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It's time to rechristen the baby boom generation

Its one thing to hedge, lie, to shave a few years off your age. It's quite another for an entire generation to live in a state of Peter Pan/Benjamin Button delusional suspension.

This widespread "Forever Young" attachment is irresponsible. It comes in no small part from the lingering use of that accursed "Baby Boom Generation" misnomer.

It's an impractical badge to call anyone past the age of 60 a baby. Really. Unless we're thinking of adult diapers.

So without "baby," we're left with "boomer." Stacked up against cooler identifications like "the Me Gen" and "GenZero," it doesn't cut much colloquial mustard. It strikes oddly, sounding as though a quarter of America's population is being introduced at a Texas high school football game. "Please welcome . . . the battling Boomers!"

The (Fill-in-the-Blank) Generation's motto needs enough gravitas to step into rank between "The Greatest Generation" and "Gen X."

There is movement among some toward reinvoking "Golden" or "Golden Age" status, and though either "the Golden Arches Generation" or "Gold Card Carriers" would assert historic continuity and convenient corporate sponsorship, there's still that tricky Bea Arthur/Estelle Getty issue to resolve.

Admittedly, none of these suggested appellations truly capture the rollicking self-absorption of the generation that saw the moon landing at Woodstock, followed Jane Fonda into Lycra and today dreams of escaping foreclosure. Something like "That Oh So SPECIAL! Generation" perhaps?

Or given that so many are still among or re-entering the workforce, perhaps "the Geri-Actives Generation"?

Whatever we choose, it must inspire. It must serve as springboard, must adhere to the present day's "No Senior Left Behind Or Insulted" sensitivities.

For that, we need an acceptable model. A fashionable template. Thankfully, we have this generation's one indelible legacy — televised sports — from which to draw inspiration. From Gillette's Friday Night Boxing to the Super Bowl's extravaganza and endless cable "sports" for really bored viewers, we've a plethora of ideally suited terms.

Think of it. When asked their age, this sports-oriented crowd will warm instantly to describing themselves as "Marathoning the Years."

Why confess to being a porch rocker when it sounds so much more exciting to be "Entering the Third Quarter"? Or "Living Out That Seventh Inning Stretch"?

And, isn't there dramatic frisson in telling your Denny's server to expedite that Grand Slam because you're already "Playing In Overtime"?

Peter Mikelbank is a freelance writer living in Paris.

It's time to rechristen the baby boom generation 12/22/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 1:21pm]
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