Should auld acquaintance

Art Buchwald

January 18, 1993|By Art Buchwald

MY generation has been respectfully asked to step aside for the new breed of "baby boomers" who insist that they are ready to rule the world.

I didn't realize how serious they were about taking over until two boomers in their 40s came into my office and started to pack my papers in boxes.

"Sorry, Dad," one of them said, "it's time to go."

"Who says so?" I responded angrily as I held on to my wire in-basket.

The other man told me, "Time magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, and respected pundits too numerous to mention. We boomers are the new leaders of the country headed, of course, by Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Would you like to jump out the window or would you prefer to be pushed?"

"How can baby boomers run the country when they never learned to make their beds?"

"You never taught us how to make our beds. When you came out of World War II you vowed that your children would never have to do anything to inconvenience them or cause them pain. You are the ones who told us that keeping a clean room was irrelevant to a healthy mind and a strong economy."

I was getting madder. "Maybe we said that but how come so many of the boomers never learned to read or write?"

"Because we had television to watch and music to listen to and you kept buying us automobiles to tool around in. We couldn't do it all."

"I don't care if you are in your 40s. I still don't think that you're ready to run the world."

One of the baby boomers said, "You don't know what you're talking about. Baby boomers are now running IBM, General Motors, Westinghouse and some of the great S&Ls in the country. We made Drexel Burnham what it is today. Our footprints are everywhere -- even on the airline industry. Give a baby boomer a degree from Harvard or Wharton and he'll put anyone in your age bracket to shame."

"Why can't I stay on as an adviser to the boomers and be a sort of grand old man of the printed word? You could seek my learned counsel when you screwed up, which you're certainly going to do."

"Sorry, Pop, but even a Playboy editorial said that it's time for you to go.

"If we make an exception for one old-timer, we'll have to make it for all, and boomers can't afford to be sentimental."

"Why not?"

"Because your generation taught your children that winning was everything, and never to give anyone an even break."

"We did?"

"Every man and woman for him or herself. That's what you drilled into our heads."

"We only did it to protect you. Baby boomers always seemed so vulnerable."

"Right. Now do you want to get in the wheelchair or should we carry you out?"

"I can still walk," I said bitterly. "I just pray that you people know what you're doing when you take over."

"We'll handle it very well, Pop. Our generation has never known failure. Boomers are a special breed because they had everything given to them on a platter. You'll be proud of us in a few years."

"Isn't Clinton going to keep on a few old wise men to help him get through his term?"

"He might, but only when he gets in real trouble and has to appoint a blue ribbon panel of elder statesmen to bail him out."

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