Die early (a modest proposal)
And frankly, the future’s looking less attractive by the moment. There are pharmaceutical sales reps and insurance executives out there who are literally drooling right now over the money to be made from us Boomers as we drift into dotage. I am not sure that I really want to be their cash cow—even if it did mean I could watch reruns of “Three’s Company” on a wall-sized 3D screen while munching on Count Chocula to my stented and pacemaker-stimulated heart’s content.
Due to the timing of my birth, I had the completely unmerited good fortune to go through college during that brief, magical time AW/BA (after Woodstock, but before AIDS) and by the same accident of timing, I missed the draft, which ended shortly before I became eligible for service.
This is just to say that I have had more than my share of fun, and given somewhat less than my share of sacrifice. So if leaving early means that my daughter’s future could be a bit less insecure, well, then it’s worthwhile.
So how will I do this? I lack the intestinal fortitude to commit seppuku, and I’m too acrophobic for jumping off bridges—but I most certainly can up my indulgence in certain high-risk behaviors. And I will (seriously, now) be sure that I have all the advance directives in place to ensure that, at the first occurrence of anything even remotely fatal, I shall allowed to go quietly—and quickly—into that good night. When the party’s over, it’s time to leave, particularly if your ride is waiting. Pete Townshend, of course, famously wrote “Hope I die before I get old,” and then forgot to do just that. Wouldn’t it be ironic if doing just that turned out to be our generation’s greatest legacy?