Friday, July 19, 2013

Park Your Carcass

Hey! Guess what? We’re going to save the National Parks! At least that’s the theory. According tothe National Park Foundation, it’s baby boomers who make up the big share of National Park visitors. While our attendance is up, visits by people 16 to 30 are down.

The National Park Service is worried that younger generations don’t have the same veneration for wilderness and wildlife that boomers have. Too many text messages and not enough Wi-Fi? Hulu, Netflix-streamed movies and a host of other entertainment options are making it hard to get off the couch and out into nature.

At the same time, many boomers (myself included), have these bucket lists of parks they want to visit. Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Staircase, Arches, Yosemite, Grand Tetons, Death Valley, Glacier, Big Bend…the list goes on and on. I’ve got my Lifetime Senior Pass and I’m ready to go.

Undistracted by social media and career-climbing, boomers appear eager to get away from it all and to see what passes for natural wonders (and that excludes Kim Kardashian). What’s even more interesting is that many baby boomers are volunteering to work in the parks and that may not be the selfless act you think. I have this vision of us spending our retirement in tents and vying with the bears for food left in trash cans.

Perhaps the best legacy we could leave to current and future generations is that National Parks are good places to get back in touch with what really matters. Wi-Fi is great but it’s not the be-all, end-all experience when compared to seeing bighorn sheep in Yellowstone or giant sequoias in the high Sierras. Of course, getting in touch with one’s self sound so sixties, it’s easy to understand why millennials might discount the experience. What would pot-smoking, tie-died former hippies know about life-expanding experiences? A lot, as it turns out. We know the majesty of mother nature when we see it and we know that we can feel a lot more centered in nature than we can on Facebook.

Final advice to millenials: try it, you’ll like it. Once you find solitude in nature and turn your back on the constant drone of media, you just might find out what’s really important to you.

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 3, 2013

You Know You’re Getting Old When…. keep getting emails about walk-in bathtubs. What’s the deal with them anyway? I thought the hearing aid and funeral preparation mailers were coming in at a heavy volume, but they are no match for the walk-in tub industry. Judging by their insistence that every baby boomer should be thinking about getting a walk-in tub, I’m thinking it’s time to buy stock in one of these companies (Bliss Tubs, Tub King, Tera-Tub, Medi-Tubs, Envy Walk-in Tubs….the choices are endless).

And why is everyone shown in the advertising and brochures wearing a big fluffy bathrobe? Take a tip from me….if you want to show people enjoying their walk-in tubs, show them naked. That will get me to pull out a credit card and order a walk-in tub --- good looking naked people.

Is it just me or does age 66 or 67 (I’m using the leading edge of boomerdom here) seem a bit early to be thinking about needing a bathtub with a door? How many boomers would be happy with one of those massive walk-in showers that are so large, there’s no door? Raise your hands. Instead, we are supposed to be looking ahead to the day when we can’t lift our legs over a 15 inch ledge without risking life-threatening injury. There must be a ton of research and statistics that support the notion that more injuries occur in the bathroom than any other place on earth. And I just looked that one up (thank you Google): according to the Center for Disease Control, a quarter million Americans over age 15 are injured in the bathroom each year. Two-thirds of the accidents occur in the bathtub or shower, and the rest while on, in or over the toilet (you don’t want to know any more than that).

I do know that if I read this 20 years from now, I’ll be thinking: “What an arrogant bastard. Of course you need a walk-in bathtub. How do you expect older, mobility impaired people to get clean.” I think I saw somewhere that the Japanese are manufacturing a robotic person-washing machine. You sit in a chair and they run some sort of brushless carwash device over you. I think it even does a blow dry cycle at the end, but don’t expect robots with chamois to give you the finishing wipedown.

If it didn’t cost $50,000, I’d buy one today.

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.