I was born almost dead center of the Baby Boom. Between 1946 and 1964 there were over 17 million births in the US, and I have watched our generation move through the culture like a seismic ripple or the lump of an explorer passing through the digestive tract of an anaconda: the fads that have come and gone have risen and fallen on the shoulders of 17 million people.
In 1959, when I was born, the average baby boomer was five years old; that same year saw the introduction of the Barbie Doll and the Hula Hoop. Mad Magazine had been introduced seven years before. Three years before that a New Yorker mention launched Silly Putty into instant popularity. I was five years old when the G.I. Joe doll was introduced.
In 1969, I was only ten, but the average baby boomer was already a teenager. It was the Summer of Love. There was the Woodstock Concert, and the Beatles gave their farewell performance. A man walked on the moon. A quarter of a million people marched on Washington protesting the war in Vietnam.
Are you seeing a trend yet?
In 1979, just when I was ready for full-fledged hippie-hood, the culture was shifting. The median baby boomer was entering his mid-twenties and the sharp edge of protest and social conscience blunted and gave way to a desire for good times. Whereas 1966 gave us "The Sound of Silence," 1976 gave us 'Disco Inferno." And the waterbed.
In the '80's as baby boomers reached middle age, we entered the "decade of greed." Rock'n'Roll was supplanted by Puts'n'Calls.
I won't detail any more decades, and before you fuss at me, yes, I know I'm over-simplifying here. I wrote all that to write this: the other night I got a glimpse of the coming seismic shift in the culture as a generation 17 million strong enters its next phase: Nancy started reading me some trendy new obituaries.
There we go.