Baby Boomers '52

Born a third the way into the 18-year Boom

we 1952-ers travel just ahead of the crest of the wave . . .

. . . we're the froth.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

What's Funny About Labor Day?

I've been trying to think about something amusing to write about Labor Day. Since the other topics hot on my mind are bankruptcy, politics and governing, I was thinking laboring on Labor Day had more potential for light humor.

Indeed, as I write from the lap of paradise, two jet skiers sputter past. The riders are middle aged. Middle-aged and very sweet to one another. "Do you want to go in first?" asks the man looking back at the woman. "Oh, no, you go on," she says. I wonder if this means they are married or if they are not.

It's easy to hear their conversation and even establish the emotional tone because not only do voices carry well over water but people are typically screaming in a normal voice when a motor is running beneath them.

Come to think of it that also applies to bankruptcy, politics and governing. Or sort of: The natural voice is screaming as the motor of bankruptcy/politics/governing revs beneath them. I wonder if screaming pleasantries could be just as satisfying as screaming anything else.

I have been wanting to scream lately. Remember Primal Scream Therapy? Popular back when we Boomers were still in full possession of our own hearing. It sounded appealing then and sounds appealing now. A couple quick clicks assure me it is still available, Google and Wikipedia are all over it. But the potential humor doesn't draw me, I don't click further. I don't want therapy. I just want to scream.

I would like to scream: Stop! Wasting! My! Time!

The screaming itself might be good therapy. Baby Boomer Girls in my years were raised to fight stealthily and from the flank. We were advised to have a "good cry" over rejection, disappointment, apprehension, loss or disaster to purge ourselves of grief.

Lately crying seems the last possible reaction I could muster from any of those things. A good scream seems much more likely to provoke catharsis. That's what I want.

And then I want to go back to the garden Joni Mitchell was singing about on our way to Woodstock. Remember back when our full concept of "time" was captured in that song?
"Is it the time of year? Or is it the time of Man?"

Women were so young back we weren't even called women yet. We didn't even know to ask, "Is it the change of life?"

So not too far a metaphoric reach: Wanting to capture fleeting time as I write from the lap of paradise on Labor Day, the end of summer. Hard to be a Boomer of my years and miss the middle-aged metaphor there.

Oh no! Not another middle age crisis? It always feels that when the first of the Boomers go through it we're all over it. I think I just really want to scream to stop wasting time, regardless of whether its the time of man, time of day, time to write the great American novel or too late to even read it.

What do we know about it anyway? Ah, there's that famous rub. We know only that we don't know when or how. And now it's the end of summer and we're reckoning? Sheesh, is this as light as Labor Day can get? I might as well go back to bankruptcy, politics and government.

Thank goodness, here come the middle-aged jet-skiers again.

Mostly it's young kids screaming in and out on the jet skis. I clench my teeth and think how rare anyone gets out on the water for a rewind, reset, re-framing of the careening movie that is our life. The machines are nothing but mechanized dinosaur mosquitoes, whining and penetrating every crevice of hearth and home. But it is the lap of paradise and we creek dwellers have little right to whine ourselves.

So this couple puttering along, albeit at jet ski decibel, have a charm. They are wearing matching flotation vests, slimming in black. She appears to have the same armor plated long skirted swimsuit I got from Land's End Overstock last year. And that is not merely endearing but reassuring. I know that no matter what, she won't want to fall off that dinosaur. That suit has enough fabric to it to sink when it gets wet.

She screams across the creek, "Isn't this great?"

I think that's what I'll start screaming. Couldn't hurt.

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