A Boomer Thanksgiving


Boomers have a lot to be thankful for. Here are a few of mine:

1. Thank heavens our fathers were horny when they returned home from WW II. Seventy-eight million of us in 14 years. That's a lot of horny.

2. We're lucky to have survived childhood. Our mothers didn't know to not smoke or drink while pregnant, there were no child-proof caps on medicine bottles, we slept face down in lead-base-painted cribs, there were no child car seats, and we ran all over town without any supervision. We ate Hostess Cupcakes and Twinkies, drank sugar-sweetened Koolaid, ate white Wonder Bread, and used real butter, but somehow we survived.

3. Boomers learned early on, thankfully, that the only thing you were going to get if you "got set in your ways" was disappointed.

4. At Thanksgiving, we always had stuffing that was actually stuffed in the turkey. Today, they say that's dangerous. I don't know one person who died from authentic stuffing. We also had hand-mashed potatoes and pies made with lard crusts. Those were things to be thankful for. Now they are things that are loathed.

5. The TV came into being right around the time we did. That's probably something we should be thankful for, although I'm not entirely sure. Our first TV was bought around 1954. It was a black and white RCA with a 19" screen. During my childhood, TV was an optional form of entertainment. A baseball game, basketball game, or sandlot football game always came first. I'm definitely thankful for that.

6. I'm thankful that I come from a generation where education became a prized commodity. I was the first one from my family to go to college and receive a degree. More than anything I learned, I'm thankful for the diversity I experienced in college and the radicalization that I went through. It certainly helped me move my own family towards a more open, inclusive kind of world view.

7. One of the underlying principles of "boomership" is to do something meaningful with your life. The central question I've heard asked time and again, and have asked myself repeatedly, is "What is life all about?" There are choices to be made. If you don't make them with some level of responsibility, they'll be made for you. This ends up being played out in many different fashions. For me, it has ended up with trying to stay involved with the community, serving, and a career in the social services, which, while looking at my social security earnings, seems to have been quite a charitable endeavor. The question I continue to struggle with is no longer "What do I expect from life?" but rather "What does life expect from me?"

8. Boomers were, for the most part, brought up in a more lenient, less disciplined environment. Dr. Spock was the child guru of the time. Rather than the motto "Spare the rod, spoil the child," it was "Put away the rod, it's doing your child harm." I'm thankful my parents followed his advice, although by no means did everyone. I was never hit, paddled, or abused, physically or verbally. That example has led me to adopt a non-violent, pacifist existence, to the best of my ability. I am thankful I was able to pass that on to my own children. That is how we will overcome violence and stop wars.

So anyway, there are some things I'm thankful for. Sounds like more of a confession. Maybe you can relate to some of that, maybe you can't. At any rate, have a Happy Thanksgiving. If nothing else, maybe at this point you're thankful you aren't a boomer.