Ron Jackson

Ron Jackson

All baby boomers are not alike. I am part of the generation of people born from 1946 to 1964. Since I had absolutely no control of my meeting that qualification, there is no claim of pride. However, I am honored to be a part of that demographic. And I do take notice anytime I read the term old fart.

While there may be many characteristics boomers have in common, we all do not think, act or dress alike. A recent nonscientific poll suggesting that all boomers believe 40 things are still cool caught my attention. For starters, I don’t know too many fellow boomers who think that many things are cool. We may still find some things preferable, convenient, habitual, practical or necessary, but not cool. People are cool. Things not so much.

Just to name a few, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Lucille Ball, Audie Murphy, Jesse Owens and Roberto Clemente will always be cool. But none of the 40 things on this “all cool” list would be considered cool.

Indoor malls, China plates, 24-hour news networks, patterned wallpaper, shag carpets, fuzzy toilet seats, bar soap, linoleum flooring, rudeness to retail workers, were never cool. Depending on the geographical region, indoor malls may still be preferable especially during inclement weather. Malls make excellent cooling and warming centers. We grew up with patterned wallpaper, linoleum, and shag carpet or it may have been standard in our first adult residences, but they were never cool.

Cursive writing, unpaid internships, writing checks, landlines, encyclopedias, phone books, vinyl audio records, non-skinny jeans, ironing, meatloaf, cop dramas, gender-specific designations, were staples of our generation. While many boomers may be reluctant to part with the nostalgia, these aren’t cool, either.

Landlines may still serve a purpose. They provide a service that cell phones can’t. Landlines have a busy signal that does not reveal to the caller that their call may be ignored. Cursive, while no longer necessary, it merely separates us and gives up a sense of superiority over later generations. Meatloaf, writing checks, cop dramas, traditional cut jeans, gender designations are not considered cool, but we may hold onto them because we still find much value and/or pleasure.

Too many throw pillows, Avon, Mrs. Dash seasoning, high-waisted jeans, home shopping channels, were all period pieces and possibly thrown in the list for the sake of friendly argument. All boomers never thought these were cool even when they were in style.

Crocs may have made a resurgence with today’s generation, but were they ever a part of a boomer’s must-haves? Patterned vests? Nothing wrong with a fashion piece to accentuate a distinguished man’s look. Cool, no. Comparably, denim just works. It’s practical, functional and never goes out of style. You can respectfully wear it almost anywhere.

Other items considered no longer cool to any post-boomer generation are visors and transitional lenses. Again, practical uses for many. They were never meant to be cool. Fossil fuels were listed as cool items. There are many other means we are dirtying up the environment. Why point out something we grew up with and still works just fine and nothing better or more economical has been found?

There were a few things on the list that could be considered cool. Rejecting the overly political correctness era and finding value in unpaid internships. Boomers were produced band followed the greatest generation. Speaking one’s mind is a part of our DNA. Decisive, blunt speech is not necessarily meant to offend and need not always be considered rude. And every effort need not be rewarded monetarily, especially if a long-term skill can be derived from an opportunity. This “teach, train and pay me” attitude of today’s generation is what is not cool.

Again, the list was to raise the blood pressure of boomers. It did for a second. Hopefully, in the future, the pollsters may include some things that are actually still cool to boomers. Like the ability to drive a vehicle with an automatic transition. If you can eat a hamburger, smoke a cigarette, put on makeup or read a newspaper and shift gears while parallel parking, now that’s cool.

Ron Jackson can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com