Sunday, March 22, 2009

How did we survive?

I am one of the baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. I sometimes wonder how we survived. Consider:

Our mothers smoked and/or drank while pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with brightly colored, lead-based paints.

There were no childproof lids on medicine or special locks on cabinet doors.

We we rode bikes, we wore baseball caps, not specially engineered helmets.

As infants, we rode in cars without car seats or booster seats, no seat belts and no air bags. Sometimes, as tots, we rode in small moving boxes packed with blankets and toys.

We rode in the back of pickup trucks and no one was arrested or cited.

We drank water from garden hoses, not from plastic bottles.

We shared a single bottle of Coca-Cola with three friends -- and no one died.

We ate cupcakes with food coloring, white bread, real butter and bacon. In fact, we drank Kool-Aid mixed with tablespoons of real sugar.

Yet we weren't overweight, because we were always outside playing.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when dusk fell. And no one was able to reach us all day. And: we were okay.

We'd spend hours in the forest with Daisy rifles, or building go-carts without brakes, or sledding with wooden and steel monstrosities that could sever a limb.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-Boxes. There were no video games, no cable television, no DVD players. There were no computers, no web, no Facebook, no Twitter.

We had friends and we went outside and found them... without cell phones or text messages.

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits resulting from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns and knives for our birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, played lawn darts and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

The boomers have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, inventors and entrepreneurs ever.

The last 50 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

We had the good fortune to grow up as kids in America, before the government regulated so much of our lives "for our own good".

Give thanks, for such an age will never occur again.

Hat tips: How Beautiful We Were (American Digest), Contrairimairi and AdClassix. Linked by: Paul Ibrahim. Thanks!


rightwingimmigrant said...

Yeah, and your generation is also the "make love not war generation", the "if it feels good, then do it" generation, the "finance everything until I have debt up my nose" generation, the "I'll be my kids' friends, not parents" generation, the "spend what I make, no need to invest, for we'll make sure the gov't will take care of us, future generations be damned" generation. In short, the worst, most spoiled, most abominable generation ever in US history, which in turn breeds even worse generation of "high in self esteem, but low in actual aptitude, character, and capabilities" "the world revolves around me" generation, which in turn breeds even worse one, etc.

Anonymous said...

We are also the generation that served and died in Vietnam. 50,000 names on the wall.

Al said...

We are also the generation that invented or developed the personal computer, the cell phone, and other high-tech wonders. Many of us repudiated right-wing thinking that supported racism and kept women in a low-status caste. We grew up during the Cold War and, thanks to duck-and-cover drills, Soviet threats to bury us, the Berlin Wall, and the specter of the mushroom cloud, are surprised that we lived this long. We've lived this long thanks, in part, to medical research and treatment that borders on science fiction, thanks to Baby Boomers who elected to go into medicine and medical research - and thanks to a powerful Armed Services composed of primarily of Boomers and their children.

Anonymous said...

We also disinvented bras, had sex on campus in the fountain at lunch. We taught the movies to swear and take off their clothes as well.

WE started the FreeSpeech movement adn wrote great words on our tee shirts.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

To rightwingimmigrant Absolutely everything you've listed can be traced right back the liberal/progressive/communists that realized they could do more damage by buying a suit and infiltrating the political parties. They are always and will always be about destruction, chaos and demoralization -because you can't enslave a strong-willed, confident population.

Anonymous said...

50 years of self congratulating Baby Boomers. Yes, it's a wonder we've survived, it's not at all surprising we're in the sad shape they've left us. It'll take generations to fix the mess the boomers have left us, our children, our grandchildren.

Unknown said...

You bunch of sad miserable, self loathing liberals. Whiny sniveling brats that have to be placed in cotton batting to deserve socialism then you can really be slugs.

portable media player said...

We grew up during the Cold War, thanks duck and cover exercises, to bury the Soviet threat, the Berlin Wall, and the specter of the mushroom cloud, was surprised to see that we have lived so long.
portable media player

Anonymous said...

The world you baby boomers lived in was created by the previous generation, known as the "greatest generation". The world we live in today was created by the boomers.

98ZJUSMC said...

Many of us repudiated right-wing thinking that supported racism and kept women in a low-status caste.

Right wing thinking? I think you need to over yourself.


True. Until the media was allowed to re-write the historical record.

The world you baby boomers lived in was created by the previous generation, known as the "greatest generation". The world we live in today was created by the boomers

All too true.

and thanks to a powerful Armed Services composed of primarily of Boomers and their children.

...and would love to do it all over again.

Anonymous said...

don't lump my 1964 birth in with you dope smoking maggot infested hippie FM type boomers, you commie pinko.

Mad Mike said...


Aren't all the things you described basically the the things that your PARENTS did? IE: Your parents allowed you guys to do all of that, then you in turn became the nanny statists of today?

RHJunior said...

Mad Mike nails it in one.

Also, you had me up until :

" We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-Boxes. There were no video games, no cable television, no DVD players. There were no computers, no web, no Facebook, no Twitter."

goodie for you, Caveman Bill! Isn't Ludditism FUN?

Anonymous said...

Not all boomers are bad. Only the envy driven socialist (Democrats) boomers that work to steal our our freedoms and try to get others to pay their way.

John said...

We also ate SPAM, as well TV Dinners and really loved it, especially the apple crisp dessert in the center top as we would enjoy watching a fun (and decent) show on a Saturday night.

We always got a haircut every week or two - girls once a month, we knew the meaning of hair tonic be same Brylcreem or Vitalis, shined shoes, a bath or shower everyday, pledging allegiance to the flag, always saying Sir or M'am - Mr. or Mrs. to our friends parents, shaking hands, not living in a world consumed by the pernicious specter of political correctness - liberalism run amok............

I could go on and on and on.............

Anonymous said...

you do realize that not all young people living in the fifties and sixties were hippies, right? I was born in 1945 and I did a lot of the stuff in here. In 1960 I was 15 still in school and when I was 16 I went to work at a real job. I had 5 sister and the three older than me were already working or married and working. Not a one of us was a hippie or believed in Free Love, just another name for being a slut I'd say. We were all virgins when we married. So you might want to consider that some of us were not out there touting "Make love not war" even if we didn't believe in the war in Viet Nam. Nations start wars for power and land. Politicians are the ones who send our troops and are still doing it to places we should not even be. I lost a very dear friend in Viet Nam, but I was not out there protesting. I was building a life for myself.

Anonymous said...

You also . . .

Polluted the drinking water, that's why today's kids can't drink from the hose. (fuck you!)

De-funded early childhood education and school lunch programs in order to pay for your free healthcare, Medicare, and social security. (fuck you!)

Pumped billions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere causing drought, famine and climate change the future generations will have to deal with. (fuck you!)

Armed Islamic militants in Northern Afghanistan, encouraging them to fight the Russians and created Al-Qaeda, whom now terrorizes the US and whom the Millennial generation must die fighting because you vote to send us to war. (fuck you!)

Drank Kool-Aid with tons of real sugar in it and later on in life developed Type II diabetes in epidemic numbers while at the same time passing the bill for your medical care along to your children. (fuck you!)

Sat your children down in front of a television or video game console instead of actually parenting them, then blamed your children for not spending more time outside like you did. Why did you choose to do such a terrible job parenting when your parents clearly cared so much about your well being? (fuck you!)

Passed laws taking baseballs and kick-balls and jump ropes and jungle gyms and monkey bars and all sorts of other dangerous playground items out of schools while at the same time ensuring that any person, anywhere, regardless of mental state or criminal background can buy any type of weapon they want without a background check. So now children today can't play games or have fun at school but that can get shot dead at any time. (fuck you!)

You didn't have cell phones, your mother called in in when you were done playing which begs the question, why did you take the easy way out? Why, when your parents did so good by you, did you choose, once again, to make such bad decisions on behalf of your children? (fuck you!)

You ate Tuna from a can without worrying about how much mercury was in it, which begs the obvious question: Why did you pollute the rivers and oceans with toxic levels of mercury so that today 95% of the fish you pull out of the ocean are riddled with tumors? (fuck you!)

You played outside all day as long as you were home when the streetlights came on. That's fucking great. So back in your day it was safe to play outside, but now that you're all adults you abduct and abuse and imprison and beat and rape younger generations making it impossible for parents now days to simply turn their children loose outside. Why the fuck would you do such a think when the generation before you clearly cared so much for your well being? (fuck you!)

You had sex on campus in the fountain at lunch, and then you grew up and became administrators and politicians and now when younger generations express themselves, you expel them for violating laws and guidelines that you put in place. Of course, that's after you raised their college tuition to the price of a 5 bedroom house. (fuck you!)

Baby Boomers, get the fuck over yourselves! We're all aware of how impressed you are by your own generation but it would be nice if you stopped patting yourselves on the back long enough to help us clean up your huge, colossal clusterfuck of a mess. It would make paying for all your healthcare and social security for the next 40 years a bit easier to stomach.

But hey, you guys really really loved the Beatles. That's got to count for something, right?

Charli said...

Dear Mr/Ms Anonymouse. Baby Boomers are post WW2 with birthdates between 1946 and 1964. Thus, most of your argument is bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Thank You. I know what you mean. Think I'll start my job a little earlier, try to do an even better job, be especially kind and friendly to everyone, even those who don't get it.

Jess said...

Dear Anonymous:

I generally dislike the idea of abortion, but I'm willing to accept a good opportunity was missed.

RobertM said...

Little League had tryouts?


If they did, then if I was chosen to be on the team, the bar was sent really, really low.

Under the Radar Blue said...

My grandpa was a WW1 vet, uncles are WW2 vets and my dad a Korea war vet. None of them would ever accept the Greatest Generation title. The "greatest generation" didn't even get involved in the war until it was a catastrophe and threatened American soil. Although I consider myself a hard working gen-x er nobody has a claim to that title. What a disgrace to the people of the Civil and American Revolutionary War for anyone to use that title. Your generation outsed prayer from schools, which by the way made teen pregnancy sky rocket which let to legalizing abortion to erase it all. Many baby boomers despised authority. We had no National Deficit till the start of the 50's and grew a 1000 fold by the 80's.

Most generations rest on the laurels of the hard work done before them.

Truthfully I have a strong dislike for the millennials and their value system which I think will take this nation down. But I'm not going down the road to tout how great my generation is.

Although I was born in 1970 my childhood wasn't much different form yours.

Brian said...

Not surprised by all of the vitriolic attacks on boomers. We raised some seriously flawed children. I'm sure amidst all of the whining and name calling of subsequent generations- they'll surely be able to improve the social fabric of society with their cell phone children and vast parenting skills. The same skills they employ while whining and ridiculing others.