Saturday, February 28, 2015

Boom Boom Out Go The Lights

Leonard Nimoy ~ 1913-2015 ~ Rest In Peace

Baby boomers are people born during the demographic Post–World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964; including me.  My date of birth is October 1, 1964.  This means that the 'last of the boomers' turned 50 on December 31, 2014.

Regular readers know of my life-long Star Trek addiction.  Praise NetFlix!!  The passing of Leonard Nimoy, the original Mr. Spock and not a boomer himself, marks the loss of one of the last cultural icons of the baby boomer generation.  Ironic, that as the boomers themselves begin to pass into history, one of the final fluctuations of their 'age wave' mirrors one of the first.  In those days, another Mr. Spock was king.

As the wave gained momentum so did things like elementary school construction, new home construction, and fads. Then it was JFK, civil rights, free love, Vietnam, drugs, divorce and other sundry mayhem.  Yes indeed, the baby boomers have given much to the world as they surfed an economic tsunami.

All this and I didn't even bring up Disco...

As the boomers began to age, the health and fitness craze exploded.  When they got old, healthcare itself became the pot of gold. And now.....well.


"As a group, they were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that received peak levels of income, therefore they could reap the benefits of abundant levels of food, apparel, retirement programs, and sometimes even "midlife crisis" products. The increased consumerism for this generation has been regularly criticized as excessive"~ Wiki 

Today, I asked my 19-year old son if he knew who Charles Bronson was.  "Nope."  Charlton Heston? "Uh-uh."

Friday morning, I was in my Environmental Law and Policy class and my young 30-something law professor made a reference to Billy Beer.  For those of you who don't know or remember, President Jimmy Carter's brother Billy (taking advantage of newly-legal home brewing) began producing and selling his own brand of 'hillbilly piss.'  At least that's what the 20-something guy in the back row thought perhaps 'Billy' stood for, to the appreciative howls of classmates.  The instructor quickly (and cleverly) quipped back, "He's the Roger Clinton you never heard of." Then, he shot me a quick frowning glance...

Farrah's blonde hair doesn't wave in the wind any longer (RIP), Michael isn't telling us to beat it (RIP), magazines are scrolled, not leafed through (RIP), and video killed the radio star (RIP).  Weed is legal, war is a business, and I never got my flying car. Cultural icons fade, products evolve and go extinct (where's your 'wall o' video tapes?'), unless they manage to make it into our mythology.  Myths survive.  They are always there to comfort us.  

Superman stays forever young and ready to save the world, Sasquatch still roams the woods, and the 'truth is out there.'  Religions around the world are growing, American exceptionalism is alive and well, and my six-year old daughter loves to tell the story of Noah.  As Christopher Knowles recently pointed out over at The Secret Sun, "...the paranormal is personal."  Any good Klingon will tell you of the importance of stories, and 'girls love a guy who can make them laugh.'  I feel a special power inside each time I tell my three boys to "gather round while I run one down."

Lately, I've been absolutely buried in my Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Master's thesis proposal, destined to be a 50+ page quantitative materialistic monstrosity worthy of honorable mention in the next remake of Alice's Restaurant.  I'm simultaneously involved in other scientific endeavors, which will undoubtedly be valuable and useful to archaeology and resource management in the future, and I'm justifiably pleased about that.  However, Nimoy's death reminds me, that by their very nature these accomplishments are impermanent; part of an evolving process at best.  Somewhere in the distance of my mind, I can hear the low train whistle of time, and I try not to think about how long the tracks have been rumbling.  

Leonard Nimoy is gone, but the myth he helped to create lives on, for now, boldly going where no one has gone before. Congratulations Sir!  That's quite an accomplishment!

Dave ~ Thanks for your time.  I hope we get to know each other better.