By John Addyman
Did you ever have a moment when you thought about something in your past, and then the moment went straight through the present to your future? And back?
I had one of those this week.
My wife and I were watching the first episode of the new “Stranger Things” series one night. Little pieces of that show seem to attach to me—my wife drives a Ford Pinto, my son likes Dungeons & Dragons, and all my daughters possess superpowers and can talk back to me in a way that I’m unable to respond or get the last word.
In one scene, in a high school classroom, the heroine, a girl named El, gets hit with a spitball.
A spitball, from my era, was a piece of paper, part of a school tablet or a gum wrapper, that you chewed up, formed into a ball and shot out of your mouth using a straw, kind of like a blowgun.
The second the spitball hit El in the cheek, my mind spun back to high school and our beloved principal, Bill Crum.
Mr. Crum and I had a charming tête-à-tête when I was a junior in high school. I was escorted to his office by my English teacher, who also confiscated my straw.
Yes, I had used the weapon.
No, I wasn’t the only one.
Yes, my aim was sharp and true. And yes, just like the NFL, the referee saw me and not everyone else who was doing the deed.
Mr. Crum was a stern man. I cannot remember seeing him smile, although I’m sure that he did 30 seconds after dismissing me. He ushered me into his office and laid my straw on his desk. And he rolled out High School Principal Rule 13:11 on me, a lecture I’m certain he used many times.
Quoting Corinthians 13:11, he said: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things…”
And he held up the straw.
“Exhibit A,” he said.
I left his office a chastened, humbled man.
Last week I read a blog on bonvoyaged.com, which purports to provide “our community with the latest trending travel entertainment news and insight on the best destinations to visit around the world.”
OK. But the blog was about “40 Things Baby Boomers Still Think Are Cool” but really aren’t. Too much of our present is really our past, the post argues.
It’s an interesting list, starting with, “For whatever reasons, it seems that when you reach that certain age, your propensity to dress like a tourist…doubles — cargo shorts, tucked-in polo, random sun hat, and who can forget the fanny pack.”
I’ve certainly reached the age. I started to panic that maybe I’d finally really reached “The Age” where I’d become my father again. Yes, I do tend to wear my favorite clothes a long time. Like my dad did, I tend to keep sweatshirts until I can no longer put them on without ripping a new hole in the tattered fabric. And I have a pair of slippers that archaeologists would probably like to take a look at today.
But in my — our — defense, the photo with the blog showed a guy standing there looking like a tourist, but he didn’t have cargo shorts on, I see no fanny pack and he isn’t wearing a tucked-in polo shirt: he had a long-sleeved Oxford shirt on.
Whew! I felt a little better…but the guy does have a silly-looking sun hat on his head.
So here are some things bonvoyaged.com has decided are no longer cool and we boomers should all rid them from our lives:
* Knick knacks (“you’re prone to hoarding”).
* Bar soaps. We boomers are the “only ones who still use them.”
* Sweepstakes. The blog has a point there. Enter one of those and see how nagging those people can be.
* 9-5 workweeks. Most boomers aren’t working anyway.
* Blaming millennials. Duh! Why shouldn’t we blame them?
* Paper bills paid with bank checks. Your smartphone can do all that stuff. You have a smartphone, right?
* Toast. Toast? A cheap and simple breakfast staple has been replaced with burritos and blender-whipped smoothies. Get with it, boomers!
* Cop dramas. Is “Blue Bloods” a boomer fave?
* Word art on walls in the home. No comment: my wife will kill me.
* Ironing. A lost art. I spent many a Sunday afternoon in my college dorm watching football and ironing my stuff. But today there are “detergents and softeners that eliminate wrinkles” don’t you know?
* Racquetball. (“Something you see elders playing at the YMCA.”)
* Fuzzy toilet seat covers. I think the blog’s author has us mixed up with an earlier generation.
* Patterned wallpaper. Really? Do we throw kitchen backsplashes in there, too?
* Mrs. Dash. (“You can tell you’re eating a Boomer’s cooking if you can taste the Mrs. Dash.”) Yikes! We’ve got two jars of it on our spice shelf.
* Crocs. My wife just fell off her chair. (“Owning Crocs means you’re old, at least deep down.”)
* All-You-Can-Eat Buffets. (“If you’ve ever been in one, boomers make up the entire crowd.”) I have the same feeling about a salad bar in a restaurant, but it’s not an age thing. At least I don’t think it’s an age thing.
There were more items, but the further I went through the list the more depressed and older I felt.
One thing they did miss was naps.
And I’m about to take one.