There are more than 65 million Americans who are baby boomers -- people born between 1946 and 1964.
This was the generation born after World War II, a war which took the lives of nearly 85 million people across the globe.
I was born right in the middle and all my baby-boomer compatriots are “coming of age” boosting the steadily rising senior citizen population estimated to be one-fifth of the American population.
We are a peculiar bunch of people, too.
Believing in our immortality.
We vote at a higher rate than any other population group.
We also have our quirks, reflected in the things we like to say.
I hear it all the time at Palos Health & Fitness Club where Baby Boomers “young and old” walk out thousands of miles on treadmills every week.
“Hey. How are you?” The answers: A – “Living the dream.” B – “I’m still alive.” C – “What did you say?”
Or, “You on Xaralto or Coumadin?”
We’re all taking one form or another of blood thinners hoping a blood clot doesn’t end our exercise routine before TV’s blond bombshell Elisabeth Hasslebeck, every senior’s idea of a “trophy wife,” finishes her mindless yapping on “Fox & Friends.”
We monitor our heart rate, and how many steps we take each day (the goal is 10,000), all for no reason. And we spend a fortune on computers, gadgets, and heart rate monitors.
We stopped enjoying meals a long time ago, cutting back on sugars, carbs, and ice creams. We think the Atkins Diet will save us, or at least help bring down our bloating guts.
We all have opinions and we talk a lot. We don’t stop talking for anything, except when those Viagra commercials come on the TV. You can hear the treadmill cycles whirring as actress Kelly King explains it’s not too late to have sex, if you would just get that prescription.
We try not to stare when a young girl walks past in yoga pants, but you can hear the treadmill speeds rising.
No one talks about Bingo.
Most men won’t be around when the age comes along when we will end up playing, and the bingo halls will be filled with widows who finally get to breathe a little now that the responsibility of pampering their baby husbands has ended.
Men just don’t live as long as women, and for good reason. Society couldn’t take a surge of old cranky men complaining about everything. Older women are just so mellow. They’ll shrug off anything, learning from years of turning away from our male egos over the years.
We love gym shoes, baggie Chicago Bears sweatpants and hats. Yes, old men still come into the gym wearing a hat.
Some things will never change. We still won’t take directions and would rather get lost than have a younger person tell us which way to go. A map is just a waste of money but the car navigation constantly saves us from ourselves.
We smoke cigars on vacation, cheat on our diets all the time, and buy our pants two sizes too small around the waist. If 60 is the new 40 in terms of age, 40 is the new 36 in terms of waistlines.
And we all want to drive a two-seater sports car, to look cool -- even if we can’t lift our fat derrieres out of the driver’s seats for the life of us.
Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and now President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media consulting. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.