Wednesday, March 21, 2018


I bumped into Eleanor Roosevelt the other day outside the Apple store. It looked like she was carrying the new iPad. No surprise there – the lady has a knack for connecting with people and texts and emails are great tools for that.

Elly, how goes it? What’s your take on #metoo and #timesup?

The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.

Amen to that sister. But do you think women can sustain the movement?

A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.

But the personal attacks that some women have experienced…

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

You certainly demonstrated that a first lady could have great influence.

As for accomplishments, I just did what I had to do as things came along.

Sure, I can see that but you risked a lot when you spoke out about injustice, civil rights and the plight of the poor.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

Does it pain you to see what the political climate is now in America?

Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little.

A lot of people are discouraged by our present polarization and want to opt out or disengage.

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

How do you stay so upbeat? Everyone wants to be happy but we don’t know how to get there.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.

It seems like everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame now, to go viral on the internet, to be recognized for something, anything. Do you see the downside to it all?

I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.

Funny. I’ve got to run but what’s the biggest lesson you learned from your experience?

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, Head Above Water which can be purchased on Amazon here. You can also visit his author page here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spare Bedroom Match-ups

Who knew? Millennials are enduring a housing crisis and baby boomers may hold the key…literally. As in the house key.

High rents and home prices are locking millennials out of affordable housing options. At the same time, boomers are sitting in houses with a lot of empty bedrooms. Real estate site Trulia is calling this a match made in housing market heaven. And they are calling these potential matches boom-mates.

By extrapolating from census data, Trulia estimates that there are around 3.6 million vacant bedrooms in the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Boomers want to remain in their homes and millennial renters are desperate for cheap rents.

If this sounds to you like the perfect scenario for a sit-com, I’m way ahead of you. The first pitch that comes to mind is a remake of Three’s Company. But instead of two girls and guy, the cast is made up of two boomers and a girl. The husband and wife boomers spend all their time reminiscing about Woodstock and looking up slang in the Urban Dictionary while the millennial is always walking around with earbuds and looking for the next big app.

If that doesn’t work for you, there’s Happy Days. Howard and Marion Cunningham, you may recall, did rent an upstairs room to The Fonz, so we’re not talking about a big leap here. In this remake, their millennial boarders do not have names like Fonzie or Chachi but the show would feature their struggle for respect in a world that constantly tries to diminish their ethos.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Street smart millennial from Philly moves in with wealthy boomers in LA where his sense of entitlement is a constant source of friction with the self-made couple. He doesn’t get their taste in music and they don’t get his music or really anything about him.

If taking in cash-strapped strangers sounds far fetched, let’s remember that it was not that long ago that a third to one half of 19th century urban residents in this country either took in boarders or were boarders themselves.

So is boom-mates really a thing? Is it really happening? Not so much. But it’s a safe bet that one of the sitcoms mentioned above is coming back to a TV in the common room where millennials and boomers can gather and share some laughs.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, Head Above Water which can be purchased on Amazon here. You can also visit his author page here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Plot Thickens

Everyone knows by now that retirement and old age are going to be defined differently by the baby boomer generation, and that’s okay. We were different from the start so it makes sense that we’re going to be different when it comes to the end of life experience.

But here’s one curve you may not have seen coming. Cemeteries are running out of plots and the ones they do have are costing an arm and a leg…along with a head and a torso. Land shortages for urban cemeteries are the norm now and they refer to it as a “space crunch.” Finding 50 acres of land to build a new cemetery when you’re up against the NIMBY effect (not in my back yard) has contributed to the maxed out capacity crisis.

A single burial plot in an urban cemetery can run anywhere from 6 to 8 thousand dollars. That’s a big reason why many more people are opting for cremation. While boomers may find that they can just squeeze in (sorry for that mental picture), millennials are out of luck once again. They will blame boomers for that too, but we’ll be dead so there’s that.

Green or natural burials are growing in popularity as a direct consequence of the space shortage. The body is buried without embalming or a coffin, allowing it to decompose naturally, so the land ends up being a conservation ground. Sounds oddly efficient but it still requires enough space to accommodate millions of boomers. Plus there’s the whole humans as fertilizer aspect to it that can be a downer (the death itself being the ultimate downer).

Do you think many of the 78 million or so boomers have given much thought to this looming crisis? I think not. Sure, many have secured a plot or prescribed cremation in their wills, but I’m betting that the vast majority are not worrying about it. We’re a fairly optimistic bunch not often known for advance planning. So it looks like many boomers are going to be sticker shocked or scrambling to come up with alternate disposal plans for themselves and their loved ones. You might consider a Grateful Dead song at the funeral. And We Bid You Goodnight would work but consider planning now for that end.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, Head Above Water which can be purchased on Amazon here. You can also visit his author page here.