It’s a Miracle I Survived The Baby Boom
Unlike most women my age, I’m
insane enough…not afraid to admit my real age. In public. To strangers. Why? Because, unlike most women my age, I look better at 54 than I looked at 34. Why?
- I gained weight when I was pregnant and never lost that baby weight until my son moved away to college. It took me 9 months to put the pounds on and 19 years to take them off. Mothers need to test food before giving it to their precious offspring, show them how to nourish themselves by eating constantly, and demonstrate cleanliness by licking their plates. (Hint: It’s in all the parenting books. Look it up.)
- I was busy working on my career, not my rear. (Hint: Fathers like to get in on this action, too. My husband put on a significant amount of baby weight and still carries it).
- The fashion industry, for the first time since the Renaissance, embraced plus-sized garments that weren’t hideous (Hint: Photos of me from those times tell a vastly different story).
- My husband lost interest in sex, but we still enjoyed good meals together. “Oh, yes. Give it to me, Baby. Um. Right there. Yes. Oh, yes. I love your mashed potatoes.” (Hint: “Mashed potatoes is not a code word for anything sexual. He made really delicious mashed potatoes.)
- I believed that I was “big-boned” and needed big flesh to cover the big bones–something about the survival-of-the-fittest I saw on a PBS program. (Hint: If you see something on PBS, it’s true.)
But my fleshy years are not the point of this post. I’m a Baby Boomer and I’m still alive. This is something a miracle given the following facts about life when we Baby Boomers were growing up:
- Playground equipment was anchored in cement.
- If cars had seat belts, they were for strangling your siblings on painfully long trips. Car rides were all about climbing over the seats and sitting anywhere but the seats.
- Drunk driving was popular.
- Bicycles were one-speed and made from iron. Even the tires. Going up-hill was a chore, but you could gin-up a great head of steam on the down-hills. Bicycles helmets weren’t required. They weren’t even invented. If you were lucky and headed for crash, you knew how to tuck and roll or aim for something with a little give than your bones.
- Medical science wasn’t too advanced, but mothers were. It didn’t matter what your ailment was–a headache, a sprained ankle, pneumonia–the remedy was always the same: “Go outside and get some fresh air. It will do you a world of good.”
- Children weren’t just sent outside to play unsupervised; we were supposed to play outside unsupervised. Apparently criminals didn’t see the value in kidnapping children back then and parents saw a lot of value in getting their children away from them for some peace and quiet.
- I’m pretty sure people knew about germs, but no one really feared them, especially when compared to the A-Bomb. A bar of soup at the sink in a public restroom, used by everyone who cared to use it, always rested in its slimy holder. We flushed our own toilets and turned the knobs on the faucets to rinse. A cloth on a roll that sometimes advanced to a dry area, but sometimes didn’t, was there to wipe as many hands that needed drying. Sometimes a good swipe on your pant legs after wiping and flushing was enough.
By 2012 standards, you’d think all of us Baby Boomers would’ve died from head trauma, any number of communicable diseases, or just plain disgustination. But here we are, 105 million of us (34% of the population) according to the best guess of the US Census. I’m not saying
all... most…some of us are Mensa material after the near-death experiences most of us likely had in our formative years due to lack of safety precautions, but we’re alive and anxious to use our bounced-up, germ-addled brains in every election (whether were voting or running for office.
I started thinking about this because I was recently in a public restroom outfitted with hands-free everything. I can see only three reasons for these devises:
- Most logical: to protect me from strangers’ cooties. When the toilet, faucets and dryer/paper towel dispenser work properly, the only thing you have to touch when you go to the bathroom is yourself. Well, that didn’t sound right, but you know what I mean. You don’t have to touch anything but the door handles that every germ-ridden hand has slimed before and after you touch yourself. Again, poor choice of words…
- Most paranoid: to drive me crazy. These devises, like many people I’ve encountered in my life, treat me like I’m invisible. After I’m finished with my “business,” I do the hula, the cha-cha, and a few moves from my cheerleader days, and still the darned toilet won’t flush. Alternatively, I’ll be in the midst of my “business” and the toilet will decide that I’m done. I startle very easily. These toilets that flush at will, I believe, are cruel.
- Most likely: to collect film footage for a new “reality” TV program-remake of “Smile, You’re on Candid Camera: Public Restroom Edition.” Imagine the laughter at the gyrations, frustrations, and antics people display when waving their hands like Houdini under faucets that never turn on or bending over to look inside dryers that never blow. The toilet scenes will be the best–Dancing With the Stalls–a ready-made spin-off hit show.
I’m not advocating we go back to the “old days.” Back then, families had lots of kids. If one or two got lost along the way, there were others to fill in the gaps (by “gaps” I mean “do chores to earn their keep”). Today, parents tend to be very protective of the one or two children their paying a lot for. They have to make sure at least one will be around to drop them off at a nursing home when the time comes.
I’ve changed with the times, too. I just bought a bicycle and plan to wear a helmet when I walk the thing up-hill; fresh air, in my experience, doesn’t mend a sprained anything. But can somebody tell me the trick, if there is one, to getting those automated bathroom gizmos to notice me?