Sunday, February 7, 2016

DIY Is Going DIFM

The big-box retailers who counted on baby boomers to do it themselves are seeing a change among their boomer customers. There might have been a time when boomers relished the thought of doing their own bathroom make-over or kitchen cabinet refinishing. We were all over that backsplash replacement and ceiling fan installation. Firepit for the backyard? Sure. Building our own deck? Why not?

Boomers still make up the largest percentage of customers at Home Depot and Lowes, and with millennials still struggling to buy their own homes, that demographic profile is unlikely to change soon. What is changing is the boomer population’s lack of motivation to continue taking on these DIY tasks. We’ve got better things to do, places to go, people to see. Enter DIFM --- Do-It-For-Me.

Look for this trend to manifest itself in many retail categories. Boomers may want someone to buy their clothing, collect their groceries and pick out their office supplies. We sure as hell are going to need someone to set up our home theater and our content streaming devices because those gadgets are heading way north of our comprehension at this point. Same goes for our smart phones and tablets (visit a Verizon Wireless store and count the number of helpless boomers who are stuck there for hours trying to figure out how to get their email).

With internet-based industries offering grocery delivery and car services, there is less and less need for baby boomers to lift a finger – except maybe to dictate a request to their smart phone. Drone deliveries are sure to be in our near future, which could mean that everything from a 3-ring notebook to a pizza can be in the front yard in less than 30 minutes.

When I think about it, this propensity to allow others to make our purchases and installations for us will mesh perfectly for the day when we need assisted living arrangements. Once you get used to concierge shopping and home repairs, it’s not much of a leap to someone bathing you and preparing your meals.

Maybe we’re rushing this DIFM thing.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Drive

It may seem like a long way off, but have you thought about the day when you won’t be able to drive your own car anymore? A lot of boomers are already avoiding night driving because of the discomfort they feel about fading vision and headlight glare. Most of us have read about children taking away granddad’s car keys after he’s gotten into 4 or 5 minor accidents, and we think, that poor bastard hates not being able to drive anywhere whenever he wants to -- bummer!

Now put yourself in the poor bastard’s place. Someone (a relative, the motor vehicle department, etc.) tells you that it’s no longer safe for you to be behind the wheel. You’ve been driving since you were 16 or 17 years old.…maybe 50 plus years. The sense that you’ve lost all mobility (the 4-wheeled kind) must be a royal freak out. Sure, you can get friends, family, neighbors and car services to take you where you need/want to go. But it’s not the same as sliding behind the wheel and flooring it down the highway.

Here’s a comforting thought. Fatal crash rates are higher for older drivers. Mostly because they don’t heal as well as younger drivers. The older drivers that do give up the keys voluntarily are afraid to get in a car with a driver who’s over 75 or 80, and who can blame them. You might as well get in a car with a teenager who’s texting the whole time. For those who do give up their keys voluntarily, they are twice as likely to suffer from depression as a result. Can’t we catch a break!

It’s ironic that many boomers are looking forward to retirement as a time to travel and enjoy life, but if that includes driving a massive RV off the side of a mountain on a moonless night, maybe staying on the job and taking the bus is a better option.

Perhaps driverless cars will advance to the point where older drivers can depend on them to go where they want, when they want. We can hobble out to the garage, get a teenaged neighbor to figure out how to program the GPS controller (or tell Siri) and boogie down to Walmart at midnight. Then we get in one of those motorized shopping carts and cruise the aisles all night long. Even if we buy nothing and go home, it will be a great evening of independent living.

I may be ready now.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

It's Over

I looked on with curiosity as the tourist paced back and forth in front of the hotel, towing his rolling suitcase. A bellman often sees some strange behavior in Las Vegas, so it didn’t make a big impression. Then I remembered the envelope the pretty woman gave me no more than a half hour ago.

“Excuse me sir. Is your name Donald?” I asked the man. His forehead was sweaty and he appeared to be very nervous.

“Yes, yes. My name is Donald. Do you know where my wife is? She was supposed to meet me here a half hour ago. She wanted to try her luck at poker table one more time. I’m getting scared that something has happened to her. It’s not like her to be late.”

“She told me I might see you here and that I should give you this envelope.”

Donald tore the envelope open and read the note inside. After the minute it took to read it, he let it fall to the ground, walked over to the taxi stand. He opened the door for himself, threw the suitcase on the seat and followed it into the cab. The vehicle shot out of the driveway and onto the Strip.

I picked up the discarded envelope and note and saw that it was written in a bold cursive style that read as follows:

“Donald, I’m sorry if my disappearance caused any panic on your part, but I felt as though there was no other way out. I needed to escape our marriage and going home with you to discuss it would have only prolonged the inevitable end. You would have tried to save a lost cause with suggestions that we get counseling or try some other hopeless intervention. I’ve cashed in the airline ticket and will be flying to another destination – not home. You will find that my sister has removed all my personal belongings from the house. My lawyer will be in touch to begin divorce proceedings. I presume that all of this comes as a great shock to you, but that is really the whole point. You never seemed to grasp what I was feeling or what I was looking for in our marriage, so I took this drastic action as a last resort – the only way for me to make a clean break and a clean start. You should see it as an opportunity to do the same. Patricia.”

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Reinventioners?

Ha! Boomers are supposed to be reinvention experts. Why? Because instead of riding off into the golden years sunset, we continue to work, start new business ventures or change careers. Somehow that makes us experts?

Not buying it. Just like millennials who are struggling to deal with the cards they’ve been dealt, baby boomers too are adjusting to the reality of their situation. If the company you work for wants you to retire but you still need the income, you become a teacher. Or start that business you always dreamed of owning. Or drive a school bus. Or become a big box store greeter.

Boomers are not so much reinventing themselves as they are recalibrating their expectations of what the aging experience is going to be for them. The percentage of people 55 and older in the workforce back in 1993 was 29%. Fast forward to 2013 and that number has jumped to more than 40%. Sure, the big wave of the oldest boomers has a lot to do with that increase, but changing attitudes towards retirement may be an even bigger factor.

The whole gold watch send-off seems so anachronistic now, and it might have something to do with the changing attitudes toward work itself. The parents of baby boomers may have felt like they were marking time until the day that they could quit and hit the shuffleboard courts. Work wasn’t their passion as much as it was a means to an end. I’m generalizing (as always), but most boomers enjoyed their careers and liked the idea that they were really good at it or that they made a valuable contribution. You don’t just shut that off one day and hang up your toolbelt.

I like to think that what boomers are going to do in the years ahead is redefine rather reinvent. And that makes sense when you think about it, because baby boomers have been redefining things since the day we came into the world. Education, music, art, communication, politics, you name it --- there is no field or endeavor that has not felt the effect of the baby boomer revolution. We were – we are – products of our time. The prosperous years after WWII afforded us the opportunity to make a unique mark on society, so it should be no surprise that we continue to exhibit that behavior. Just don’t make us out to be reinvention experts. We’re just reacting to the times the same way we always have.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Elder Orphans?

Circle the wagons pioneers, elder orphans are coming!

Is this now a thing? Baby boomers who are childless and unmarried are going to become “elder orphans” who have no one to care for them in old age. The fact that we’re living longer and have fragmented families puts us at risk of being all alone in our not so golden years…orphaned.

The case of the 81-year-old cancer patient who called 911 because he needed someone to buy him food has put a lot of folks on notice that this elder orphan thing is real. As more boomers fall into this demographic, it’s not just a matter of struggling with isolation and depression. It’s going to put a strain on the health care system. Who will make decisions for these orphans when no family member or caregiver is available? When health issues turn into crises, the elder orphans end up in the emergency room, which we all know is not the ideal way to receive healthcare. Ideally, these elder orphans would have some sort of healthcare plan that would prevent the health crisis in the first place.

According to the latest census, one-third of Americans currently between the ages of 45 to 63 are single. That represents a 50 per cent increase from 1980. Lots of them may have children who will look out for their care, but a large number of them may have no clue to their vulnerability (or just don’t want to think about it).

So what should you do to prevent becoming an elder orphan? Number one, get yourself an advanced directive so it’s clear how you want to be treated. Number two, find and designate an advocate who will make decisions if you are unable to. Number three, and the not so easiest part, create a strategy. A distant relative, a younger friend, or someone you trust needs to know what your plan is.

And one more thing. Start living for today because tomorrow may not be nearly as much fun.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Urban Boomers

The numbers tell the story. Baby boomers are moving to the big city for the good life. Well, maybe not the bigger cities, but cities nonetheless. According to research from Zipcar, millennials may be the dominant force in urban centers, but boomers aged 50-69 are closing fast.

Why so many boomers in the city? They’re empty-nesters for sure, or they are downsizing, but many are just motivated by the desire to have more fun and activities in their lives, so the city is the place to be. 90% say they are looking for more cultural experiences, outdoor activities, as well as access to restaurants, shopping and fitness facilities. Only 32% are retired, so they must be loving the shorter commute times. And no big surprise, 57% are single.

And the move seems to be working. 55% of urban boomers say that their life is more carefree and exciting. 61% say they feel closer to their significant other. 69% say that they use mobile apps to make their lives easier. And this stat either scares you or comforts you --- 81% of urban boomers use Facebook.

They are taking clasess (22%), starting new hobbies (23%), attending local events/gatherings (42%), and volunteering in their community (22%).

I’m starting to see a trend here. Millennials finally start to assume the jobs of retiring or scaling-back boomers. Then they finally can afford to get married and buy homes---- like those being sold by boomers who are ready to move to the city. It’s like a giant migratory transfer---boomers move out, millennials move in. Maybe in time they can all just do housing swaps. You take my loft condo and I’ll take the rancher in the burbs. In no time at all, it will be millennials making the trip to the city to visit their parents.

If this whole cycle sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Many of us started off our careers living in the city because that’s where the action was. Some of us renovated houses, worked different jobs, dined at all the trendy restaurants, hung out at the cool bars, and shopped at the hippest stores until it was time for us to grow into the next phase of our lives. Now, like salmon swimming back to their spawning grounds, here we are again.

Good to be back home.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Numbers Game

So here’s a statistic that won’t surprise you. According to an AARP study, baby boomers account for half of all consumer spending. Right. We’re buying cars, boats, houses, everything that isn’t nailed down. Now put that together with the other half of the picture…only 10% of total marketing dollars are directed at us.

What? Huh? How’s that? If you’re saying to yourself that doesn’t make any sense, join the club. Researchers, pollsters and consultants have pointed out the obvious imbalance, but advertisers have not seen the light. Boomers are the biggest consumers but advertisers virtually ignore us in order to capture younger consumers because they still believe some old BS theory that if you get them when they’re young, you will have them as customers for life. We’re talking about millennials who switch social media platforms faster than a speeding bullet and advertisers think they can hold on to this demo? That’s totally cray (or cray-cray if you really want to sound current).

We control about 70% of the nation’s disposable income, but like Rodney Dangerfield, we can’t get any respect. The only ads directed at us are for reverse mortgages (talk about cray!), denture cleaners, and incontinence products. Did I forget hearing aids? Is loss of memory one of the side effects? Many (notice I didn’t imply all) boomers have ample savings, homes with a ton of equity and are not living from paycheck to paycheck, so we have some amazing discretionary spending power.

You would think that advertisers would see this equation for what it is and come at us with all they’ve got. But no, they still chase the elusive butterflies (i.e. millennials). What’s a boomer to do? Keep spending my friend. Want to finally buy that luxury car? Do it. Want to take that long awaited trip to New Zealand? Book it. Worried that you don’t have enough savings for retirement? Spend it. Want to try that fancy new restaurant? Eat it. Want to tell those advertisers who ignore us what they can do? Suck it.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Social Media Won't Save Us But the Longevity Economy Might

If you thought tech start-ups have nothing to do with your life or your future, think again. Silicon Valley just might be making the lives of aging baby boomers a whole lot more comfortable (or bearable) than we thought.

There’s gold in them thar hills. Only the hills is us, and it’s beginning to look like some very smart entrepreneurs are recognizing that the silver tsunami could mean gold for them, and greater comfort for us. Health and wellness technology is creating what’s been coined as the “longevity economy” and we should probably jump on the train as investors as well as beneficiaries.

Silver Tech is another name for it, but whatever you call it, competition and profit are going to drive tech companies to make products that allow us to live longer in our own homes and independently. From wearable fitness devices to treadmill desks, new products are coming on line every day. Then there’s the video link-ups that let you talk to a real doctor from your computer (without putting on one of those funny gowns!). Or the geolocation devices that will help find dementia patients. There’s even an airbag device that can be worn around the waist and it deploys when the wearer falls over, preventing the dreaded broken hip accident that often becomes the beginning of the end for elderly patients.

There’s a treadmill desk for those of us still working (although I have visions of becoming distracted by an incoming email and then thrown against the wall) and a raft of new health apps to put on your smart phone and/or strap to your wrist. These gadgets will monitor our heart rate, measure our steps, time our workouts, even tell us when we fell asleep. It’s not too hard to imagine a time when it will tell us when to eat, what to eat, and when to poop. That last alert could be really helpful when dementia sets in.

Perhaps the most telling sentiment about aging among babyboomers is not the fear of death itself, but the fear of having a crummy, dehumanizing assisted living experience. When you’re dead and gone, you’re….well…dead and gone. But to exist as just one more helpless geezer, that’s what all of hope to avoid. If high-tech tools and gadgets will prevent that end, sign me up.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How stupid do they think we are?

I have been seeing commercials lately for a hair rejuvenation product. It’s targeted to women with thinning hair. After some of the usual mumbo jumbo about the efficacy of this miracle product, viewers are directed to call now – but only if your last name begins with A-N. If your last name begins with O-Z, you are directed to call after 9am tomorrow morning. Really? I mean really?

How stupid do they think we are? Demand for this product is so heavy, they have to cut the number of callers in half (that’s presuming there are half as many thin-haired women whose last name begins with A-N….or forget it, this is ridiculous). So let’s say your last name is Stupidovitz and you decide you can’t wait until tomorrow…you’re calling RIGHT NOW! Operators are standing by to take your call. Oh, sorry, your name begins with S. You’ll have to call after 9am tomorrow. But you have to order now. Can’t you make an exception? Okay, but don’t ever tell anyone that I let you order tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow. I could lose my fantastic job over this. Will that be MasterCard, Visa or American Express?

Do the makers or marketers of this product know something that we don’t? For example, is it possible that women with thinning hair are also beginning to experience thinning critical judgment? The hair loss is also a factor in brain cell loss?

I used to think that infomercials must have an ever shrinking audience of gullible buyers, but I now believe that commercials for products such as Keranique must be successful. Why else would they continue to buy airtime to hawk their product. Someone is buying it (either that very night or the next day after 9am). This apparent widespread gullibility may explain a lot of other aberrations of logic (take a look at voter referendums in this country if you want see the power of twisted persuasion).

And speaking of twisted and gullibility, don’t even get me started on Henry Winkler (The Fonz) peddling reverse mortgages.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Hey, Bungalow Bill

I read somewhere that bungalows have fast become the “it” house for baby boomers who want to downsize and live on one level. You lose the stairs but still get a backyard and some green space. Makes sense. Who wants to climb stairs as you get older, or trip and break your hip…since we all know what that means…the end.

So the word comes from the Hindi word “bangla” which means belonging to Bengal. Maybe it was a one-story house for tigers? My dictionary defines it as a “low house, with a broad front porch, having either no upper floor or upper rooms set in the roof, typically with dormer windows.” There’s even a California bungalow that owes its name to its popularity in the Golden State, particularly after World War II. The Craftsman movement in this country often featured bungalow style homes, and they have been much sought after by renovators and house flippers.

So it seems everything has come full circle --- again. Baby boomers may have grown up in bungalow homes, only to move out into the world of cape cods, colonials, ranchers, tudors, mid-century moderns, split-levels, log cabins, A-frames, mediterraneans, McMansions, townhouses, and condos.

I would say that we’re taking a step up, but there will be no steps. The ideal home for us will be one level with nothing to trip us up. The bathroom will have all those handle thingies (okay, grab bars if you prefer) to keep us from falling on the radiant-heated floor. There will be no high cabinets in the kitchen. There will be automatic lights that come on when we enter a room and go off when we leave it. Lever-type handles will replace knobs on all our doors, and faucets as well. Slip-resistant flooring material will be used throughout the house – no more area rugs. Very low-pile carpeting will be the most likely choice.

For a generation that likes to have things their way, the bungalow sounds like an ideal fit. Spock’s Vulcan salute of “Live long and prosper” is going to be replaced by “Live longer by not tripping.”

As Chief Thunderthud used to say on Howdy Doody, “Kowabunga!” Bungalow houses here we come.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

But You Doesn't Hasta Call Me Johnson!

If you don’t remember this line, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoYsfbq3vMc

There’s a war on words brewing for boomers. Maybe war is too strong. Let’s just say baby boomers are bucking labels such as “senior,” “senior citizen,” “mature adult,” or “older adult.” And they are not to happy with the sound of nursing home, assisted living facility, old-age home, or adult day care.

Something tells me this aversion to be labeled goes all the way back to be when we first got the tag “baby boomers.” Society has to keep labeling generations, so I doubt Gen Xers or millennials feel any better about the process, but at least they don’t have the word “baby” in their handle. How’s a baby boomer supposed to go from baby to geezer? Besides that fact that they are both wrinkled, what does a baby have in common with a geezer?

Being called “old” gets old, so what should we be called as we get around the bend? And what age qualifies as around the bend? We used to think the retirement age of 65 was old, but as retirement pushed back later and later, it seemed like maybe 75 was old. But if you talk to any 75 year olds, they will tell you, no, 75 isn’t old – 85 is old.

And to those who say, yeah, yeah, it’s just words, I say yes, but word labels can sting. It’s bad enough that we’re going to experience diminished faculties and lessened control of bodily functions. We don’t have to be further insulted with demeaning labels and warehoused in places that have names that sound just plain awful.

The reality of our situation is that no matter what they call us or where they store us, it may not be pretty. Normally I might say we should suck it up, keep calm and carry on. But for crying out loud (something we’re good at), we’re baby boomers! We don’t have to take this crap without a fight! There’s 77 million of us (but the number is going down by the day)! We can call the shots (I’m delirious with power now)!

Okay, maybe the sheer magnitude of our numbers can’t stop younger generations from referring to us as ‘old fogies” (whatever a fogey is). But that won’t stop a resistance movement (picture an underground network of rebel boomers).

Personally, I’m okay with being called “ripe.”


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Big 5-0

5. 0. Fifty. Five. Zero. That can’t be right.

We’ll be hearing that a lot in the coming years. Actually, you may be saying it to yourself already. It’s been 50 years since you graduated (hopefully) from high school. People used to stay married that long. It’s half a century. Five decades. A lotta years.

If they were the best years of your life, then there’s a lot to look back on. If they were the worst years of your life, it’s easy to forget them. Some boomers are finding it easy to dive into this big, steaming bowl of nostalgia. Others would rather stay close to shore, watching from a distance but not diving into the reveries.

It’s easy to remember those high school years as carefree, but that’s only because we were able to ignore the history that was happening all around us. The Cuban missile crisis, school desegregation, assassinations, civil rights marches, urban riots, and the war in Vietnam marked the first half of the 1960s but I suspect most boomers in high school still did not understand just how scary the world could/would be. Our teachers, parents and relatives probably tried to tell us and pass on their wisdom honed from years of experience – but why would we be listening to old people? We knew everything.

Here we are 50 years later, and just as we redefined what it meant to be a baby boom teenager, now we are redefining what it means to be old, or make that older. Who is old? When should we stop working? Why should we stop working? Who are we to tell Mick Jagger, that’s enough? If you stop and think about the fact that we’re living longer and working longer than our parents, the 50 year thing begins to look more like a glass half-full or half-empty proposition.

I think it’s great that boomers are getting all reflective about those high school years, but as we like to remind you on our masthead, your whole life’s in front of you. You can spend some quality time looking back, but I’d rather work on making some quality time in the years ahead.

Oh, and one other thing. We will never look as good as we did in 1965.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bucket List Conundrum

A relatively recent fad, the bucket list appears to be growing more and more relevant to baby boomers. Naturally, that’s because we are on the downside of our life span so it’s time to get some things done before we kick the bucket.

And therein lies the problem for me. Making a list of things to do/places to go before you die is an inherently pessimistic proposition. Would I like to travel to some destinations that have always interested me? Yes, definitely. But do I want to get to these places because time is running out, the clock is ticking, it won’t be long now, and just about all the sand has fallen through the hour glass? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got things I want to do but I hate the idea that I’m supposed to play beat the clock. I’m no procrastinator but I don’t like being pressured to do something before I think it’s time or I have the time to do it. I have to catch myself when tempted to say I’m doing something or going somewhere because it’s on my bucket list. Rather, I like to think I’m self-publishing that book or visiting that country because I'm lucky that I have the time/money to do it…and dying before I get to it does not enter into the equation.

A bucket list is almost like saying to yourself that you should be nicer to friends and family now. After all, your days are numbered and you want to be remembered as the kind person you think you are (or wish you could be). It’s a cynical gesture to make friends and family think you are (or were) a better person than you really are. And it’s all about getting it done before you buy the farm, check into the Horizontal Hilton, take a dirt nap, leave the building, play the harp or sleep with the fishes (more on that later).

Still, from the number of times I’m hearing people mention their bucket list, I may be the salmon swimming upstream on this one. Which reminds me, I’ve always wanted to swim upstream with the salmon. It’s on my net list.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Say You're Sorry?

You want an apology for what? For fannypacks? For disco? For Neil Diamond? Platform shoes? To millennials and GenXers who want to blame baby boomers for practically everything wrong in the world, I say give me a break!

Every generation has its stuff and not all of it was germinated by the participants themselves – you think a young baby boomer fashion designer came up with the white patent leather belt?

We were marketed to by our fine capitalist system and we often bought what they were selling. Hippies may have sewn the first bellbottom jeans, but the clothing industry jumped on the trend and soon a whole generation had to have those wild pants. Same goes for disco music, mood rings, lava lamps and pet rocks. We often ended buying what someone else was selling but that doesn’t make us responsible for the original sin.

So I say again, sorry for what? PBS is running a documentary program called The Boomer List in order to tell the story of the boomer generation through the lives of 19 iconic baby boomers. Check out some of the names on the list and tell me why we should be sorry. Samuel L. Jackson, Deepak Chopra, Billy Joel, Steve Wozniak, Amy Tan, Eve Ensler, Erin Brokovich. No slackers there.

If you want to pull out some kind of balance sheet with the good things on one side and the bad things on the other side, I am certain that the positive contributions of baby boomers such as those featured in The Boomer List would far outstrip the goofy stuff for which you could say we’re responsible.

History will be the final arbiter on the good/bad scale, but I think I can safely predict that baby boomers will be seen as a generation that had a profound and mostly positive impact on our world. So put that in your fannypack!


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Debtors

Ned and Carol, where are you? The reason I ask is that we keep getting calls for you. It’s been five years since we moved here and signed up for landline phone service. They gave us a number that must have once belonged to you.

But you two – you little imps – you two must have run up some mighty big debts, because not a day goes by that we don’t get a call from a collection service looking for you kids.

“If you are Ned Street or you know how we might locate Ned Street, please call yada-yada-yada.”

Now, when I see the collection agency name come up on caller ID, I pick up the call for two seconds and then disconnect. They are such wearisome calls after five years of hearing the same recorded message. And if I were Ned, would I really call the number for the collection agency? I hardly think so.

And not just one collection service is looking for you. There are several that would be interested in knowing your whereabouts. You and Carol must have racked up some serious debt. I imagine that it all started with some profligate spending on the credit cards and perhaps some gambling. The next thing you knew, it spiraled into a second mortgage and then maybe foreclosure on the house. The banks must have come after you too, but by then you and Carol had split town. Speaking of splitting, my guess is that the stress of your indebtedness drove a wedge between you and Carol, and the marriage folded. I could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that a marriage could survive the such a tremendous fall so far down the rabbit hole. I imagine you’ve gone your separate ways and tried to disappear into the cracks somewhere new, but it must be hard to try to rebuild a decent credit history with the collectors breathing down your neck.

I don’t know when the calls will stop. Maybe never. You would think the statue of patience limitations would have run out after five years, but hope springs eternal in the collection biz. I guess my own hope that the calls would finally stop demonstrates that I too have unrealistic expectations. Anyway, Ned and Carol, I hope you’ve landed on your feet somehow and find a way to rebuild your lives. If you’re ever feeling nostalgic, call your old phone number and let us know how you’re doing.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.