by Greg Cain
Now that baby boomers are getting close to retirement age, it's only a matter of time before they become the cranky old people the Woodstock generation abhorred.
You already can hear them bemoaning thong underwear, tattoos and Generation X's contempt for boomers. "Young people today don't appreciate all we did for the environment, women's rights and civil rights," the boomers gripe. Not to mention what boomers did for the blue jean industry.
And where would the world be without the boomers' knack for self-promotion, self-improvement and self-esteem?
Shut up, boomers. You're sounding crabby. Ornery, grumpy, unhappy. Constipated, contrary, curmudgeonly. Worst of all, you sound like your parents, and you swore on a stack of "Rolling Stone" magazines that you never would grow up to be like your parents.
Now you're about to fast-forward past your parents and become your grandparents. You're going to grow hair in your ears, wear dumpy clothes and watch bad TV every afternoon. You will sound like Luke McCoy, Andy Rooney and other grizzly old goats who romanticize the past.
The typical male boomer can be especially pathetic as he lumbers toward retirement, a pot belly hanging over his belt buckle. Boomer Boy now can finally afford to buy a big motorcycle, but he's too weak to kick-start it, a la Marlon Brando in "The Wild One." This mild one gets an automatic starter and rides the bike only on Sundays, usually just to a restaurant for breakfast. Then the queasy rider scoots home to watch golf - the Seniors Tour! - on TV between naps.
The typical relic from the Age of Aquarius attends no more than one concert a year, and only if it's a show by the Reunion Band, singing Beatles songs yet again. The Dylan dinosaur wonders if anyone will ever again want to hold his liver-spotted hand, and he hears new meaning to that song about "Will you still love me when I'm 64?"
Sixty-four isn't that far away, and Flower Power Floyd has squandered his money on everything but retirement savings. He might spend his golden years standing at the entrance to Wal-Mart, offering wagons to shoppers and wondering where his muscle tone went.
Gee, and he thought when he got AARP status, he would become a cool and sexy old guy like Sean Connery or at least grow wise and all-knowing, like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Instead, he resembles Don Knotts with bad knees.
He doesn't get a kick out of it when younger people call him "Mister" and "sir." These aren't titles of respect; they're signs that Disco Dude is old, old, old.
He hasn't felt really spry and spunky since the "Greed is good" 1980s of Ronald Reagan, Oliver North and three-piece suits. And he really flips out when he gets a good deal at a store or at a movie, only to realize he got the senior citizen discount without even being asked if he was old enough to qualify. And he wasn't. But he should regain his sense of humor, recall that Elvis has left the building and realize that he could be next.
It's OK to complain about the younger generation, but it's a lot like belly-aching about an ex- spouse - not something classy people do in public. Better yet, the boomer should smile and make the best of the aging process. Not only will he feel better, but it really will infuriate the cranky old people and sour senior citizens he grew up with.