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Is it “A Quarter to Dead”?

Written by Randy Patterson

“You know what time it is? It's quarter to dead!”
Hawkeye from the T.V. show, MASH

When I originally wrote the introduction to this feature (now called “Unplugged”), the feature was all that Boomerocity was going to be. The thought of interviewing icons from our past hadn’t yet entered my mind nor had reviewing their work.

As originally created, the only purpose of Boomerocity at that time was to use the site as a staging area to post articles of reflection in the slim hope of selling the articles to small newspapers around the country in hopes of picking up some spare change. Because of a couple of connections that I had, I figured I’d do a celebrity interview or two and then the site would shut down after about a year.

First, I needed a name for the website. I created the name, Boomerocity, after finding out that all of the other names I came up with were already in use. “Boomer” is, of course, referencing our demographic: baby boomers; “ocity” means “the essence of”. So, Boomerocity means the essence of being a baby boomer.

I ended the first year of Boomerocity’s with approximately 52 of these kinds of articles (as planned). However, the shocker was that I ended the first year with twenty-five interviews. Totally unexpected.

The hard reality, however, was – and is – that newspapers were – and are – in decline. Though I got a lot of compliments on my work, the papers were in no position to pay for my kind of articles. It’s only gotten more so since then. While the interviews and reviews have remained and are popular, the weekly musings were stopped and removed eight years ago due to the space limitations at the time.

Also, since the start of Boomerocity, there seems to have developed a rise of disdain for our demographic. I work a “day job” to pay the bills. While being introduced to a large group of new co-workers, in unison they welcomed me with, “Hello, Boomer”.

Even I knew that wasn’t to be considered a warm welcome.

So, boomers find themselves in an era of not being “fully appreciated”, to put it lightly. However, millennials and others DO love our music, TV, and movies from our day. It’s in these areas that I hope we can find some common interests and leverage that common interest to hopefully bridge what used to be called in the 70's as the "Generation Gap". It’s also where I hope to dust off the memories and lessons of our pasts, revisit them, and apply them today.

Yes, much of it is still relevant and applicable, just as we are.

In his landmark book, The Big 5-Oh, Bill Geist sites that a baby boomer turns 50 every eight seconds. Personally, I would prefer to turn 16 every 30 seconds but I get his point.

We’re told that, though we represent 28% of the U.S. population, we control 77% of all the financial assets in the country. Doesn’t that just make you feel drunk with power?

Wikipedia.org tells us that our generation was greatly influenced by television and music. I will take that point just a step or two farther and be so bold to say that the “arts” of our generation, meaning the music, television, and movies of our time (the 60’s and ‘70’s) were some of the best ever created. That vast body of creative work is still cherished, remembered, quoted, enjoyed and covered more than any other era of entertainment in the history of mankind.

If there’s any doubt about that, one only has to observe who has the most successful concert tours or the sales records for DVD sales of movies and T.V. shows. Acts like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles and Bruce Springsteen dominate tour earnings records. Also, T.V. shows like “The Andy Griffith Show”, “Happy Days”, and “MASH” are perennial favorites of viewers of all ages. So are movie classics like “Star Wars”, “Jaws”, “MASH”, “Patton”, “Deliverance”, and “The Sting”, to name just a few.

It is against the background of those major influences of our generation that I that I've chosen to bring back the original musings one at a time while adding new ones. No, we can’t go back, nor should we. However, as the old saying goes, “those who fail to learn from history are destined (or doomed) to repeat it”.

So, in future writings, I will reach back into our past to view our present and influence our future . . . and, hopefully, have a positive influence on the current generations. I hope will remember and reactivate the lessons of our youth and begin to practice them with a renewed passion. I also hope that we will realize that we’re standing on the greenest grass available and find it unnecessary to look for other pastures; we will learn that today is the stuff that yesterdays are made of so we’ll make the most of it; that we will use the lessons learned from our experiences to make a positive impact on our family, friends, and society.

And, while we’re at it, we can cancel our reservations at “the home” because we’re not going to need them for at least 30 or 40 years . . . if ever! Maybe then it will be “a quarter to dead” but we won’t know because we refuse to look at the clock.

In the meantime, we still have a lot of living to do.