Golden years?

February 10th, 2012
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Anyone born after 1960 has their own views about following the Baby Boomers through their self-obsessed, self-declared “journey”. The pervasiveness of their music, fashion and politics has been much documented. Some of us have been following this from their real adolescence, through a second adolescence to, I guess, the inevitable second childhood.

Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Florida, where the first Boomers are making themselves at home. What differentiates these retirement newcomers from the older retirees is fairly obvious. The older crew will be familiar to most readers. They look pretty much like your grandparents. The folds, creases and wrinkles are pretty much where you expect them to be, as are the distended, and gravity-affected body parts. The Sunbelt uniform is there too, the ill-fitting golf shirts and Bermudas.

The new-comer Boomers are something else altogether. Imagine the aforementioned physiology trussed up in Spandex and Lycra and you’ll get the idea. That’s not to say that the younger crew doesn’t display a higher level of fitness; by-and-large it does. It’s just that there is also ample evidence of artificial enhancement.

Not that this should come as a surprise. It’s just when you see the effect, the very taut skin along the female jaw line for example, that you can’t help but be taken aback. To paraphrase my sister, somebody had to graduate at the bottom of plastic surgery school. The worst results, ranging somewhere from the surgery scene in Brazil to Jack Nicholson’s Joker, are something to behold.

Another emerging subculture are the geriatric Easy Riders, perching their ample girth on late-model Harleys. It’s not quite a Python sketch, but it’s really something.

You’ve likely seen them on summer highways up north – grey-white pony tail, short black helmet with comm-link to their “old lady” behind, holding on for all she’s worth. Wonder if the septuagenarian bikers still call them “old ladies”? The sleek two-wheel cycle-trailer rounds out the picture.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Enterprising marketers will already be taking note. There’s a free-spending demographic there, ripe for the picking.

So post-Boomers steel yourselves. Get ready for the increased onslaught of ads- the little blue pills, the cartilage-restorers, hearing aids, the “Clapper”, you name it. If there’s a silver lining, those Boomers may be inventing a much more liveable version of retirement than our parents and grandparents knew; and we may actually live to enjoy it.

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By John Weissenberger