BABY BOOMER BABBLE
By Bruce Weik
The Zephyr, Galesburg
The baby boomers have arrived. Being one of the first, having been born in 1948, I have decided to chronicle ŌThe Era of the Boomers.Ķ As a bi-weekly column dedicated to us, baby boomers, IÕll cover our arrival after WWII, through the tumultuous 60's, right up to our beginning to turn sixty, on January 1, 2006. So this is to us, the hippies, yippies, and yuppies of the world who are about to give a whole new meaning to old age. Sixty will never be the same.
There is some disagreement as to the exact dates encompassing the baby boom. By most definitions, and the most widely accepted start date, is January 1, 1946. The end date also is disputed, but the most agreed upon date appears to be 1960. That fourteen year span represents an unprecedented increase in the birth rate. There have been various theories postulated as to the explanation for that increase, but, when you narrow it down, the simplest explanation seems to be there were a lot of horny soldiers returning home from WWII. Abstinence made more than the heart grow fonder. Kids started being born in 1946, and it didnÕt end until 1960. Now thatÕs a lot of horny.
The exact number of kids born during that fourteen year stretch is also debated. The number that comes up the most ranges from 76-78 million. That translates into 7918 boomers turning sixty each day since January 1, 2006, or 330 baby boomers turning sixty every hour. And it wonÕt end until January 1, 2021. Old has never been produced at such an accelerated rate.
Anyway, over the coming months IÕll cover a wide range of topics concerning the effects of baby boomers on every walk of life. The 60's is the decade that best defines the Boomers. The music, events, and social changes produced lasting effects on the country, from sock hops, to Woodstock, to the White House. I will discuss in detail how the Baby Boomers will redefine old age, how we will effect social security, health-care, and retirement. Along the way IÕll throw in some talk about the first generation to grow up on television, the draft, Black Panthers, Haight-Ashbury, Beatlemania, sex, drugs and rock and roll.
So if youÕre a Boomer, I think youÕll find the coming months to be interesting, self-reflecting, and fun. If you are not a Boomer, IÕd pay particular attention, because itÕs quite likely your boss is. So hereÕs to us, the largest, and quite possibly most obnoxious, generation ever produced. And hereÕs to our turning sixty. You can bet we donÕt like it, and will do everything in our power to remain young thinking, vital, charged with energy, and do whatever is necessary to stay out of nursing homes.
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