Confessions of a Bummed-Out Boomer | Letters | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » Letters

Confessions of a Bummed-Out Boomer


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


To the editors:

Re: "Boomed Out," July 31.

Unlike Julie Phillips, I AM a member of the "media-hyped baby boomer" generation and like the writer, I too am boomed out.

I remember my third grade teacher crying when she heard that a man named Kennedy was shot down in Dallas. I was doing my fractions at the time.

In the eighth grade I learned of Dr. King's assassination and that the country was rioting while I baby-sat and giggled about boys.


I spent the seventies finishing high school. And since I wasn't popular enough and didn't have a fiance waiting for me after graduation, I decided to try college.

In high school I noticed that I belonged to a club that boys avoided like the plague. I was still a member in college. My friends and I wore glasses and had braces on our teeth. We were too chubby or tomboyish. We did our homework, passed tests, ran for student council, and in general did the average teenage idiotic things like coloring our hair, wearing clothes our parents hated, ignored curfew, etc.

We watched other girls try out for cheerleader and make it. We envied girls running for homecoming and prom queens and getting crowned. These baby boomers gradually turned their boyfriends into husbands and settled behind their picket fences, two-car garages, adorable children, and wonderful shopping sprees. They ran into years of manic-depression quieted by Valiums and Darvons.

Tired of cooking and cleaning, these women left their homes and returned to school and work. Fighting for their rights! Juggling careers and marriages. At last, these beauties realized that it takes more than a pretty face to make it out alive.

As for us, we by then had shed those unwanted pounds, replaced eyeglasses with contact lenses, and unhinged the braces revealing wonderful smiles. Suddenly we are the rave! We are the envied! We are the career women of the 80s! Big deal.

Some of us didn't have the choice of marriage or career. Some of us couldn't live at home forever waiting for a handsome prince. Some of us realized early on that in order to live OK, you would need an income. Your income would be determined by your skills, knowledge, and preparation; that is if your work isn't illegal or immoral. In order to acquire skills and preparation, you must learn, be it in a university or on-the-job training. in other words, you need a brain.

So, what's the big fuss? We have to pay the rent. Not all of us born in the fifties are dying for an MBA, BMW, and Club Med. Not all of us are so obsessed with our bodies that we train, jog, weightlift, exercise, jazzercise, and aerobicize our vain egos with banal narcissism.

Not all of us protested, demonstrated, and fought the establishment. Sure, we questioned and argued bogus politics at the same time voting and paying taxes. Except for an occasional joint in college, not all of us freaked out on LSD.

Although I am all of seven years away from turning 40, I am amazed at the selfishness and vanity of my age group. Someone said "youth is wasted on the young" and this is a perfect example.

Ms. Phillips's humorous editorial raises enough issues for the "baby boomers" to retaliate. Let them! I want her to know that some of us finished college, work hard every day to own a mid-size late-model car, take vacations with friends once a year, pay the bills and have a helluva good life.

Some of us only want what is in our immediate grasp. Some of us are only human. Some of us are equally BOOMED OUT!

Pat Rowell

S. Yates

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment