives me a “hey you kids, get off my lawn” moment when that happens. Young people have been annoying since the dawn of time, but I’m getting to the age when it becomes most noticeable. When young people today complain about Baby Boomers they have a twofold agenda: 1) Baby Boomers made mistakes that have ruined my planet or my finances and limited my opportunities or something; and 2) when are my Baby Boomer parents going to die so that I can get my hands on “my” money? Man, I like ISIS better than I like some of these young people.
And by the way, all of you hipsters, with your hipster hats, you’d better hurry up and knew this:
As you are, we once were; as we are, so you will someday be. (To paraphrase skeletal death on those Middle Ages tombstones.)
And that’s if you’re lucky! Not everybody gets the luxury of old age. I was definitely thirty-five-years-old at one time, and I was thirty-five for an entire calendar year. Many of these whining youngsters will be dead before they reach my age. Maybe long dead. Some of them deserve it, too.
Everybody gets the same deal. Everybody who lives a normal life span, who hits the actuarial predictions, lives exactly one year at each year of age. Everyone’s year is the same 365 days; the same 525,600 minutes. My “three score and ten” is the same as everybody else’s “three score and ten.” All young people, including we Boomers, have always shared the illusion that they will somehow beat the odds and remain young forever, because they exercise, or eat right, or will get lucky, or the doc’s will figure something out, forever. The certainty of death only begins to sink in at around forty-five-years-old. It all happens faster than anyone expected it to as well. If you’re alive now, you’ll be dead within only a few thousand heartbeats after me. We’re alive . . . we’re dying . . . and, we’re gone. That’s the deal. And it’s not the fault of Baby Boomers.
It’s not cool to blame shit on previous generations. Intergenerational struggles are like a Golden Gloves boxing match, where a couple of kids wear huge pillowy gloves and flail away at each other without really accomplishing anything. Baby Boomers may be in a unique situation, now that I think of it. When we were young men and women, our parent’s generation was jealous of us, and by now I think these young hipsters are jealous of us as well. After all, our fun made their fun look like a work camp. And young people today should bow down and thank us for breaking up the old social status quo. We died for their sins! All of the things that they now believe make them cool came from us Boomers.
And here’s a tip, boys and girls. If you’ve got your eye on mommy and daddy’s money, don’t say that shit out loud. Keep that as your most closely held secret. Because we are a nation of laws, and your parents can do whatever they want with that money. I would encourage them to consider the matter very seriously.
And here’s a tip for Baby Boomers whose adult children are measuring them for coffins and taking inventory of their property and accounts: don’t forget to put your ungrateful children in your will for $100. That way they can’t take the battle to the Probate Court arguing that you just forgot to mention them and that you really intended to leave everything to them.