The Debtors

We Will Rock You

Mrs. Goodfellow

Under All

ESSAY

FICTION

TRAVEL

ARTS

GALLERY

 

ESSAY

 

 

 

One Nation, Under All

 

Underpants, panties, unders, underwear….whatever you call them, they are about to get a makeover. Our good friends at Proctor and Gamble (a test monitor and a high risk? I don’t get it.) will soon be unleashing $150 million worth of marketing for incontinence products according
to AdAge.

 

With brand names like Envive and Discreet, P&G is going to show us that the future is now, and the future is incontinence. We can hardly wait.

 

A whole gaggle of celebrities are already pitching incontinence products --- our favorite stars (okay, I don’t know who some of them are – or care) Whoopi Goldberg, Kris Jenner, Marie Osmond, Lisa Rinna, and Kirstie Alley. This must be the baby boomer encore career that people keep talking about! It’s hard to gauge which is worse – the onset of incontinence or the idiotic celebrity ads that are designed to get us to buy the products.

 

I’m all for frank discussions of some of the ailments boomers are going to face in their later years, but I’m guessing that this onslaught of TV and social media prompts is going to get real annoying, real fast. I doubt that the fact that we are “sharing” our incontinence with the stars we/some of us have come to know and love make the realization that we need these products any less “uncomfortable.” Following the Tweets of Marie Osmond when she shares that she just peed in her pants but it’s OK --- she has on a pair of PeeStoppers --- that’s going to make us all feel better about ourselves.

 

There’s sharing and then there’s oversharing. If P&G is really going to spend $150 million for incontinence product ads and social media, then it’s a good bet there will be a lot of oversharing. How can a celebrity endorsement make us feel better that we’re losing control of a basic bodily function? Can’t. That’s the short answer. The slightly longer answer is that I don’t care who else is incontinent. I just hope it isn’t me or that it’s many years off. The ailment is embarrassing enough without having to watch famous people embarrass themselves.


 

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

 

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FICTION

 

 

The Debtors

 

Ned and Carol, where are you? The reason I ask is that we keep getting calls for you. It’s been five years since we moved here and signed up for landline phone service. They gave us a number that must have once belonged to you.

 

But you two – you little imps – you two must have run up some mighty big debts, because not a day goes by that we don’t get a call from a collection service looking for you kids.

 

“If you are Ned Street or you know how we might locate Ned Street, please call yada-yada-yada.”

 

Now, when I see the collection agency name come up on caller ID, I pick up the call for two seconds and then disconnect. They are such wearisome calls after five years of hearing the same recorded message. And if I were Ned, would I really call the number for the collection agency? I hardly think so.

 

And not just one collection service is looking for you. There are several that would be interested in knowing your whereabouts. You and Carol must have racked up some serious debt. I imagine that it all started with some profligate spending on the credit cards and perhaps some gambling. The next thing you knew, it spiraled into a second mortgage and then maybe foreclosure on the house. The banks must have come after you too, but by then you and Carol had split town. Speaking of splitting, my guess is that the stress of your indebtedness drove a wedge between you and Carol, and the marriage folded. I could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that a marriage could survive the such a tremendous fall so far down the rabbit hole. I imagine you’ve gone your separate ways and tried to disappear into the cracks somewhere new, but it must be hard to try to rebuild a decent credit history with the collectors breathing down your neck.

 

I don’t know when the calls will stop. Maybe never. You would think the statue of patience limitations would have run out after five years, but hope springs eternal in the collection biz. I guess my own hope that the calls would finally stop demonstrates that I too have unrealistic expectations. Anyway, Ned and Carol, I hope you’ve landed on your feet somehow and find a way to rebuild your lives. If you’re ever feeling nostalgic, call your old phone number and let us know how you’re doing.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

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TRAVEL

 

 

Lessons from Mrs. Goodfellow

 

When I was in college, I spent summers waitressing in a perfect, perfectly charming historic inn in Maine.

 

One of the delights was to be assigned to a table of summer "residents" -- guests who came to stay at the hotel for a month or so, who had been coming to the inn for decades.  One of these was Mrs. Goodfellow.

 

True to her name, she was a delight to be around.  Just taking her order for breakfast or dinner was a lesson in grace, old-school courtesy, and a pinch of old-girl mischief.  A spry octagenarian, she was my lifetime role model.

 

Her birthday was August 3, and somehow, I always remembered it.  The dining room in those days was low-key and tables were covered in ancient white damask, and the atmosphere was genteel and calm, with the most beautiful view of Somes Sound and Acadia National Park. Men in jacket and tie, ladies in dresses. Mrs. Goodfellow shared her table with another widow and a spinster, all from Philadelphia.  They were a jolly trio.  If you could look forward to serving breakfast (and I did) it was for those three ladies.

 

On my morning walk to work, I strolled past all the most beautiful Maine wildflowers.  So, for Mrs. Goodfellow's 83rd birthday, I picked her a bunch of lupine and Queen Anne's lace, black-eyed susans, added to a mass of of fragrant phlox and roses from our family's garden.  I arranged them artfully in a vase and set it at her place before she arrived for breakfast.

 

She exclaimed over the thoughtful gesture even more than was necessary, her luminous blue eyes shining, lighting up my day.

 

Sometimes being the giver of a gift is happier than being the on the receiving end.  That's certainly how I felt giving that simple bouquet to Mrs. Goodfellow.

 

The next week, after the flowers had faded, she returned the vase to me.  With a box of chocolates inside.  "Mother always said to repay a kindness with a kindness."

 

That was lesson #1.  A life lesson, and I have never forgotten it.

 

A few weeks later, I was about to depart Maine for France to begin my junior year abroad.  At tea time on the porch, as we sat chatting, Mrs. Goodfellow quietly slipped an envelope into my waitress pocket. Patting my arm, she said, with a twinkle in her eyes,  "Mother always said, 'When travelling abroad, take twice the funds and half the clothes that you think you'll need.'"

 

The wisest travel advice ever.

 

Thank you again, Mrs. Goodfellow.  And Happy Birthday.

 

 

Polly-Vous Francais is a Boston-born Baby Boomer who is back working in Paris (yay!) and is blogging about it at Polly-Vous Francais. © 2006-2014, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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ARTS

 

 

We Will Rock You

 

It gave people a few moments of absolutely meaningless pleasure in a troubled world—no small accomplishment. If there were more fads there would probably be a lot fewer psychiatrists.


         Ken Hakuta, inventor of the Wacky Wall Wacker.

 

It baby boomed into the firmament and then plummeted to earth with a thud heard round the world. As often happens with silly ideas, it was born in a bar. California ad exec Gary Dahl and his drinking pals were discussing pets. They’re such a responsibility, he moaned. Know what would make a perfect companion? A rock.

 

Imagination is cheap; the trick is to take a stupid in-your-face idea and market it.

 

The packaging was inspired. Dahl bought uniform round, gray Mexican stones for a penny each (the most expensive available), swaddled each in nesting material and placed it in a pet carrying case with handles and air holes. Included was a 30-page Care and Training of Your Pet Rock Manual with detailed chapters on obedience and tricks.

 

The baby boomer fad was a one-hit wonder but made its creator an overnight millionaire. Unlike the Hula-Hoop or Frisbee that drew new fans after a boomer generation, the Pet Rock had no function or shelf life – the secret to both its popularity and rapid demise.

 

Debuted at a 1975 San Francisco gift show, upper-end Neiman Marcus started the fad rolling by ordering 500. Newsweek did a half-page spread and daily newspapers ran stories, often with Dahl’s tale of how each rock was tested for obedience before selected, or other such nonsense. The inventor appeared on the Tonight Show twice – television was the ultimate boomer promotional tool.  It sold retail for $3.95, representing one of the great profit margins in history.

 

Trivia Factoids

 

Beware of imitations. The most popular and deceiving copycat is called the “Original Pet Rock.”

A 1975 Pet Rock complete in box fetches $20-$30 on eBay.

 


 

Terry Hamburg writes the Baby Boomer Daily about the exciting and revolutionary baby boomer years.

 

 

 

 

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GALLERY

 

10 - 10<>

 

Dan Laughman  is currently shooting with a Canon T2i with a wide angle zoom and a telephoto zoom and especially enjoys taking photos with his birder friends in the Hanover, PA area. See more of his photos on flickr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon Viva Veracruz  MidLifeBloggers Dating Dementia Polly-Vous Francais