Boomer Humor? Maybe not…


Yesterday, I received an e-mail newsletter from BOOMERING_jaLouthain that said the following:

A few weeks ago, I was watching an episode of that crazy TV show Boston Legal. The law firm, Crane, Poole & Schmidt, was defending a radio “shock jock”. He wasn’t a very young man, maybe in his late 30s, and he had made a statement on the air that old folks (like Boomers) should “just die” before they cost the nation so much in social security benefits and medical expenses. The radio station had fired him because he offended much of their listening audience which was in the Baby Boomer category. Shirley Schmidt, (aka, Candice Bergen, the quintessential Boomer, born in 1946) defended him and he won, because the radio station hired him to shock and that’s what he’d done.

Despite the fact that I totally believe in freedom of speech, I was shocked–shocked to think that he had a point. Boomers have always been the darlings of society–pampered, educated, admired, envied, even patronized. But now we’re just old folks like every other generation before us.

You audacious Generations Xers, Yers, XXLers, and Zers! Have you so quickly forgotten that we’ve given you the Internet, video games, remarkable health care, excellent working conditions and infinite electronic and satellite capabilities? Now that we’re old and retiring, you just want us gone?

It’s true, we will put a tremendous drain on Social Security and Medicare, there’s no question of that. And don’t expect medical and insurance costs to go down until the last one of us is a flower child in heaven. But have a heart, “Younguns,” we still have feelings, and we hope to have a lot more years to live as your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. And don’t forget the most important aspect of all this: Someday you TOO will be old.

While this is being said in a tongue-in-cheek way, after the things that I have been reading in cyberspace, the comments here have a sting to them. I’m particularly bothered by the comment of the “things” that we have given as well as the comment that both, Social Security and Medicare will be nearly depleted. In all honesty, I’m not sure what to say or how to react. While a baby boomer will find it funny, the fact that we also brought a lot of pain to our children cannot be dismissed. Many of the articles and blogs that I’ve read speak of the pain caused by broken homes as a result of divorce. Other articles ask what will be left for them after we are done using up Social Security and Medicare and who is going to be left footing the bill.

I think that it is time for the Baby Boomers to look at the Generation X’s square in the face and say “I’m sorry.” Beyond that, I think it is time for the baby boomers to stop and listen to what the Gen. X’es have to say – they are , after all, our children.

Your turn to talk – What do you think?

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Dennis Prager, one of America’s most respected thinkers, wrote wrote an article in Jewish World Review titled Baby Boomers owe America’s young people an apology. This article is a group apology for what we Baby Boomers have put the younger generation(s) – our children – through. In his blog, Dennis Prager, Baby Boomers, and the Signpost to Hell, Ben Bateman adds divorce to the list of things that we should apologize for. To be sure, both articles make for interesting reading and gives much food for thought. I admit that I am fairly new to blogging and when I surf the web for ideas to blog about, I am amazed at the amount of resentment I see towards the baby boomers by the younger generations.

You can see an example of this resentment in Boomers set to retire; the rest of us set to hear about it. Check out the reformated art on the AARP magazine cover and, what is most telling – the ‘Filed under’ categories (Filed under:Baby Boomers, We’re so sick of you, please die). At first, I thought that I had just stumbled upon a small group of disaffected youngsters but, as I have continued to surf about Baby Boomers, it is clear that this feeling is quite pervasive and I am sorry to say that I had no clue at all! As I ask myself what does all this mean to me, I realize that I have children in their twenties and thirties and I don’t really know if they resent me for being a baby boomer. Even if it is right, it is still a very sobering thought to realize that your whole generation is resented and blamed for many of the social problems we have today.

I’m a guy, and as a guy, my brain is screaming “What do I do?! I gotta fix it! How do I fix it?!” The truth is, the more I think about this, the more it resonates within me. My sense is that more than being selfish, immature and not wanting to grow up; the resentment speaks to something deeper and more fundamental. Each generation has a duty and a responsibility to pass on a legacy to the next generation; more than just a legacy, it is a covenant between generations, between parents and children. The resentment may very well be the younger generation’s way of trying to tell us that they feel that we have broken covenant with them and left them to fend for themselves.

If this is the case, we owe them more than just an apology, we owe them the relationship that they had a right to expect from us and we never gave them. We owe them the moral plumb-line that we were supposed to be for them and they never had or never saw in us. We owe them the love they had a right to expect simply for being our children and the next generation. In one word, we owe them ourselves.

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As a father and divorced man Christmas and new year’s does not necessarily have the same meaning as it does to most others. Even though I have family that live relatively close by (parents, siblings, Etc.), Christmas for me is a time to remember that I have not been able to be with my children in over fifteen years. The feelings are less intense now, less crippling but, they are still there; the pain, sadness, shame and weariness all come back to remind me and to haunt me. While my children are grown (my youngest is eighteen), there is still this emptiness that wells up this time of the year. Time after time I find myself daydreaming that my arms are cupped as if to hold a child only to feel the emptiness and ‘something’ that slips through my arms and my fingers like water – I can never hold on to it.

By now, the hope that someone, anyone – maybe even my children – would see the sacrifices that I’ve made is all but gone. In fact, by now, most all my dreams and hopes concerning family are all but gone. I feel like I’m trying to crawl out of a deep pit and every time I try, I slip back further and further. The one sliver of hope – and it is diminishing day by day – is the notion that my children, as adults, would want to reconcile and I can have a family again. But, it is another Christmas and I get no messages, no phone calls, no indication that I am even remembered. Day by day, time slips by and I’m so weary…

What happened to privacy – Part II

Here are some additional thoughts concerning privacy, you can read the first part “What happened to privacy?” and you can check the blog from Elias Bizannes that inspired my own blogs “Define Privacy – what does it mean to you?

Part of the discussion concerning privacy is not so much what privacy is but, how is it achieved. Before the advent of the electronic age and before the Internet, penetrating the privacy of something or someone required a great deal of effort. Before, to do this, you had go to where the information was.

Back then, you had to be fairly motivated to want to go to where the repository of information was physically located. There was a geographical separation between you and the information you wanted. Once you arrived where the information was, you had to be willing to spend hours, days and even months wading through mounds of documents to get what you wanted.

A great deal of the privacy that we enjoyed was achieved by the sheer physical and mental effort it took to get to the relevant data. What the electronic age has done is to take all that away. There is no longer effort or sacrifice needed to get the information you are looking for.

Parallel to privacy concerns, another thing that is of concern is the veracity of the information you are acquiring or divulging. With the deluge of easy information has come the deluge of false information and outright dis-information. Where before, the repository of information in physical form, whether implicitly or explicitly, gave a measure of weight as to the veracity of the data, today that is being lost by leaps and bounds.

So the questions become, how do we protect ourselves and those whom we care about from invasion of privacy and false information? In an environment where information no longer has a physical shape or a geographical location, in an environment where the information may be completely false, how do we protect ourselves?

One of the things that we are going to have to review and revise is our attitude towards information. Because of how information was gathered and divulged in the past, we have tended to give it a lot of credibility. Consider the newspaper and newscasts of old; whatever Walter Cronkite said was the truth, whatever the New York Times said, was the truth.

We need to develop what I call a “healthy skepticism” towards information today. We need to develop and internalize some level of skepticism about how the information was gathered, by whom it was gathered and how it is being vetted or confirmed. Doing that will go a long way to curb the explosion of “trash” information that is floating all over cyberspace.

What happened to privacy? – Part I

With the advent of the Internet, one of the things that seems to be in the process of a very fundamental change is privacy. While you can find many sites that discuss the privacy issues in the Internet age, almost all of them miss a very important point. What is happening in this Internet age is a complete re-definition, from the ground up, of what privacy is.

Elias Bizannes has an interesting article in his web site,, where he gives a definition of privacy that is, at the same time, simple and practical. Here is his definition:

As a whole concept –

“Privacy is an individual’s right to determine what information they would like others to know about themselves; which people are permitted know that information; and the ability to determine when those people can access that information”.

As is usual in cases like these, the devil is in the details. Just how can you implement something like this on a global scale is beyond me. Just what would you be able to do if information that you do not want divulged is flooding the internet and it is coming from another country?

I’ve thought some more about this and you can read it on What happened to privacy – Part II.

What do you think?
What does privacy meant to you?
Do you agree with Elias’ definition?
What things do you do to protect your privacy? 

Where or when do you live?

This is another article inspired by something I read in Craig J. Phillips’ site secondchancetolive. His article is called “Where are you living your life?

As a baby boomer, we are part of a generation that has seen gut-wrenching social change. While, in general, there have been many positive things come out of the changes, there have also been casualties. One of the things that is still changing and evolving is men’s role in society and in the family.

It is one thing to discuss this as an intellectual exercise and quite another to live it in all its gut-wrenching and, at times, traumatic pain. Having had personal experience with this, I can tell you that the process will mark you and, in some ways, define you.

So, what does all this have to do with “where do you live?” Traumatic events can “live on” in our minds long after the events are over. This is particularly so if the trauma has occurred over a long period of time (such as an abusive relationship).

When I read Craig’s article and his question, I began to ask myself “where do I reside?” After several days, I finally got an answer that both amazed me, and I did not like one bit. The answer I got was “I reside in the place of death.” Needless to say, not fun at all! However, actually voicing this and being honest about it caused a tremendous change in me almost instantly.

When I voiced the answer, I could see that it was the root cause for so many other things in my character that I knew I had made a breakthrough. Almost instantly, I could see this “fortress” crumble as I became empowered and realized I was no longer under its yoke. I can’t tell you how liberating it feels to be able to look at this thing and say “you no longer control me!”

Now comes something that will probably be difficult but, a lot more fulfilling and constructive. Now, I get to start the process of changing a lifetime’s worth of behavior based on “the fortress.” Here’s the thing – however hard or difficult it may be, it feels pretty good to be in control!

What do you think?
Where do you “live?”
How has your process gone?
Are you still searching for the answer?

What makes you angry?

I was browsing different blogs and came across an article titled “What makes you angry?” in secondchancetolive by Craig J. Phillips.

The title really resonated with me and reminded me of all the times that I was angry. It truth, angry is not how I would put it, it was more like seething rage. I would come suddenly or it would build up suddenly; in the end, i would wind up having to either sit down or lay down because I was seeing black spots, I was unable to breathe as the rage welled up to the point that it felt like my head was going to blow up like a volcano.

I look back now at all the time spent raging inward and raging outward and think of all the time wasted. Don’t get me wrong, raging outward was not about being violent or anything like that but, rather, it was time spent feeling all the seething, bottled-up anger. Being Hispanic means that I pretty much wear my feelings on my skin and having being raised catholic means that I was “supposed” not to feel anger or hatred.

While I could always bounce back, I was going back and forth so much that I was spending my time and energy in trying to stay stable rather than getting to the root of the problem. It was not until I could finally let go and allow myself to feel the anger and accept the rage that I could begin to see my way clear. It took me most of my life to understand what Craig talks about in his article – “own” your anger.

While I have come a long way, there are still areas that I am still working on. The difference now is that I can be angry without the seething, roiling rage. I now feel comfortable accepting that part of me, accepting when I’m angry and the reasons for it.

In the process, the amazing thing that I have learned is that not everything is my problem, responsibility or fault. I no longer feel obligated to “fix” everything that I see as wrong. I have learned to do something that I find very empowering; I have learned how to re-define the problems and issues and own up to my part of it, and only my part of it.

What do you think?
Have you had problems with anger?
Have you been able to overcome them?
What was your process, how did you work through it?