I live in South Florida, which recently earned the dubious distinction of being labeled one of the world’s coronavirus hot spots.
I’m also about to turn 65, which makes me a “boomer,” short for “baby boomer”: the label attached to those born between 1946 and 1964.
In addition to the label “boomer,” more recently came the expression “OK, Boomer.” As you can probably tell, it’s a term younger generations are using, and not in admiration.
“‘OK boomer’ is a catchphrase and meme that gained popularity among younger cohorts from 2019, used to dismiss or mock attitudes stereotypically attributed to the baby boomer generation.”
I don’t mind if younger generations mock me. I mocked older generations when I was their age, as I’m sure has been the custom for millennia.
So, mock away, millennials. But please have the courtesy not to kill me.
As I write this, 327,000 people in my state have tested positive for the coronavirus and nearly 5,000 are dead, with more than a hundred added daily.
Some of those cases and deaths would have occurred anyway; it is, after all, a pandemic. But the responsibility for the out-of-control spread currently devastating Florida is the direct result of many people, mostly young people, not taking the threat seriously. The instant the bars and beaches were open, they were all in.
You’ve probably seen the interviews on the news: A reporter approaches a young, shirtless guy on the beach and asks, “Aren’t you afraid of getting COVID-19?” Shirtless guy: “No, they say it doesn’t affect young people as much, so I’m not worried.”
Seriously? It’s not the idiocy of going on TV and saying you don’t care about getting sick. That’s to be expected of the young and indestructible. But you’re so shockingly selfish you don’t for a moment consider the danger of infecting the vulnerable, even members of your own family, with a deadly disease?
Although you don’t trust boomers, take this advice: If you insist on saying something stupid that will cause people to consider you as shallow as a puddle, try to refrain from doing it on TV.
I know you want to party. Believe it or not, even us boomers enjoy booze, sunshine and the close company of like-minded adults. But the unfortunate reality is that sometimes life requires you to skip a party or two. Sometimes it’s to make a living. This time it’s to keep yourself, those you love and complete strangers from getting sick and dying alone.
Am I overstating the case? If you consider just the disease, perhaps. But it’s not just health, it’s wealth. When you cause the country to close down, you’re putting people out of work. This website, profitable just a few months ago, isn’t now, thanks to the chain-reaction nature of our economy. We employ a half-dozen people full time and many more part time.
That beer you’re drinking on the beach is endangering the livelihoods of people I care about, more than a few of whom are in your cohort.
I’ll close with a quote from our nation’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, from a Facebook event Thursday. It’s directed specifically to young people.
“You have to have responsibility for yourself but also a societal responsibility that you’re getting infected is not just you in a vacuum. You’re propagating the pandemic.”
Bottom line? Us older people may seem silly and out-of-touch to some of you younger folks. But at least we’ve learned you don’t get far in life by callously disregarding the lives of others.