Talkin’ ’bout my generation

By Mike Murphy

I was looking at some old photos recently and two thoughts came to mind: How much I’ve changed since the 1960s-70s, The Age of Aquarius, and how lucky I was to survive, considering some of the guys I hung out with and some of the things we did.

Funny how a guy my age can remember experiences fifty years ago much more vividly than recent events, such as right now I’m wondering if I turned off the sprinkler that I turned on last Wednesday.

Of course, one can’t always be absolutely sure that things happened the way we think they happened when we were younger.  Unfortunately—or fortunately as far as violating the law is concerned—we did not have Smartphones to take pictures of every single moment of our lives and every single expression on our faces.  No, we had dumb phones that we used to actually speak to people, the black ones so big that if we wanted to take one with us we had to rent a U-Haul trailer.

Plus, back then, if I had $299 I sure as heck would not spend it on a phone.  I’d go out and buy me a better car than the Nash Rambler station wagon I bought for $150!

I really feel sorry for anyone who missed out on the 1960s.  What an exciting time, with cultural movements such as anti-war and free love.  You remember “free love” which was any lovin’ that a guy got before he was married and charge cards were invented.

Back in the 60s, hippies were taking LSD so they thought green and pink paisley shirts were actually cool.  They wore bell bottoms so wide that they could store an entire tepee up one pants leg while hitch-hiking to the next music festival.

Well, those days are long gone.  For many of us, the New-Age has given way to old age.  And just as my generation back when we were young tried to trick itself into believing “All you need is love,” we appear now to be pushing for a campaign to create the illusion that growing old can be “fun.”

When I recently turned 65, my son said that “65 is the new 45.”   Some days, to me, 65 feels more like the new 85.

Sure, some celebrities spotlighted in magazines can defy Old Man Time, stars like Joan Collins and Michael Caine, but such articles overlook the fact that these people have millions of dollars to spend on personal trainers, cosmetic surgeons, doppelgangers, etc.

I tend to agree more with the fellow who wrote the song “Old Man Time Ain’t No Friend of Mine.”  Heck, I’ve had the dermatologist fry so many age spots on my face at $35 a pop that I asked for a frequent-fryer discount.

The Internet is full of suggestions to help seniors enjoy life more.  Some experts feel that we should accept new innovations such as Smartwatches and iPads.  Oh, I accept them all right; I just can’t read the darn things without using a giant magnifying glass straight out of Sherlock Holmes.

Others suggest that at this stage of life we can finally relax and accept the fact that occasionally we could be wrong about things.  Which, of course, means that we could be wrong about the possibility of ever being wrong—right?

Another suggestion is that boomers should get out and meet other people.  After all, you never know who you’ll run into on a daily walk to the end of your driveway and back.  They even believe that naps increase life expectancy, so, hold on, I’ll be back in about an hour.

Finally, it’s okay to think about death but we should have no fear of it; in contrast to Woody Allen who said, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

In regard to physical fitness, the late Joe Weider, “the father of modern bodybuilding,” has a website with senior exercise tips.  Myself, I’ve noticed that recently when I do pushups, I have no trouble with the “down” part, but that “up” maneuver is a struggle.  In a note of caution, Weider warns, “A break in form can result in injury.”  I would add that form is not the only thing one might break.

There are even sites with tips for what some call Senior Sex.  One therapist suggests that older men may require more foreplay.  Possibly, but remember what I said earlier about “A break in form can result in injury!”

Even though my wife doesn’t need to worry anymore about my not coming home “till a quarter to three,” overall, I’m just glad that the answer to the Beatles’ questions, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I’m sixty-four,” at least according to her, is yes.

Mike Murphy of Pocatello retired after a 35-year teaching and coaching career.  He has a master’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is an Associated Press award-winning columnist.