There’s an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal called The Boomer Bust by writer extraordinaire P. J. O’Rourke. In his essay, O’Rourke cedes that Baby Boomers are “greedy” for money. Coincidentally, O’Rourke is hawking a book, this column being an adaptation from said new release, The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again).
Now, as a Baby Boomer, I’m always interested in the subject − which I suppose O’Rourke would consider completely apropos, given our generation’s propensity to believe everything is about us … it is, isn’t it? A Boomer’s world is the ubiquitous, irrepressible … me, myself and I … self.
Masterful wordsmith that he is, O’Rourke has captured the essence, warts and all (for they are legion) of Baby Boomery. I have to confess, his description depressed me − because there was no way to deny how reasonable his assessment is.
To be fair, O’Rourke’s column wasn’t the first thing to spark my near-suicidal gloom. Having just read Tyler Durden’s Zero-Hedge post The Other America: “Taxpayers Are the Fools … Working is Stupid,” I was already teetering on the ledge.
I should have taken a break, found a way to refocus and regain my perspective, but no, O’Rourke is so compelling! I came in off the ledge to devour his post, hoping for a few humorous Boomerisms to counter the aforementioned Durden’s Gloomerisms.
Should’ve known better. Back on the ledge I climbed.
“The world is our fault,” O’Rourke says of Baby Boomers … and I visualize his long, bony finger pointing directly at me … because I know he’s telling the truth! I am beside myself in despair! In fact, he echoes Durden’s theme: “… we’re the generation who insisted that a passion for living should replace working for one.” Aargh!
I won’t lie. I hated reading O’Rourke’s observations but who would dare argue with them? He writes: “If we hadn’t decided to be young forever, we’d be old.” Boom!
We are old − no matter how hard we pretend otherwise. I’ve posted about aging before (here, here). Funny how it seems to be a common theme for me! When I read O’Rourke’s The Boomer Bust essay, I immediately thought about the sonnet shown below.
Those of us who are Baby Boomers thought we could change the world. (I’m guessing we haven’t been the only generation who embraced that slightly misguided but lofty goal, though we may have been the most shameless to do so.)
But I wonder … were we always too busy trying to change the world so that we forgot to cherish the small moments of truth, beauty and goodness that could have been ours to savor? That would be reason enough for despair.