Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, June 17, 2012
      ( 6/17/2012 10:04:00 AM ) Bill S.  

“YOU’RE COVERING UP MY CAUSES.” Another birthday -- and while the last few celebrations have come and gone without much fanfare, for some reason I woke up feeling contemplative. Most Saturdays over the past year I’ve been working a twenty-four hour mobile crisis shift for a behavioral health agency. Last night I had two call-outs and perhaps it was the “there but for the grace of something bigger than me” that got me thinking of where I’ve landed at my age. If asked when I was younger, whether I saw myself at my age living and working in the rural Arizona desert, I’d have snorted derisively.

But I’ve never been the type of person to come up with grand plans for my life, to think too far ahead. This kind of personal focus has likely led me places that I’d rather not have visited, but it’s also yielded some fine surprises, too. In a week, I’ll be celebrating a 28th wedding anniversary with my lovely wife Becky, and I remain amazed that the woman has stuck with me all this time. I may be an elder, but there are also large streaks of immaturity and distractability in me, and I know there are times I’ve driven her crazy. I’m thankful that she’s still here, though.

One putative advantage of my current age is that it theoretically has given me enough time to get a perspective on our current era, though it’s not as if I have much that’s original to write about things. Like many folks my age, I bemoan what I see as a coarsening of values in our country. As a baby boomer, I grew up in a flush period in this country where certain values like a liberal education (by which I mean the ol’ “marketplace of ideas” wherein thinking and evaluating were almost as valued as rote memorization) were supported -- and bigotry was something that most educated people at least had the good manners to keep to themselves. I suspect this period of American history may have been a blip, however, a side effect of the relative prosperity that we were experiencing as the middle class came into its own. I’d like to be wrong, but watching as our nation retreats from truths that we once considered “self-evident,” I can’t help worrying.

But, hey, that’s the geezer’s prerogative, isn’t it? To be convinced we’re all going to hell in a hand basket?

So do I have any big plans for the birthday? To spend some time with the area’s tiny Unitarian Fellowship, cook a steak on the grill for me and my wife, not think about work and go out to buy the new Beach Boys CD, which I hear is their first solid release in decades. Those guys are older than me, and they still call themselves boys. Good for them!

Oh, yeah, and I’m 62.

(Photo stolen from my wife’s Facebook page.)


# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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