Second Wind

Rocky High

My Pilot

Shortage

ESSAY

FICTION

TRAVEL

ARTS

GALLERY

 

ESSAY

 

 

 

What Shortage?

 

Haven’t they run out of baby boomers in the workplace yet? I keep reading articles about how thousands of boomers are leaving their jobs and there will be severe shortages of knowledgeable workers to carry on the business of business when those folks retire.

 

Only I’m not seeing it. Looks like plenty of gray hairs (eminence grisers as I like to call them) are still on the job, still standing in the way of GenXers and Millennials waiting to take their jobs. With the promise of 10,000 retirees per day, I thought we were going to see a dramatic denigration in the quality of worker output. Is it possible that worker output already sucks because everyone is shopping online for half the workday?

 

Admit it. If you’re a boomer, there’s a part of your psyche that wants to see the entire economy come screeching to a halt as the boomers take their leave. They need us, they really, really need us. Or maybe they don’t. Maybe we’ve done such a great job training our replacements that the transition to the next generation will proceed in a calm and orderly way.

 

One fly in the ointment. There are not enough replacements. Boomers are such a big cohort that only the milennials can match us for sheer numbers. Unless you think we can throw a twenty year-old into the breech to replace the sixty-five year-old worker, we’re all kind of screwed. And that means you too boomers. What kind of service do you think we’re going to get down at the doctor’s office, the motor vehicle department or the social security office if these places are all run by kids that just got out of college?

 

Stop shaking, it’s going to be okay. Everything will be computerized. We will just complete the forms on the website and then robots will process our request. If the robot screws up, you just complete the form again until the robot gets it right. Sure, it could take three or four tries before you get what you need, but we’ll have time. We’ll be retired and there won’t be any rush to get anything done or go anywhere.

 

Feel better? I know I do.

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.

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

FICTION

 

 

 

Second Wind

 

Twisting her wedding ring in both directions as if searching for a favorite station, Ellen stared through the windshield at what had once been her front yard, and listened to John Lennon sing “Starting Over” via the info-tainment system. Startled by an alarm, she reached to the center console and activated the speaker phone, chuckling to herself when she heard Amanda’s voice.

 

“Hi, Mom. It’s me . . . please pick up if you’re there. Sure would like to talk to you . . . I’m certain you are having second thoughts about living somewhere different after twenty-six years in the same house, but I mean if not now, when, am I right?

 

“So listen, Mom, are you there? I think I told you we’d meet at Towne House around 12:30, but something’s come up at the office so if I’m five minutes late, go on inside and I’ll find you in the dining room, or wait in the lobby if you’d rather, maybe you could test out the piano, at least try it and see if it needs any tuning or whatever. I love the idea of you entertaining the whole place, I mean, if you ever wanted to, you could, right?

 

“Anyway, I’ll still shoot for 12:30, but if you get hungry just start without us, Charlie’s picking me up and we should arrive by 12:45 at the latest. Hello, are you there, Mom, because, I mean, if you’re tuning me out, we need to talk, okay? Gotta run. Love you. Bye.”

 

Ellen waited for a dial tone and then said softly to herself, “That’s fine, Dear. I’ll see you a little later,” and as she pulled away from the curb without looking back, “Alright world, ready or not, here I come.” Driving north through familiar Albuquerque neighborhoods she continued her monologue, addressing the ghost of her late husband whose image had appeared in the rear view mirror.

 

“Oh, there you are. Try not to take any of this personally, Fred, but you gotta understand, there is no more Mrs. Roy Fredrick Rogers, it’s just me, Ellen Rogers and what’s left of my so-called life- born to privilege, married for love, widowed at sixty-five, about to move into a Life Plan Community for better or worse, and Freddie Dearest, it certainly does appear that you were right: there is no such thing as too thin or too rich.”

 

Harpeth Rivers is a New Mexico transplant from all over who has in the last year written songs about isosceles triangles, played bass guitar in a band, and declared himself "Retro-eclectic." His novel-in-progress is entitled Last Year.

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL

 

 

He's My Pilot

 

When you drive anywhere in LA you have to be blind to not notice that ironies abound. For writers and observers the mining is rich. One must be attentive or risk being t-boned or otherwise slammed by distracted drivers. It takes constant vigil but the upside is that with all of that noticing, there is a lot to take in.

 

Seven boys, who have grown from grade school to middle school age in the last three years, cross a major road each day at the same time I pass through the intersection. I have wondered what they talk about as they carry huge backpacks, mitts, the occasional lacrosse stick or even a bat. They push the cross-button and wait to for the green light. I have never, even once, seen goofing in the crosswalk or anyone jumping out. It seems like an unlikely confluence except that the neighborhoods they come from are all about families who seem to be (blessedly) teaching their children well. Seeing them, all slender seven of them, walking in a polite and organized group, smiles wide, uplifts me. I wish happy lives for them and hope that they will always remember being young and healthy and free to walk to the school bus stop each day.

 

Today I saw the boys and then realized, too late, that a blue SUV aggressively cut me off as I was making the turn. I ended up behind a car that had just been following me as it jerked back into the line, unable to move further, due to the single lane. While vanity plates are common, the one I was now following made me take a second look. The plate spelled GODZGIRL and the frame said, “He’s My Pilot.” What the……?

 

I got my answer at the next light, a half a mile down the road. The SUV pulled over to the right, at a “no turn on red” sign. “Ha!” I thought, “Karmic. Where’s your pilot now?” I looked over, planning on giving the driver the stink-eye, and saw a severe older looking nun at the wheel. No stink-eye from me, just a wry smile.

 

Kim Kohler writes on the uncertainties of living in a liberal hot spot where everybody has an opinion, every opinion counts and nobody uses turn signals.

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

ARTS

 

 

Rocky High

 

I’ll never forget the day I heard Rocky Mountain High for the first time. It was in the Fall of 1972 and I and my toddler son, Joel, were on our way north to Elk Creek, a tiny town in the foothills of the Northern Coastal mountain range about 100 miles north of Sacramento. I’d heard John Denver before, of course. He’d already had a hit with Take Me Home County Roads, and I even had the album, but I hadn’t been really wowed by him. I was a singer-songwriter performing my music, as well as the music of the new folk artists Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot, and etc, and John’s work fit well into my repertoire.

 

When Rocky Mountain High came over the car radio, I pulled onto the shoulder and turned it up. I’d never heard anything like it before. Not since the Beatles had a song moved me like this. What was it? His vocals were outstanding, of course, but his voice really wasn’t any different than in earlier recordings. The musicianship of the musicians? Maybe. The song itself? Definitely. It spoke to me about the feelings going on in me, why I’d gone out on the road myself to Big Sur, where I’d camped in the canyons and on the rocky beaches, surrounded by its magnificent, unruly nature. I’d showered in a waterfall and I’d washed my jeans in Kirk Creek as it rushed through the verdant forest into the ocean. I’d spent days and nights beneath the redwood trees writing songs on my guitar. Rocky Mountain High just happened to be in the key of the life that I’d been living.

 

The wholesome, all-American appeal John Denver represented to the adults who’d been scared shitless by the more radical denizens of the Boomer generation helped to bring us together us a little. He was a touchstone, a bridge between us. After all of the riots and demonstrations, and then the Manson Family murders, the older generation was understandably terrified by the children it had produced. John Denver gave them hope. His big smile, his twinkling eyes, and his “Aw, shucks,” positivity helped them to see that not all of us were drug crazed, enraged militants. I have to admit that he gave me hope as well. I was tired of the anger and the angst, of everything—every damned thing—being so deathly serious. Tired of not being able to smile or laugh or joke without being called down by people who accused me of not taking things seriously enough. Sitting there on the side of the road listening to this song, tears spilled down my face. I didn’t know exactly why at the time, but looking back, it’s very clear: relief. At least for a little while, before the plastic, mindless bump-bump-bump of Disco and the inanity of vapid pop ballads, there was a short spell when songs were about the beauty of life and the world around us, a little apostrophe in time when we were allowed to take a non-gasping breath, and exhale.


Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge,  takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Bucksnort Chronicles and SKWaller.com.

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

10 - 10<>

Robin Jeffries is semi retired over 50 guy from Queensland, Australia who loves cruising, diving, travel beautiful scenery, serenity, adventure, using his imagination & following his dreams. View more of his photos on flickr or at his website, Cruising the Edge.

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon    Viva Veracruz The Bucksnort Chronicles