It seems to me that the Baby Boomers get a lot of flack in this day and age, and while I understand that in some ways they totally have it coming, I feel that the Boomers are truly misunderstood on an enormous level. Being the child of a pair from this notorious generation, I’ve had many years of intense exposure to the habits and responses of this creature and can tell you that the answer to most of the questions surrounding their infamous bizarre behavior can be found in the curious customs of their upbringing.
First of all, the people that raised the Baby Boomers were exceptional people on a level that makes me want to slay the next generation out of shame. Hard working, honest and humble, these people represented everything that was good and right about America. They meant what they said and a handshake could close a deal. But it was a different time, the Surgeon General recommended cigarettes,
bacon was part of a nutritious breakfast and if someone took the time to write something down it had to be true. The parents of the baby boomers were innocent and reserved to the point that it strains the very bonds of logic to figure out how the hell they had kids in the first place. Ozzy and Harriet beds were standard master suite fair,
camping out in a pair of single beds that were six feet apart every night, wearing eight pounds of pajamas it’s a miracle the Baby Boomers got here at all! But like a division of panzers, they arrived in record numbers! To parents that had no idea how to actually talk to their kids about the facts and perils of life…but it was an era of newsreels and ads endorsed by political figures and movie stars alike, and in their unflagging ingenuity they came up with a solution that would both misinform and scare the living shit out of their kids, while leaving their own puritan morality in tact…The Educational Film Strip!
Having had the misfortune to actually see several of these confusing pieces of cinematic memoribilia, all I can say is that I’m truly impressed that the Baby Boomers are as emotionally stable as they are. There are several themes that are blatantly apparant in all of them, first of all, the topic, whether its drinking or sex, is never really clearly explained but silhouetted in a series of shaded and dim images or faded out all together. For example, a film warning against the perils of unwed sex, Tommy comes over to Tammy’s house, they sit on her bed, for some reason there’s a Coke machine in her closet, and after cracking open two bottles of the soda that started it all,
they turn on her tinny transister radio and the shot fades to black….. WHAM!!! Tammy is pregnant, no one comes to her mother’s bridge games anymore, her father has been fired, and her brother Bill is kicked off the basketball team so they send her off to some farm for unwed mothers where she will never be seen or heard from again.
The moral of this film? If you drink Coke in your room with a boy, you will get pregnant and ruin the lives of everyone you care about!!! I’m surprised Coca-Cola didn’t go bankrupt after that one, after all it would appear to be the catalyst if you believe this film. An interesting post script to this film, Tommy was never mentioned again and he suffered no ill consequences of his cola-driven encounter in Tammy’s bedroom.
The other theme that is prevalent in all of these films is the completely horrifying and hyperbolic consequences of any mistake, highlighted beautifully in another favorite of mine which centers around the evils of drinking, even though the five o’clock cocktail was an institution and the drinking lunch a lynch-pin of industry, that didn’t mean it was alright for the kids to even consider such a thing. So it’s prom night, oh boy! Carl and Bobby Sue are going out on a double date with Nick and Rita, but Nick and Rita are bad kids, you can tell, because Nick has his hair slicked back and Rita’s wearing red lipstick and a low cut dress…tsk tsk…where was her mother when she left the house?
But stereotypes aside, off these four kids go into the night. After dinner, they head to lover’s lane to (gasp) park! But Carl and Bobby Sue just sit in the front and talk while pushing the evelope of propriety by holding hands, and Rita and Nick who are sparring in the back aren’t worried in the least since there’s not a Coke machine for miles. Before they leave, Nick pulls a hogleg of whiskey out of his coat and suggests that they all have a drink before going to the dance…Carl and Bobby Sue protest strongly, but are won over by Nick and Rita’s slimy reasoning and the fact that the bottle alone couldn’t sauce a kitten. But down the hatch with the hootch and it’s off to the high school to dance it all off…..but something is amiss, the lighting turns reddish, and the car turns into a smoking, lurching death machine, careening out of control, the four plastered kids laugh and swerve their way to the prom, unable to stop his dad’s Buick in time,
Carl rams the thing into the side of the gym, at which point all the mistakes these four youngsters made culminate in EVERYONE DYING…
that’s right, not just our misguided couples, but the innocent students in the gym, everyone is dead…because they drank less than two shots of whiskey each….seriously.
So that right there explains a lot, misinformed by film strips and terrified to talk to their folks, who were just as mortified to be asked, the Baby Boomers got it over with and grew up, avoiding Coke and alcohol at all costs, but the world was not through with these people yet, not by a long shot.
How would you feel if you were told by someone half your age that all the things you learned growing up were wrong, outdated or useless? And here you are, upper management of a corporation that was founded on a martini and a handshake, watching a bunch of flip flop wearing, YouTube watching, vegan heathens fill up the cubicals that were once bursting with gum chewing secretaries at your beck and call, listening to these mouthy kids tell you that your database is outdated, your hardware obsolete and your human resources department is gunning for a lawsuit due to it’s mid-evil hiring & firing practices….wouldn’t that just irritate the hell out of you? Might one resist the change just a little bit? Could it stand to reason that this person, this titan of industry, hard work and elbow grease is just a little fed up with the wave of the future and might just want to sit on the beach and enjoy things for a minute?
I shudder to think what the world will be like when I’m 55, and if there’s any justice in this world I just won’t have to deal with any of it. Unfortunately for the Baby Boomers it was change or be changed and in the tradition of their parents and the pioneers of this country, they manned up and got it done, they learned DOS, bought huge fax machines, switched over to PC, got cell phones, started texting, e-mailing and Facebooking, learned yoga, cut out red meat and alcohol, got colonoscopies and while all that was going on they stayed in the ring, raised their kids, sent us to college and put up with our crap.
So the next time your looking around that big office, and the Boomer behind the desk, just remember where he’s coming from, shut the hell up and listen for once, you just might learn something from that guy, he’s forgotten more than you’ll ever know.