More Americans are born in September and October than in any other months, and it does not take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to make the connection between holiday festivities and what happens nine months or so later.
I am one of those millions of Americans, and as a proud Baby Boomer I am happy to be here to have a birthday and happy to be breathing steadily and uneventfully. My birthday this year did not involve a zero, so it was not so monumental and passed with small family celebrations, several hilarious cards, and a breakfast with my girlfriends at the K&W after our morning exercise class. I splurged and ate a veggie omelet with cheese.
Jim Jenkins, an insightful, articulate, and often laugh-out-loud funny writer for the News and Observer in Raleigh did observe one of those once a decade zero birthdays recently and wrote about his milestone in a column called “When the bloom’s off the boomer,” which left me both chuckling and pondering.
Rather than discussing our aches and pains, ailments and treatments, Jenkins suggests we consider not our own evolutions but the changes in the world around us as we grew up and cruised life’s continuum.
Here is part of Jenkins’ spin on some of what has happened since we Boomers arrived.
“Take food: We’re older than Goldﬁ sh crackers, pizza rolls, instant rice, boil-in bags, high-carb crazes, low-carb crazes, gluten-free crazes, and sugar-free chocolate. We had no clue about vegan. We’re older than Trident, Big Red gum, Lemonheads, Starburst and Reese’s Pieces. Except for Trident most of us have given up the rest of it thanks to high blood sugar.
“We’re older than the use of the term ‘free-range chicken,’ although my grandmother had some chickens and we ate the eggs on occasion, so perhaps we were groundbreakers and didn’t know it. Now we know ‘free range’ as a term that means more expensive in the local la-de-dah eatery …
“We are older than cell phones.
“We grew up without remote control. Now, that’s old. When I tell young people this, they ask things like, ‘I’m doing a paper in school. Can I interview you about what Cleopatra was really like?’...
“We have been around for 12 Presidents, or more than a fourth of those who have served since our country’s founding.
“When we were born Clint Eastwood had not yet made his ﬁrst big movie or his ﬁrst speech at a political convention. He’s not made his last movie, but we probably did get in on this last convention speech...
“In 1952, Elizabeth Taylor was already a movie star. No one had ever heard of, or anticipated hearing of, Justin Bieber or Britney Spears. That’s why we talk about the good old days.
“We were on the planet for the birth and death of disco. When we’re bending the knee replacements for nightly prayers, there’s something for which to be grateful.”
Jim Jenkins clearly gets the entire aging phenomenon and can make us laugh about it to boot!
Back, though, to my lesser birthday occasion.
I have written on this page on several occasions about my complete incomprehension of the wave of mass tattooing which struck our nation a decade or two ago. My most recent written foray into tattoo territory suggested that the wave has crested and is on the way back out into our vast pop cultural ocean.
Apparently not with other Dicksons.
One of my family birthday celebrations involved a dinner cooked by the Three Precious Jewels, two of whom were extremely behind schedule — about two hours. When they ﬁnally arrived, I was delighted to see them, of course, and then utterly ﬂabbergasted when one, wearing shorts, crossed the room to reveal a large “something” on the back of his right calf! I shrieked, only to be shown a second “something” on the forearm of Precious Jewel # 2!
They had been out being tattooed — an anchor and a bolt of lightening, both emblazoned with the word “MOM!” — nominally in honor of my occasion but really to get a rise out of their mother who has yet to bridge the generation gap about putting ink under one’s skin.
They succeeded and how! My hair has only begun to lie back down in the last few days.
I suspect that Jim Jenkins and millions of other Baby Boomers would agree with me that we are delighted to be here taking in the sights and waiting to see what comes next as our world seems to spin faster and faster and get smaller and smaller.
I also suspect that they join me in thinking thank goodness for henna!Photo: Perhaps the tattoo craze is not over.