We baby boomers are the offspring of The Greatest Generation. Our parents survived the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression. They won World War II and tried to win in Korea. We, on the other hand, were born during a period of prosperity and relative peace. To our parents, this meant we were spoiled. We knew better, though, and we set out to pretty much shake the stuffing out of the world. In the process of all this, we learned a few things, including the following:
1. Air raid and duck-and-cover drills can be really scary to a little kid. They are useless, anyway. If you are being vaporized by an atomic bomb, crouching under a school desk with your hands over your head isn’t going to help much.
2. Try not to lose your skate key.
3. Don’t let your Mom give you home permanents, and don’t let your Dad cut your bangs.
4. If you can’t get good TV reception by fiddling with the rabbit ears, having your little brother stand near the TV and act as a human aerial will sometimes help, as long as he is not blocking your view.
5. Life was not worth living before the invention of the 16-ounce soda bottle.
6. The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show trumps anything your parents might want to watch on the other channel.
7. Even if you only have two or three TV channels to choose from and at least one of them doesn’t come in very clearly, there will be arguments over what to watch.
8. If your new haircut gives your parents apoplexy, it’s groovy.
9. Long hair can be very sexy on a man.
10. After spending several years teasing your hair into a bouffant and trying to sleep on rollers, it is a relief to just let your hair grow down to the middle of your back, part it in the middle and let it hang down.
11. Don’t wear a dashiki over an Indian cotton skirt. That just looks weird.
12. Don’t wear a miniskirt if you have fat thighs or a big butt.
13. You should have kept those old bell bottom pants, because you could have dug them out of storage when they came back into fashion again. The same can be said for hip hugger jeans.
14. You can look back on all the campus protests and wish you had been in the middle of some of it, even though your college was nowhere near Berkeley or Kent State or Columbia and you felt safe at the time, knowing that the students in your pretty conservative school were not going to start anything.
15. At a party, it is permissible to serve inexpensive red wine in paper cups, as long as you have a lot of little squares of cheese and some fancy crackers. Fondue is also acceptable.
16. Even if you don’t actually indulge, it can be fun to sit at a party where everybody else is smoking grass and watch their eyes glaze over as they turn stupid.
17. “500 Miles” is a great song to sing when a bunch of college kids are stuck on a bus.
18. “This Land is Your Land” is not the American national anthem, but it might as well be.
19. A milk carton can make a reasonably good mould for a homemade candle.
20. Being part of the “aging” baby boomer generation isn’t bad at all.