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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Diversions: M-m-m-my "Generation"

When I am angst-ridden about things I should be doing something about, my mind naturally wanders toward trivia - things I can do nothing about.

Lately, this thinking involves the idea of "Generation." As so often, an argument with Greg triggered the course. He said something about the damage "your generation" did. Whereas the so-called "Greatest Generation" (that of my father) had conquered The Great Depression and Fascism, my generation, the "Me Generation," blew it, frittered away the prosperity, bungled The American Century, and left my son's generation with debts, lowered expectations, downward mobility, and ambiguous ideals.

This, naturally, fed neatly into my guilt feelings. And, given my defensive mentality, I began to construct arguments, a bit late to respond to Greg, whose articulate attack left me stunned and bruised, with lame responses. Like this one:

My generation did the best it could do. We started rebellious movements: the War, Racial and gender equality. We produced Dylan, Lennon, Janis, Spielberg, Scorcese, Clinton.

There is one more thing. I am not a "Boomer." I was a "War Baby," preceding the locust swarm of post-WWII births by a couple of years. And my brother was born 8 years before me, in the midst of the depression. So he is part of my "generation" but we had different sensibilities and experiences.

It struck me that the In-Betweeners like me stand somewhat apart from the crowd of my generation. I remember watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan's show in 1964 and feeling a bit above it all. I was 21, and my teen frenzy was already wrapped in "oldies." The outrage of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis had passed; Elvis was lost.

I viewed the events of 1968 - the most crucial year of my generation - while studying for the Bar Exam, exploring draft avoidance, politely polling for McCarthy, getting pleasantly high, searching for satisfaction and Truth in The Law. In '72, I polled for McGovern, and by the next year, the Watergate year, I was indeed turned inward, finding Bijou and preparing to escape into "Us" if not "Me."

Then again, what is your "generation" about? Are you an "X" or a "Y" or something in between? Are you really going to "heal the world" or hide from it. Do you have a "Generation?"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

You got troubles?

I received this recent report regarding one of my long time clients:
"This 49 year old woman has been diagnosed with mild mental retardation, epilepsy, a long standing history of drug abuse and suicidal tendencies, history of anemia, organic brain dysfunction, migraine headaches, leg cramping pain, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, bronchitis, osteo-arthritis causing pain in the lower back, hemorrhoids, Dementia, Hepatitis B, fibrocystic breast disease, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She also has decaying teeth and difficulty walking."