Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Old versus the Young

Politicians have discovered me and my people - the baby boomers. After years of grovelling to malodorous youth, they have, it seems, finally stumbled upon my fragrant generation. They have, naturally, completely screwed up their initial attempts at boomer seduction. David Cameron says we are an 'old' country and Labour is plainly struggling with the distinction between youth and age. What they don't realise is that every one of the nation's 11 million boomers really does think that denial is just a river in Egypt. Listen carefully, boys, we DON'T KNOW we are old. If you say, 'Look at that old guy!', we'll turn round to see whom you are talking about. Telling us we are old will produce two deeply undesirable outcomes: a) we will think you are mad and b)when the message sinks in we shall slump into terminal depression at which point the economy - which we alone run - will grind to a halt because the young will all be out clubbing seals or whatever it is they do. Meanwhile, the British are terrified of young people. We regard them with fear and we don't mix with them. Well, quite. In order to sustain the illusion that we are not old, it is absolutely essential to have nothing to do with young people. They might club us, mug us or draw attention to our embarrassingly youthful clothes; but the real problem is that they look young and we don't. We cross the street, not, primarily, to avoid violence, but to avoid the harrowing spectacle of smooth, unslackened skin and ungreyed hair.
Of course, this is all nonsense because, boomer or baby,
'Thou hast nor youth nor age,
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both...'


  1. Hee, hee. I love this. But unless you want to grow old and grey and full of sleep, you'd better hang out with the young'uns-- they're the future.

    So says a mom who spent a glorious afternoon with her adolescent son yesterday: We saw Martin McDonagh's play "The Pillowman" and then went to dinner. The boy sees the world in ways I do not and it's a wonder to me to hear his visions (and also his imitations -- of characters in the play, Ali G., et al). He's not a nerd or a mama's boy, simply a guy who likes and is used to enjoying the company of his parents and other adults.

    The kids geezers are afraid of are the ones who haven't been socialized with adults. Raised by their peers who are also missing parent figures, they're like packs of wolves -- suspicious, cruel, un(der)domesticated.

    So the answer, Bryan (was there a question?), is for those of us over 30 to stop acting like adolescents ourselves and instead to raise these kids, give 'em better companions than the wolf pack.

    Coffee fuels me au moment, so sorry 'bout the long post, but I think of this whenever I meet or see kids whose parents refuse to parent them. And it ain't the kids I blame when things go wrong.

  2. The future, said Albert Camus, is the only transcendent value for men without God. I'm not big on the future, Susan, unlike Bill Clinton, I do stop thinking about tomorrow and, unlike Tony Blair, I think back can often be better than forward. The young are no more the future than I am, they will just be around longer which is not remotely the same thing. But I'm sure your attitude is the healthy one. Mind you, my daughter seems okay,undamaged by my forbidding, gloomy, almost Victorian presence.

  3. A small hobby horse of mine; the baby-boomers.

    You have a great final salary pension, a big house which as increased 5x in value since you bought it with a small mortgage. You will get a state pension to boost your own priavte one, even when the baby-booming group as a whole retires.

    You grew up in the 60's, with its anti-establisment zeal and hated vietnam. Those of your generation who run the country were in CND and now invade countries at will; sending men to die which they would never have done themselves and protested so strongly against.

    Sorry, the baby-boomers have been a disastrous generation that will cause the world much harm for another generation at least. There may even be a huge civil crisis when you all retire and expect the young, who are much poorer in real terms, to support your continued existence.

    I am not surprised you do not think about tomorrow; it si so good today what is there for you to worry about?

    ok, rant over..