Boomers, Again

by Jeff Costello, April 26, 2017

A lot of younger people are apparently under the impression that baby boomers are the selfish "me" generation, who became yuppies, stock brokers etc. I've read a number of angry articles by X and Y ("millennials") generation people that assert this. It may be true, but I don't know to what extent, because I don't know any of these people. If I and most everyone I know born in the late 40s are in a minority of this generally perceived notion of what/who baby boomers are, we are apparently living in a different world. I was there in Marin County to witness the birth of the "yuppie" phenomenon, but from the other side of the tracks. BMWs were "Basic Marin Wheels" for the "I want it all now" crowd, but I was thinking "Break My Windows." One great disappointment for me about the 60's was that so many of "us" were merely pretending, affecting the look, the clothes, hair, etc. There for the party, the chicks, or maybe some were narks. Underneath it all they were squares, did not get the implication, the potential of what was going on. My distinct suspicion is that some of today's wealthy CEOs and banksters were among the phonies in the hippie scene.

I naively believed that pot and acid were going to cause an evolutionary human leap. Now of course, acid is gone and pot is legal in Washington and Colorado, and on the way to being legal in other states. And damn if the drug didn't really change anything, in fact, the same guys who wanted to beat me up for having long hair then are now sporting ponytails, pot is just another drug to have with a beer, politicians smoke weed and still do the same old shit. Marijuana has been taken over by the squares and worse, and legality is going make a lot of money for them. I haven't smoked it since -- around 1981. A drinking buddy of mine in Hawaii smoked weed all the time and still loved football, had anger issues and got into fights... in other words he was unchanged by it. And a lot of the growers I knew had elephant-sized egos and guns to match. These people were not hip and groovy at all. It was all very enlightening for me and I grew to dislike the whole scene very much.

Thirty years ago a guy I knew from Sausalito moved up to Humboldt County to get rich growing. Stories went around about garbage cans full of hundred-dollar bills, buried in the hills. Way out on a wooded ridge somewhere, I found him sitting on the floor of the cabin, leaning against a wall with ten or fifteen guns of various types leaning next to him. He was drained of color, clearly highly stressed and paranoid. The man looked utterly miserable.

"Bear" Owsley, the acid chemist associated with the Grateful Dead.who became a celebrity figure in San Francisco in the 60's, spent his last days in Australia, thinking it was the place to evade global warming disaster, and died in a car wreck. He had converted to a meat-only diet, and had a website up "proving" that humans were not designed to eat any plant-sourced food. Things and people are not often what they seem...

And now marijuana is legal in Colorado, and with it has come a land rush and building boom. The peace and love drug has not mellowed anyone out in this very conservative, gun-crazed "red" state. This here place ain't no John Denver song. I found a copy of the NRA magazine in a medical clinic waiting room, alongside the usual golf and travel stuff, and read dangerous crackpot Wayne LaPierre's column. It almost could have been a campaign ad for Trump, the biggest and worst boomer of all, born six weeks before me, and no more than ten miles away.

So - Boomers continue getting bad press, but we are not all publicity hounds or wealth-and-power seeking business types, sucking more than a decent share of energy from life. Time will tell how millennials and such are regarded by history. The only question is whether it matters.

2 Responses to Boomers, Again

  1. izzy Reply

    April 28, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Well, it was obvious even back in the day that those dedicated to the ideology-du-jour were far outnumbered by those just around for the party. Yet another ripple was passing through the social body, but the greater mass was unmoved, as is usually the case. Will the elevation of pot into another legalized racket really be the overarching historical legacy? If so, too bad. Should the millennials – whatever the name stands for – get the chance to reach old age, no doubt a similar pattern will be observed.

  2. Jim Gibbons Reply

    April 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I have learned over the years that a lot of grey- beards with pony tails are Vietnam Vets, which makes me think that they missed out on the 60s look and feel it’s never too late.
    I’ve had a beard ever since I could grow one because I hate shaving, but never had a pony tail because I only like that look on females.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *