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Into The Boomer Glass, Darkly

January 21, 2016


The “Me Generation” self-defined everything.

I was born in 1955 – at the Generational Equinox for Baby Boomers. The Bible sez humans can expect “3 score and 10” years of life, so the Boomers at the Winter Solstice side of the Generation, those born around 1945 can presume to be at the end of their Life Orbit.

David Bowie might have just been The Poster Boomer. Born right after World War II, he defied every aspect of the Greatest Generation Ethos: gender roles, aesthetic rules, music models. His death at 69 should not be a surprise, as his version of “Me Generation” expression had some risks attached. For Boomers of his vintage drugs were as common as Apple Pie at harvest time. Sex was a common form of casual encounter. AIDS happened 20 years after the Winter Solstice Boomers began having sex, so “safe” just meant practices that respected gravity and sharp edges.

And Rock and Roll meant Elvis ate bacon and peanut butter sandwiches, Momma Cass ate in bed, Freddie Mercury rocked beyond his immune system’s capacities and Jimi Hendrix joined Janis Joplin on the Final Trip. But somehow, some how David Bowie’s death shocked millions on Face Book, Twitter and the rest of Instant Expression Media.

The marriage of “Me and “Media” is a bit diabolic. Instant narcissistic reactions every human has ever had when a peer dies became Human Tragedy, instead of a Reality Check.

Every death is sad, as the Prime Directive is Not Dying. But few natural deaths of 69 year old exquisitely successful and loved humans can be plausibly called “Tragic”. But the millions of grief-ridden Boomer Fans were bereft, if the postings, tweets and blogs are to be believed.

Bowie’s death might not have been tragic, but his death at 69, meant that the surviving 80,000,000 US Boomers are looking at their “Sell By” dates, assessing the activities, genetics and consumptions that play against the odds of living beyond 3 score and 10.

Bowie did not make it.

“Me” can’t know, let alone control, much after the degree, life partnering, careering, wealth-accumulating, children-creating/controlling(NOT), parent-burying is done – we Boomers are at the edge of the horizon of the Final Loss of Control. We have largely laughed at religion, believed in kicking ass, and bellowing our importance to anyone who would listen. But now, virtually all of we “Me”‘s are experiencing 1001 tiny bodily betrayals (eyesight, wrinkles, ligament status, hair loss/growth etc) that are hysterically laughing at us – every day.

Our children have used tattoos and lifepath “float” to control the immediate vagaries, and with the vast majority of years in the “outyear” side, those temporary fixes of our era’s uncertainties are viable coping controls. But Boomers, even those born at the end of the Generation, when the Beatles arrived in America, are beginning to see the bodily betrayals as just the first little bits of a very dark truth: “Me” is not-so-good without autono-me.

So Bowie dies, we do not, but are reminded we will.

We could distort sensory perception with drugs, visual expression with some of the worst clothing and hair manipulations in all of human history, and created politics and arts that trended shrill and self-imbued.

Modesty and gratitude are not the Boomer virtues. In lives of achievement and expression in the here and now, even Yoga seems a little lite when our own lives’ Winter Solstice comes into apprehension.

Bowie had video/vinyl/8-track/cassette/CD/download recording of his worldly life: the rest of us have the more personal measurables to account as we look forward to the retrospection of our absence.

Looking into the mirror is pretty predictable behavior for the “Me”‘s. But now, what we see is not just us, its the impending absence of us. There is no consolation in achievement when its venue ends.

We may think we have invented this, just like the Internet or the Electric Slide, but we are just the latest, but largest, wave of humans to deal with our inability to write the rules of our existence.

Bowie cut an album.

Not sure what I will do: You?



3 Comments leave one →
  1. karen permalink
    January 27, 2016 5:11 pm

    Yes. We should meditate on our purpose/s and embrace what good there is. I still believe there is a right and wrong and Someone out there.


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