The luckiest generation

MY FATHER WAS a member of The Greatest Generation, Americans who suffered through the Great Depression and still had the will to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese during World War II.

shoeThese guys then put Germany and Japan back together before coming home and gearing up the most successful and innovative economy the world has ever known.

I am one of that generation’s offspring. Perhaps you are too. My generation is called the Boomers, but a far more accurate name would be The Luckiest Generation.

We have never known true want. Except for our soldiers in foreign lands on occasion, a necessity, no one has ever shot at us or dropped bombs on us. We’ve never faced famine or refugee camps.

Since we’ve been so lucky, most of us don’t think about the fact that few people across the grim pages of history have had it this good. I’m talking about the “Western World,” which I define as the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and I’ll toss in the Aussies and New Zealanders.

It’s the world of liberal democracy, capitalism and freedom.

The Luckiest Generation should go to bed each night thanking the Goddess for its good fortune. Most do not, and their offspring, the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation, do it even less, if at all. They are Twittering, Facebooking and Instagraming.

The leading edge of my generation, those who timed it just right, like me, is getting long in the tooth, and the odds are that we will go to our cremation urns relatively unscathed.

What incredible good fortune, good karma. We are blessed.

23 thoughts on “The luckiest generation”

  1. Felipe, I hate to break it to you, but you are not part of the boomer generation. The baby boom began in 1946 and ended around 1964 and was called that because of the boom in births after the GIs came home from the war. I believe you were born during WWII, no? If so, you are part of the Silent Generation. There were fewer children born during this period, because of the Great Depression and the war, and so your cohort is quite a bit smaller than that of Baby Boomers.

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    1. Bonnie: Okay, Ms. Literal. Truth is that I initially had a P.S. on the post pointing out that I was not quite a Boomer, that I was born about 18 months too early. I erased it because it looked like clutter to me.

      I played a little loose with facts because the slim cohort of which I speak more than anything are those of us born right around 1945, those whose lives felt nothing of the war but who began right then, extending till now. We were the truly lucky ones.

      If you were born in 1964, the end of the Boomers, making you about 50 now, not 70 like me, you still have a good chance of getting nailed by the swiftly imploding American culture and the global nastiness that will certainly follow. It is already upon us, though not as bad as it’s going to get. Trust me.

      So, Silent Generation? No way, José.

      By the way, I clearly recall that the definition of Baby Boomers changed somewhere along the line. It initially referred to babies born during the war, not after. This was based on the fact that the childbirth rate increased significantly during the war, as it does in most wars because people have a tendency to get naked and jump into bed more often when they think they may not see the next week alive.

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  2. We are lucky indeed. I have often thought about how fortunate I was to grow up in the ’50s as opposed to today’s world.

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  3. Americans born in 1944 and early 1945 are technically war babies. We are indeed very fortunate. We even got a small head start on the boomers. We are even luckier to be living in Mexico with the current exchange rate.

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    1. Andrés: Let’s call ourselves Cusp Kids, neither Silent nor Booming.

      When I arrived in my mountaintop Mexican town in 2000, there were not nearly the number of Old Gringos, retirees, here that we now have. Those who came after me are Boomers, but I got here first. So there.

      As for that exchange rate, let us pray it lasts for a good while more. It was about the same for a brief spell some years ago, but this time it appears to have some legs.

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  4. I remember being told there would be nothing left of our Canadian pension plan for retirement. Low and behold there is, lucky us. So we begin this winter with 3 months away.

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  5. So true. I was born in 1954 so while I am a baby boomer, you do have a few years on me. The 1950s through about the mid 1960s seems like the greatest time to me. There was still some innocence back then along with respect for authority, one another and just life itself.

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    1. Connie: I cannot imagine that you remember much of the 1950s. I suspect what you know of that decade comes mostly from reading. I recall it easily and fondly, which surprises me because my father was well into the booze during that time. Probably what minimized that for me was that he worked nights, slept mornings, and went back to work in the late afternoon. I rarely saw him except on weekends, which was good.

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  6. I was very young in the fifties, but the music of the fifties was big throughout the sixties and I remember the music very well. My father’s side of the family was Italian and when we had family get-togethers the record player was blaring and the house was shaking! Now those were some good times!

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  7. We share a lot of commonalities. I have never gone to bed hungry, except for one year that I was on a miserable diet plan.

    We were lucky. We had fathers who worked and mothers who stayed home and took care of us. They didn’t depend upon welfare, food stamps and other people to raise us.

    We were not constantly reminded that the poverty of others was our fault. If people failed, it was their fault. People behaved themselves, and if they didn’t, they went away for a real long time. Kids could play outside without fear. Yes, we were very lucky. I just hope it holds out.

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    1. Señor Gill: I think it will hold out long enough for us, which is one of the post’s themes. I’m assuming you’re about my vintage.

      As for kids playing outside without fear, from things I’ve been reading of late, what kids have to fear most in the U.S. these days (outside of urban ghettos, of course) is the cops who pick them up for being outside unsupervised by hovering parents. The cops then turn them over to Child Services, charge the parents with neglect, and it just does downhill from there. Big Brother.

      Kids can still play outside unsupervised here in Mexico. And they do.

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  8. I am in the first year of the Boomers, and Anita is in the last. They extended the 1960 end to 1964. No reason why they could not move the starting block to 1944. You count, amigo.

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  9. At least we knew who our fathers were. My kids went to school with a bunch of kids who had no idea who their fathers were or where they were.

    Women didn’t need a man; they had ADC.

    My kids went to law school, but their friends went to prison or worse.

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    1. Señor Gill: As the famous saying goes: A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

      I hope your kids are doing something useful with those law degrees.

      A friend told me today that watching the demise of the U.S.A. is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. He is correct.

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  10. We are lucky indeed. Gratefulness should be big on our minds. Our children not so much, and our grandchildren no way. It’s become a generation of wanting more and more, and most of the time the “more” is really nothing.

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  11. Things to worry about: October 20th, the IMF will meet to establish new currency exchange procedures. If the dollar loses its position as the world’s reserve currency, all those dollars held abroad will eventually come home.

    I foresee inflation that won’t quit.

    When the silver backing of the U.S. currency was removed in 1965, they needed something to give it value. They convinced the Arabs to price oil in dollars. Thus was born the petrodollar.
    I suggest investing in the local economy so that you will have income in the local currency. Mexico is a nice place to live, but it is no place to be poor.

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