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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baby boomers turning 65

New Speaker of the House John Boehner is a baby boomer. No extra charge for tears. (AP)

On January 1, 2011, 14 days from the time I am writing this piece, the so called “baby boomers” will start turning 65. That’s right; all 77 million or so of them will start becoming 65 beginning with the one second after midnight births from January 1, 1946.

Most of us know why these folks are called baby boomers but, in case you don’t know, it is because they were born after millions of guys returned from military service after World War II. Needless to say, after living in foxholes for four years, they kept their wives busy in the bedrooms of America to the point that the population soared. When the birth rate dipped below 4% in 1964, the boom was considered finished.

Why has this subject been discussed and debated for years? I’ve never given special attention to people in the boomer age category but have looked at those born in that microcosm as fortunate only because it makes every one of them younger than I am. However, some look at 77 million people born within a 19 year period and they want to categorize them into a group with similar beliefs.

Is that being fair, especially since the categorization is usually negative? Writer Ray Cooklis (b. 1950) doesn’t think so. He says “I’m sick and tired of ‘experts’ lumping us together as a monolith of people who supposedly act alike, think alike, buy alike, and age alike.” He is resentful of being informed that “because I was born in a certain year I wear these clothes, listen to this music, or hold these views.” He also tires of hearing about how boomers are “wasteful, self-indulgent, and spoiled.”

It does seem odd that so many people can be grouped into a whole when you consider the many races, beliefs, and nationalities in the USA. For example, Cooklis mentions Spike Lee and Rush Limbaugh. Would anyone in their right mind link those two? How about George W. Bush and Barack Obama? Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton? Light years apart, right? But, they are all boomers.

Besides these examples of the baby boomer myth, how about the fact that the first and last born boomers are 19 years apart in age. That alone puts them into basically two generations with different ideas.

A recent AP poll says that “baby boomers are the unhappiest of all Americans when it comes to making love. The generation that promoted free love has become old and cranky about sex.” I don’t know who the AP polled but I know a lot of people who were born between 1946 and 1964 and I would say the LAST thing they are cranky about is sex.

I look at most people as individuals, not as a group. Besides, if those born during the “baby boom” are cranky about sex, where does that put us pre baby boomers?

Jim McAllister writes blogs and columns for The Arizona Republic newspaper in Scottsdale, AZ. To read 80 comments on this blog or to add a comment, click "Jim's azcentral blog" in the right column under links and scroll down. You WILL NOT receive a virus.

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