Baby Boomer Jamboree And Generation X,Y,Zee

by Eric Le Roy

Content 18+ This is written in response to Mr. Anderson’s most recent eruption, which is called “Goddamn Millennials”. For reasons I am not sure of, I – as the designated Baby Boomer – am cast as the smug and ornately slippered villain tucked away safely in some state-of-the-architectural- art-suburban castle gazing from lofty windows and out beyond the Security Gates, glass of Jack Daniels in hand (my third), scoffing at the ‘Goddamn Millennials’ as they go zipping by on their skateboards to some no doubt idle and frivolous destination which they have not yet defined even in their own indolent, self-indulgent minds.

Have I caught the idea, Mr. Anderson? My take on this extremely talented wordsmith is that he suffers from one correctable but at times annoying condition: Know-It-All-Ism. My first awareness of this flaw occurred when I read the article called “The Dream that Consumes Us” – a one-sided diatribe that castgates America while elevating Europe to the status of modern day saints. I have responded in due course, although it hasn’t come out yet, subject to the editing and proofing that is prerequisite with me. After all, as an old Baby Boomer, I am inclined to be very pompous and careless, and this can lead to typos.

For one thing, Mr. Anderson knows nothing about my real, actual life, and so to label me in any way is a sign of immaturity. Moreover, it is just unfair. I grew up in middle America. Born in 1949, yes I am of the official ‘Boomer’ category. My family was hardly ‘rolling in it’. My Mom and Dad split up and, from age 7-17 I lived with my grandparents. West Virginia. Coal mining country. Appalachia. Go visit this area, Mr. Anderson : Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, etc. – and you will see a different America than the one you have read about. My grandfather never owned his own home until he retired and bought a ‘doublewide’ – which, Mr. Anderson, means two trailers squeezed together.

I was an only child and was treated with much love and kindness. Eventually I was admitted to the University of Florida in 1967 and dropped out after two weeks. I spent the next 6 months in NYC, in the Village (Greenwich Village) and in Harlem (the big New York ghetto.) I was an adventurer, not a Boomer CEO aspirant. I lived in the days of Commie Witch Hunts, racism and discrimination on a scale you could never imagine, the Cold War, and the abuse and exploitation of women as habit, custom, and tradition. If you were gay – which I am not (accident of birth) – you had better stay hidden in the shadows or the muscle boys from places like Winchester, Virginia and Hagerstown, Maryland, would beat the living fuckpiss out of you.

This was the America of trade unions and early death from lung cancer and the military draft and families with three or four baby mouths to feed (yes, they had babies back then). Hard towns and hard people duking it out with life in cities with names like Peoria, Piscataway, and Pittsburgh where you weren’t likely to see too many ‘Dreamers’.

The ‘50s were indeed a time of affluence and upward mobility for many. It was right after the war and we were on the winning side. So what the fuck do you expect – that everyone, even those who could afford it, would choose to live in log cabins with outhouses attached? OF COURSE, people wanted – and believed in – ‘progress’. This false sense of security lasted throughout the Eisenhower years, but even then, storm clouds were, as they say, gathering on the horizon. Guys like Keruoac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, James Baldwin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Betty Friedan and others, were starting bonfires on the outskirts of the ‘suburbs’. Then came the ‘60s, the most turbulent time in modern American history. The assassinations of President John Kennedy and his brother Bobby, the murder of Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and Malcom X. Then, there was this little event called Vietnam which tore the country apart. I was an impressionable, vulnerable teenager then, not some rich kid surfer boy living in a mansion in SoCal.

My response was to support counter culture and advance my alcoholism and various drug addictions. I was a student off and on, but I never fit in with that crowd. I eventually got a Ph.D. when I was 48 years old. Dr, Le Roy. So, starting in 1967, it took me exactly 30 years to get my doctorate, and by that time I was too old to find a job in an elite school. Or pretty much anywhere else for that matter. I had a police record. No dead bodies, just possession, DUI, etc. In short, in the Great Society, I was fucked. The American Dream indeed.

So what did I do? After all my enablers died off, I grew up. Ended up in Russia as an ESL tutor and made what, for me, was a small fortune. Married a Russian woman whom I am still with (5th wife – 2 Americans, an English woman, and an Italian), and I work every day 7 days a week, 10-12 hours per day. Artem can attest to this.

I became successful when I understood that it was all on me, do or die. That’s when I remembered the great advice I was given back when I would nod my head in agreement and then go out and do something fucked up again. In short, Mr. Anderson, I became successful, NOT because I was a Boomer or because I believed in or was the recipient of any goddamned ‘Dream’ – American or otherwise. I became successful when I stopped blaming others for my own shortcomings and started blaming myself – the true culprit all along.

So you see, Mr. Anderson, while I hardly expect this autobiographical sketch to make me your hero, I do hope you will understand that we all lead our fateful journeys along our own personal jagged paths. Nobody has the Official Apostille Seal of Truth. Each generation has problems (and pleasures) that are unique to itself and which the generations past and future, not having lived them, would not understand.

I personally couldn’t tell a Gen-X-er from a Gen-Y-er from a ‘Millennial’. It’s all gibberish to me. I wish you luck if you ever go to the US and start looking for a house and beyond that, as a much older man indeed, I offer some advice which, for now, anyway, you will no doubt reject.

Stop basking in absurd generalizations. Snowing people with statistics about the price of houses doesn’t get to the truth, which is that All People of All Time have had problems, some which seemed insurmountable, but which they had no choice but to try and, well, surmount. Most people leave this life with about half of the problems solved, and the rest are left to the next generation and the one after that.

Every new generation thinks the previous one consisted of nothing but a bunch of dumb old bastards, while the dumb old bastards think the young generation is nothing but a bunch of lazy- ass snot-nosed idlers, geeks, and cowards.

It happens every time, and one day you will see things the same way. You’ll be doddering around in your bathrobe, sipping on a martini, and trying to remember if you took your blood pressure medicine that day or had a bowel movement, and mumbling about that ‘young whippersnapper’ who was rude to you in the metro. Or whatever they will be calling young whippersnappers then. Today, I think it’s cocksucking fucktoids, or something like that. You will have your own vocabulary in those days to come when you have decided that young people are rubbish.

So try, really try, Mr. Anderson, to elevate your level of maturity to that of your prodigious talent. Don’t pigeon hole people –or whole generations – when someone who is actually from that generation, knows that you haven’t got a clue.

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