Menu

A boomer’s filter-less thoughts about Diet Coke, Johnny Carson and some‘eye prunes’

  • Written by Ray Hanania

Hanania-GrapevineHanania-GrapevineI was reading the lament of another journalist who insisted that although life is easier and healthier in our generation compared to our parents, 60 is not the new 40.
Maybe. But the truth is that I am 62 and I may look 62. But I don’t feel 62. When I think of my father, who died at the age of 69 of emphysema – he smoked two packs of Camel filter-less cigarettes a day for 60 of those 69 years – I don’t recall him being as energetic as I feel today.
But my dad, George, was one tough Palestinian American. We both served in the military and we both love this country, too.
I go to the health club almost every morning around 6 a.m. and workout on the treadmill walking and running three miles and then doing some weight exercises for the arms.
I clear my brain by never missing a chance to admire the hot looking women. It was easier to enjoy the “eye candy” when I was at LifeTime Fitness. But LifeTime Fitness didn’t treat me so well, so I left and signed up with Palos Fitness. LifeTime is for a younger set. The medium age at Palos Fitness is much higher, more my generation. So instead of enjoying “eye candy” views, I spend a lot of time avoiding a lot of “eye prunes.”
I spend a lot of time on my computer, not just writing but reading. Maybe I’ve gotten lazy, because I listen to a lot of audio books in my car going to and from work.
I prefer non-fiction. One of my favorites is about other baby boomers, like “Life” by Rolling Stones drug king, Keith Richards. Now, I’m listening to “Blood Cold,” the story of Robert Blake’s crazy life with Bonnie Lee Bakely, who he was accused of murdering. He was acquitted, but convicted in a civil case (a la O.J. Simpson).
Knowing what I know about Bakely, I probably would have killed her, too.
The other day, I actually sat down on the couch and watched, from start to finish, the last movie that Humphrey Bogart made before his death, “The Harder They Fall.” The story of a longtime newspaper columnist who lost his job when his newspaper folded, and he had to take a job working for a racketeer (Rod Steiger) who rigged, with Bogart’s help, professional boxing matches.
What a great movie.
 I don’t recall my dad ever waxing longingly about any movies he watched. And, I don’t remember my dad reading any books, although he was a pretty smart dude who worked hard.
I can’t wait until the new Jurassic Park movie comes out, or the new Star Wars film. I’ll be front row for both. Of course, I do go to see practically every new movie that is made. My dad loved Jack Paar, Mitch Miller and Ed Sullivan. 
Truth be told, I miss Johnny Carson. He had class that today’s talk show hosts just lack.
Is 60 the new 40? Will we baby boomers live forever like we think, or hope?
I know one thing. I pay more attention to the foods I eat, although for a long time I was addicted – and I mean addicted – to Diet Coke. It was a 40-year love affair and 10 cans of Diet Coke a day, which I only gave up recently when a news report claimed the dietary ingredient was the cause of my growing gut.
Is Diet Coke my generation’s cigarettes? Or do baby boomers just love to make excuses?
 
Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and media consultant. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .