Sunday, February 25, 2024

We Got It Right?


Just when you thought Boomers were getting blamed for everything, it turns out some younger generations think we are on the right side of some issues/contemporary trends.

A Reddit user posed the question: What are some things that Boomers got right? The following is a sampling of the feedback received. It may give you hope that all is not lost, and that younger generations can see that we get some things right after all. So, winner, winner, chicken dinner for you!

App Exhaustion — Boomers are just tired of apps. Stop making us download an app and set up an account for everything. You’re just collecting our information.

Outdoor Kids Play — Make them go outside. Take them to a park. Let them stop using their thumbs for a while so they get some fresh air.

Overpriced Concerts — $125 for one seat! That can’t be right. There’s some crazy inflation at work there.

Phones at concerts — Take a few pictures of your favorite act but what’s the deal with trying to record the whole concert? You’re never going to watch it again and you’re annoying the people around you. QUIT IT!

Kids Online — Is it really a good idea to let young kids have unfettered access to what’s online? A lot of adults shouldn’t have access never mind 10 year olds.

Tablet Babysitters — Watching parents ignore their kids in a restaurant or public space while the kids overdose on their tablet games. Try paying attention to them and engaging them in conversation instead of using tech toys as your babysitter.

Face Tattoos — Do we even have to go there? What kind of person thinks that’s a good idea? Removable studs are one thing, but permanent tattoos? Sheesh!

Gender Reveals — Dumb, dumb, dumb. How did this stupid reason for friends and family to gather ever get started?

TV Volume Is Screwed UP — Everyone, young and old, agrees that the volume is really effed up. Music comes over too loud and when you scale it back then the dialogue is a whisper. With all the technology out there, can’t they do better?

Blinded by the Light — It’s not just the pre-cataract surgery crowd! Everyone complains that headlights are too bright and night driving can be dangerous. Once again, can’t the automotive engineers do any better?

This is by no means a complete list, but isn’t reassuring to know that it’s not just aging Boomers who think we’ve got some problems that need solutions.

Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Kindling


There are loads of issues that can divide millennials from boomers, but one of the most curious to me is printed books vs Kindle. For a generation that’s hardcore when it comes to being online, texting, Tweeting, etc., it comes as a surprise that so many of them seek the pleasure of reading a physical book – that is words printed on paper.

Some millennials explain this fixation with paper books as a means of snuggling up with a digital-detox tool. Okay. I find that strange but valid. Some millennials admit to making notes in the margins and/or folding corners of pages that they want to come back to (presumably they own the book rather than defiling a borrowed tome).

It’s hard for me to not sound like a cheerleader for Kindles (especially since the parent company involves/revolves around he whose name cannot be said out loud), but the darn things are just so convenient.

You can read in a darkened space (think bedroom or airplane) without disturbing your bed/seat mate. Along with that feature, you can go to dark mode so that the type appears as white on black, making it emit even less light while still being highly readable. When you close the cover, it saves your place. Conversely, when you reopen the cover, it takes you back to where you left off. Libraries have oodles (Merriam-Webster still indicates that is a real word, meaning a lot.) of Kindle books that you can download directly to your device – for free. Yes, the paper editions are free as well, but require you to drive/walk to the library to pick them up and take home.

Regular Kindle users will note here that I’ve saved the very best advantages for last. A Kindle allows you to change the size of the font. It sounds like such a small thing, but as our eyesight degrades, it’s a big deal that one can boost the font size. Not only can it be enlarged, one can also select what font you would like. As if that’s not enough, you can also alter the contrast to make the type darker black or the background a brighter white.

With the impending doom of artificial intelligence totally wrecking our lives, I think it’s comforting to know that the simple, modest Kindle does everything I need. Plus, now I can use my bookcase to store my collection of papier-mâché chickens.

Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Blame Game


Tired of reading/hearing how baby boomers are ruining the economy, sucking up resources, and hoarding houses and wealth? It’s almost like people have forgotten all the positive things our generation contributed: the peace movement, civil rights, gay rights, feminism, environmentalism. Instead, the storyline seems to be that we’re greedy bastards just taking everything we can get.

The problem with blaming boomers for being greedy is that it’s complete bullshit. In fact – this is the key takeaway here – baby boomers put in more than they take out. How do we know this? Because the facts tell the story.

Boomers are working longer, well past what used to be considered the conventional retirement age. Remember when your parents and their friends retired at 65? Not many boomers fit that stereotype. Yes, the pandemic pushed some to take retirement early, but it also encouraged many more to stay on the job. That means that we are paying payroll taxes for more years. We might not ever see any of that money via social security, but nonetheless, we’re still paying into the system.

Even boomers who are drawing social security are not sucking the system dry. We still pay taxes on our income (including social security). We pay for supplemental medical benefits. We pay sales, property, state and local taxes. There’s no escape!

Bear in mind also that retirement is essentially self-funded. Vacation and holiday costs are out-of-pocket expenses, and they help stimulate the economy to boot. AARP discounts? Big deal. You get a little off on your rental car or dinner, and those discounts are coming from the private sector that is trying to earn your business, not your government.

Last but not least in the argument that boomers put in more than they take out, here’s the bottom line. When we die, our offspring and/or our designated charities are going to get whatever cash is left, which will most likely be substantial sums. We really can’t, as the saying goes, take it with us.

The next time you read an op-ed that blames greedy baby boomers, be sure to go to the comments section and set them straight with the simple fact: we put in more than we take out! You’ll feel better when you do.

Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Aegism


It’s time to call out aegism in all its forms.

Yeah!! What he said!

There’s only one problem. Boomers themselves may be the most aegist among us. Think about it. We are the ones complaining about aching joints, or hearing that’s rapidly fading, or knees that need replacement, or no longer being able to race through an airport to catch a flight.

That’s right, we’re old. Not only does the rest of the population recognize that we’re old, we know it as well. You may say what about “you’re as young as you feel?” Bullshit. We are definitely feeling it. Especially when you wake up each morning. There is this brief inventory in which you codify what hurts today. The bursitis? The bad knee? The wrenched shoulder that still aches?

Holy cow! We really are old! We know it and so do the people around us. They see the gray and white hair. They see our confusion when our iPhones tell us to do something but we have not figured out what it wants us to do. They try not to look at us texting with a single forefinger instead of both thumbs.

We are on the losing side of life. Losing memory, strength, balance, cognition, and more.

But all is not loss (or lost). Some things are found. We appreciate each other in deeper ways. People, places and moments mean more to us then when we were rushing around trying to be someone and be someplace. We have the luxury of time and the insight earned by experience to more fully enjoy what’s happening around us. We take less for granted and that alone can deepen our appreciation for this time in our lives.

It’s a good time to remind ourselves of the elders who continued to exhibit vitality and artistry well into their 90s and beyond. We all know someone in this category, whether they be personal acquaintances or famous artists or philosophers (Jimmy Carter comes to my mind). They made the most of their life experiences in order to maintain mental vitality despite the physical constraints that come with old age.

Okay, we can do this. Ignore the physical decline and appreciate what we can do with our minds. Starting NOW!

Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Say Bye Bye


Yes, the world is moving on without us Boomers. Rizz was just acknowledged to be a word. As if it was so hard to say charismatic, we had to shorten it?? I want to say don’t get me started, but I’ve already started!!

Where was I? Oh, right. The world is moving on without Boomers and the proof is right in front of us.

No one is writing checks. Really. Every bill is paid online. Sometimes automatically. It’s a miracle.

There is no need for china cabinets now. Never mind that it’s weird to call dishes by the name china, but who cares, they are out. If you still have one, you could convert to a liquor cabinet.

Landline phones. What are those? And rotary dials? Really? You had to stick your finger in there and risk getting it stuck. It’s finally time to toss the Princess phone.

News papers. I split it into two words just to remind everyone that there was a time when some kid would throw a rolled up hunk of paper at your door and that’s how you found out what the hell was going on.

Cable TV. See landline phones. If there’s no more wires, then one of these days soon, there’s no cable. Deal with it.

If you don’t recognize the phone number, you don’t answer. That means spam calls are dead. Then you only need to worry about spam emails, hacked Facebook accounts and frozen computer screens. What a relief.

Personal service? Soon we will all be saying what was that? The Japanese have been vending machine crazy for years, selling everything from ice cream and crepes, to underwear and seafood. Coming here soon in a big way. On the plus side, it should protect us somewhat during the next covid event but I’m going to miss talking to a real person when I want a piece of pie or some AA batteries. You’ve probably seen TV ads for cars sold out of a vending machine, so there’s no end to its potential.

Is this focus on how the world is changing and moving on beyond our boomerness a bit over the top? Yes. Too bad. We’re still feeling entitled.

Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all – you can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Stuff It


Think your kids/relatives are going to want your stuff when you’re gone. They’ll take your money for sure, but pass on the stuff. You can’t blame them. No one does formal entertaining anymore so what the heck can you do with china and glass service for 12?

The real shock comes when boomers ask the kids what they want and they are truly stumped by the question. Not the antiques, not the expensive furniture, not the rocking chair, definitely not the photo albums. Clothing? Real fur? No way. Women might nibble at the purses and men will cherry pick some tools, but that may be the best you can expect. Scroll through eBay and you’ll see what people are almost begging you to take off their hands.

Younger generations live for the most part in smaller homes/apartments, and their taste is dramatically different from yours. Just the idea of sorting through all your belongings is a major turn-off.

You could start selling off your stuff but even that comes with some disappointments. Nothing that you own is worth what you think it is. Not even close. Entire dining room sets for $100? Big pieces that no one wants just end up broken down and tossed.

Whatever you do, experts advise don’t put it in storage. That ends up being someone’s major headache down the line and the kids still won’t want any of it, which means it’s going to strangers or the landfill.

Do you really want to think about your kids or relatives going through your belongings to cull anything of value? If you’re trying to give them the stuff now, what you’re really doing is downsizing yourself while you try to upsize them.

Experts advise that you ask the offspring/relatives what they want and give it to them NOW. When you’re gone, the removal company can come in and take care of whatever is left. Don’t feel bad. You enjoyed your stuff. It doesn’t mean that anyone else needs to love it or live with it.

Final advice from the pros is do not put this off. Dispensing with a lifetime’s accumulation of possessions is neither easy nor quick. Donating your possessions to people that really need them will make you feel better, knowing it’s going to people who need and appreciate it.

The good news is that your abode will look a lot and feel more roomy and be easier to clean. You can finally get that RoombaVacuum!

Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Saving the Day


And you thought it was teens buying Taylor Swift concert and movie tickets (I’m not knocking them. Those kids are dropping some serious cash).

Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers. Boomers over age 65 make up 18% of the population. But we’re holding half of the country’s total net worth of $75 trillion. But that’s not all!! We were responsible for 22% of all spending in 2022.

It’s enough to make you hum the Mighty Mouse theme song. “Here I come, to save the day!
Baby Boomers are on the way!”

Boomers have less consumer debt and some sizable nest eggs. Where is all that money? $18 trillion in real estate. $15 trillion in pensions. $20 trillion in stocks.

Are we sitting on it? NO! Spending by older households has increased over 34% since 1982. Economists believe that boomers who grew up with the “live-for-today” attitude are the best hope of this country ducking a big recession. We’ve got the time and we’ve got the money. That makes us a generational economic engine. We can travel to far away places, stay in fine hotels, buy a new electric car (maybe two!), eat in the best restaurants, drink the best wines, buy a second home. Come on people! We’ve got an economy to save!

What happens if we don’t spend it all (a very likely scenario according to economists, by the way)? It gets left to Gen Xers and Millennials, who might want to cut boomers some slack considering the windfall that will be coming their way.

If you’re sitting on the sidelines (and sitting on the nest egg), it’s time to get cracking. America’s economy is counting on you. We’ll see you at the airport!

Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. You can also visit his author page here. His newest mystery novel, Rio Puerco Demise is available on Amazon. His first mystery novel, Head Above Water, is also available on Amazon. But that’s not all. You can also purchase the Best of BoomSpeak on Amazon.