The Tao of the Baby Boomer
Yes it’s true I write a great deal about getting older. Usually I try to include humor in my tirades just to ease the pain a bit, but lately I find myself at a loss about how to stem the tide of gray hair, muscles morphing into fat and turning up the television sound at regular intervals.
Oh sure we all share the same trials and tribulations about the passing years and I’ve often thought that the Baby Boomer generation, who I believe, and more so every day was one of the smartest groups to populate the earth, should have some answers.
However, as I meditate on the past and the idols we all shared I’m coming up a bit empty on the whole self-help front. What exactly should we have learned from the childhood icons we spent our time watching and adoring?
I’m starting with Clarabell. Don’t mock yet, for in thinking about this silent clown who preferred to communicate though a horn I have discovered so much wisdom my mind truly boggles.
First and foremost to my knowledge no one ever told us why he honked instead of talking like regular people.
So was it to promote silence? Nope, don’t think so since that damn horn was noisy and annoying. I’d rather he spout Shakespeare than keep violating my ears with that racket, so what did we learn here? Or perhaps should have learned?
Perhaps Clarabell was trying to teach us that sometimes we can communicate without the need for words. A smile, a beep, a wink or a hand gesture, and I think we all know that a hand gesture can indeed speak volumes, can suffice when communicating our thoughts.
Did he also want us to learn that we need to look behind the mask and make up human beings may use to cover up their feelings at times and see the real person? That digging deeper is sometimes a true act of charity when someone needs our help. So was the message wasted? How many of us have sought to determine whether or not someone is truly hurting when they portray a mask of unkindness to the world? Have we reached out and learned Clarabell’s lesson or merely walked away when we could have helped?
Of course most importantly is the lesson of silence. How many times have we spoken and regretted our words? How many times have we kept silent and made a greater impact? Many I assume. I know I have.
I could never speak of idols without including the great Bugs Bunny. Oh the lessons here were too numerous to mention, but one of my very favorites was wearing a mask to achieve our ends in life? No, I haven’t lost it altogether, although I admit I’m pretty close after watching the news this morning. If you will reach back into your memory banks and visualize Bugs in red lipstick and a bear trap in his mouth seductively stopping the Tasmanian Devil in his steps, you will agree that sometimes make up can do wonders. No, I don’t mean in the sense we can stop a mugger by applying lipstick, but that when we face the world both friends and adversaries, oftentimes it is necessary to wear a different face in diverse situations. We must morph into that which will achieve our ultimate goal and secure what we are seeking. In other words knowing our opponent is a special power that one might even call a super power if, we are Marvel fans.
Whether it is to close a multi-million dollar deal or simply convince a salesperson to return a sweater that pilled too quickly, our superpower is in knowing how to handle others. Thank you, Bugs. Of course it is also obvious that a little lipstick and great haircut will do wonders for seducing the opposite sex, and we probably have the Bugmeister to thank for that lesson. If he can stop the Tasmanian Devil, we can secure a second date.
American Bandstand’s lesson is an easy one, you can actually dance your troubles away and Dick Clark had found the Fountain of Youth. Although the dancing part gets a bit sketchy when you’re recovering from that knee replacement.
No list of learning would be complete without the Mickey Mouse Club. So what did we learn from the people with the mouse ears? So much. For example did you know Wednesday is anything-can-happen day? Every week I couldn’t wait for Wednesday and although I watched diligently the other four days, it was the excitement of not knowing what might happen that kept me glued to the old black and white TV set.
This was a truly important lesson that I have carried with me my entire life. For if we’ve learned nothing from our stay on this planet it is that there is no knowing, no magic power that can prepare us for what is to come. This is the yin and yang that truly defines life. For it is the thrill of the unknown paired with the fear of tomorrow that makes life so seductive. Will tomorrow be a better day or bring more problems?Will I laugh or cry when the sun rises and am I the one who ultimately determines which that will be?
Perhaps a bit of both I say.
How many people have visited a psychic and the first thing they say is, “don’t tell me anything bad.” Ah, so there are conditions on us knowing the future after all.
So anything can happen day is a double-edged sword. Of course on the Mickey Mouse Club it was always something fun, but in real life we’ve learned perhaps not so much all the time.
Of course there are many more examples of the Tao of the Baby Boomer or as the Mandalore put it, “This is the Way.” I shall continue to write about them from time to time and I’d love to hear from readers as well about, so please write.
In the end growing old is nothing to joke about, or is it? Is this what we have learned from all the upbeat icons of the past after all? Is it our responsibility to take the knowledge of the past and find some comfort and often much humor in what has come before?
What lessons can we embrace each day to better our lives?
First, don’t watch the news. Call a friend each day and laugh together. Count five things we are grateful for and damnit, I don’t care what anyone says, eat chocolate! I sometimes go on YouTube and pull up the acts of my favorite comedians and just sit and laugh. It does actually help and if you have some chocolate while you’re laughing, well I believe they call that achieving nirvana.
I truly believe there is no magic bullet for aging despite all those who profess to know the answers, but I do know that sharing the creaking bones, anemic metabolism and every new wrinkle with friends helps. And when you’re having a really bad day just remember what Clarabell always said…