CSotD: Old Jokes, in the demographic sense

F Minus (AMS) offers an explanation for what’s gone wrong with the world which is both funny and, as is usually the case with funny things, thought-provoking.

On the most mundane level, it’s a case of blaming yourself for what’s gone wrong in the world and, certainly, that’s a valid point, particularly if you’ve sat around grousing instead of becoming involved in your community. That doesn’t necessarily mean registering voters and such. It could be as simple as being active with the PTA while your kids are in school.

The gag raises the question of defining “our generation,” since Madison Avenue has succeeded in promoting marketing targets including “Boomers” which aren’t a coherent group but simply a bulge in the normal birthrate.

When you blame “Boomers” for what’s wrong with the world, who do you mean? Elvis Boomers or Beatles Boomers? Very different groups with very different impacts.

In any case, I suspect people have little sense of being in charge of anything. We’re more like ants, and, while the whole colony may sometimes rally for a particular task, it’s still just a lot of individual ants going with the flow and most days that doesn’t amount to anything remarkable.

If you ever come across an ant colony in the middle of a mission and look closer, you’ll see some ants out on the fringe, wandering around randomly while the rest of the ants are busy with the task at hand.

Once the task is completed, they’ll be the ones bragging about what “we” accomplished.

Juxtaposition of Wise Sayings

Big Nate — AMS

Daddy’s Home — Creators

Monty — AMS

I reckon my anthill metaphor is a bit of a hangover from having encountered these three strips on the same day, but, then, Facebook is full of folksy wisdom, most of it misattributed to famous people who never said anything remotely like that.

And, as noted in Daddy’s Home, most of it being utter nonsense anyway.

Back before the Internet, we used to paint that kind of drivel on plaques and sell it at craft fairs. Now everybody expects to get it for free.

And, boy, do they.

Here’s something more frank and direct from Moderately Confused (AMS), and it comes right at the time when I’ve begun to quit using the cane around the house as I rehab my new hip but am still feeling like somebody more than my age.

I have found that doctors respond to intelligent comments and questions by leveling with you, and when the guy who did my hip heard that my goal was to go back to long walks in the park with the dog, he told me I could skip the physical therapy and just work towards that.

The actual exchange was that I told him I’d come to the point of the old joke, “It’s hurts when I do this,” to which the doctor replies, “Then don’t do that,” but that, if I said it to a physical therapist …

At which point he filled in the punchline, “Give me 10 more” and laughed.

Anyway, I’m hoping to be walking around like a somebody my age by the AAEC Convention next month.

My more immediate goal is to get out of the apartment more often and this Non Sequitur (AMS) tells the story.

Certainly, the news can be pretty depressing, even in the normal course of events. But tie yourself into a recliner for four or five weeks and you’ll really find out what news fatigue is.

Watching panels dissect the same three stories over and over for an entire day — each time declaring it “Breaking News!” — is sufficient motivation to get working on rehab in hopes that you can soon get up and find something, anything, else to do with your time.

I’ve gotten to the point where I prefer CNN to MSNBC not for political reasons but because CNN doesn’t have those commercials for fruit and vegetable capsules at every break.

One health benefit of this confinement comes in watching Law and Order reruns, knowing that when they have a commercial break, you’ve got four or five minutes during which you can go do some dishes or something to rehab yourself while they’re busy scamming the more permanent Daytime TV watchers.

I like the interplay between the ads telling you to buy life insurance and the ads telling you to cash in your policies, but I’m also starting to enjoy the ads where some million-dollar celebrity tells you to buy a maintenance policy for your car, knowing that, if their car wouldn’t start, they’d just throw it away and buy a new one.

I will say this in all seriousness, though: When, after a month confined to comfy recliner in a three-room apartment, I hear about people being sentenced to a few years in jail, it sounds a whole lot worse to me than it used to.

If they weren’t squirrelly when they went in, they’ll surely be squirrelly when they come out.

Arlo and Janis (AMS) appear to be serious about selling their house and moving to the seacoast to be closer to Gene and Marylou, and we see here the benefit of a roving lifestyle.

I like the concept of families living in the same home for multiple generations and all being buried in the graveyard on the hill, but you’d better plan on being buried there because you surely won’t want to have to move.

Both my mother and my ex-in-laws moved out of houses where they’d been for about 40 years, and the process was, as Arlo suggests, daunting. Do you sell it? Do you scrap it? Do you bring it along?

Whatever you do, you have to make a decision about each item, from furniture to knick-knacks.

I used to speculate whether an insurance investigator would believe me if I said I was sitting in the yard, playing my guitar and leafing through my photo albums, when I turned around and noticed that the house was on fire.

But I’m okay: I’ve lived in eight different places since college and, while acquisition was a theme in my married-with-children years, I’ve managed to shed stuff in each move since. At this point, I’m down to just three rooms full of stuff.

I like to think George would be proud of me.

16 thoughts on “CSotD: Old Jokes, in the demographic sense

  1. If facing four weeks on the recliner, I always assumed that I would watch/rewatch all the great films (Casablanca, etc.). Didn’t work out that way, huh?

    1. A few — “To Have and Have Not” and “Charade” were a double feature the other day. Finding a lot of classics haven’t aged well, but who am I to throw that stone?

  2. “Elvis Boomers or Beatles Boomers”
    Don’t forget us late Boomers. Maybe we’re Bee Gees Boomers??

    “Back before the Internet, we used to paint that kind of drivel on plaques and sell it at craft fairs. Now everybody expects to get it for free.”
    Now those plaques are sold at Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Target, etc., etc. It’s even a joke in those insurance commercials.

    Haven’t seen the fruit and veggie pill ads yet. But ads for reverse mortgages, Medicare supplements, walk-in bathtubs, pee pumps (I think), hearing aides, etc., etc. Plus now ads “FORHIM” and one where a couple are in the kitchen examining a bent carrot.

      1. Disco Dude! High School Class of ’77, College Class of ’81. And yes, I had a leisure suit. No, there are no surviving photos of me wearing it (Thank God!)

    1. There are also “Beach Blanket Boomers.” My sister is only three years older than me, but she was into Frankie and Annette and, scant years later, I was into the British Invasion. The idea that everyone born between 1946 and 1964 shares a culture is pure idiocy.

    2. I was going to say, those “inspirational” plaques are freaking everywhere. If anything it seems to have only gotten worse since the advent of the internet.

  3. RE: Carlin’s”stuff”
    Many years ago my wife actually got a brag Xmas card from someone she knew in college. It went on to explain how they had to build a bigger house so they could fit all the stuff they were buying because of the husband’s job promotion.She packed a lot in that statement.Sounds like a joke, in particular after hearing Carlin’s take, but it wasn’t. Wish we kept the card.Predictably the ladies drifted apart and we never saw future cards.

  4. It is my understanding that all those ants wandering around earn their keep when they’re attacked by another colony.

  5. When I had 2 months of at-home Covid last year and could barely get out of the La-Z-Boy, I watched about 13 seasons of the Australian police series Blue Heelers on YouTube.

  6. Commenting on F minus; I have always felt they were “the good old days that never were”. We should all be working (or relaxing or recovering) to make every day worthwhile, whether it is productive, artistic or quality entertainment. Thanks again, Mike for your insights.

  7. Listening to Saint George the Carlin, reminded me of my (and others’) definition of yardsales: where you sell some of your stuff so you can go to other yard sales later and get more stuff to replace the stuff you got rid of. hello, packrats!

  8. Mike: You can talk about Elvis or Beatles or BeeGees, but IMHO the fundamental divide between U.S. Boomers is whether you were old enough to be drafted for Vietnam. You were, I was not. That’s a whole different life experience. Mileage may vary for women, who weren’t subject to the draft, but a sister or girlfriend who had to watch a boy go off to war still faced a terror than someone five years younger didn’t.

    I think the “good old days” is how the world was before you turned 18, especially the older you get. The tinting on our glasses becomes a deeper and deeper shade of rose.

    1. Such a good point ! We had our 60th class reunion a few weeks ago and we were all born before 1946 – but we were sure in the Vietnam generation. No one has apparently named our group. Which is ok .

  9. I assume that the fruit and vegetable capsules are a scam, along with a lot of the other ads.

    Iā€™m more angered by rich celebrities trying to sell me reverse mortgages, tax refunds, or memory pills.

    Have you caught the morbidly obese woman who sings about controlling her diabetes with a pill? That is my all-time least favorite.

  10. I’m a vintage-1947 Boomer, and I would like to point out that while the Elvis/Beatles boomer dichotomy is valid, another very important one is the Hippie & Revolutionary Boomers VS the Straight Down the Middle Boomers. When people are fulminating against all the greedy and uncaring Boomers who have completely ruined the world, I cannot find myself in their descriptions of the entitles, rich, land-owning Fat Cat Boomers. I am now 76, disabled, widowed, and living on the public purse in a 475-square-foot apartment. Every single thing I did in my life has led to this, and I knew it would. I was a bohemian artist and sometime marijuana dealer, who regularly gave away all my money to “the needy”. I am perfectly happy with my choices, and my social standing. (It helps that I live in Canada.) So, the millenials and Xs and Ys and Zs and whatever, your criticism needs to be better focused. We bohos did our best to improve things, and we even succeeded a little tiny bit.

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