I am the last Baby Boomer a.k.a “things I learned while blogging”

In looking back at the posts I have written over the past 2 years, the first thing that comes to mind is that I can’t believe it’s been 2 years.  When I look at the titles and subjects I see a lot of anger.  There have been a lot of people I’ve been mad at over the past 2 years.  I think that finally I’m at a place where either I’ve matured enough not to get angry, or I’m too tired to get angry.  I”m not sure which, yet.

All through the 2008 Presidential campaign I had a lot to say — mostly about right wing republicans with their head up their collective asses.  But I also wrote about family, pop culture, entertainment, baseball and just plain human interest stories.

The second thing I think about is how different my life is today from what it was when I started this blog.  I had just been fired from my job, and didn’t know why.  Finding a new job seemed impossible.  I’m not a writer by trade, as you can tell, but I do have other marketable skills; at least I thought I did.  After 18 long, no, very long months of confidence-crushing job searching with nothing to show for it, I had a lot of time to build up my anger and needed an outlet.  So I took to blogging.  I had way too much time on my hands.

I had no idea what I was doing when I started blogging, still don’t.  I receive a lot of hateful comments from people who troll the internet looking for someone to hate.  I call these people “republicans”.  I receive a lot of  “hate” comments from people who  so afraid of liberal ideas, that they would do, and say, anything based in that fear, in order to squash progessivec ideas.  And I received a lot of “support posts” from people who seek  out opinions of others with whom they can agree.

I don’t believe for one minute that my writing, or anybody else’s writing,  can actually change a readers opinion.  Let’s face it.  It takes years for us, as human beings, to change; change out minds, change our tune, change our outlook, change our opinion, change our politics, etc.  Even if we want to change it doesn’t happen overnight.  So for those of us who don’t even want to change, or don’t think we need to change, reading blog opinion pieces will only inspire the co-conspirators, or anger the detractors.  There’s just not a lot of “re-thinking” going on.

I’ve done my share of reading both mainstream blogs, and personal blogs like mine.  I don’t find there to be much difference between the two.  It’s all just personal opinion, some with agendas, some with butterflies & unicorns.  None if it really matters.

Here are just a few of the things I learned in the last two years.  Some of it I learned about myself, some of it about others:

I hate people who say “at the end of the day”.  It is the most overused, and least meaningful expression in generations.  It is verbal filler, not unlike most of what today’s talkers have to say.  Whether it be a blog or a cable news pundit, it’s all just verbal filler.  What are all these political talk shows but blogs on TV.  It’s white noise that in a week, or a few days, you won’t remember.  And that’s the real problem.  None of it is memorable.

People who don’t like what you have to say will call you every name in the book.  They will write a degrading comment on your blog telling me to stop degrading people.  I don’t get it.  And they don’t understand “hypocrisy”.

I like watching Baseball and Tennis.  Mostly because the guys are so damned cute.  But still.  I understand these sports and enjoy watching them.  Someone in my family recently made a comment when I said “I was running late because I was watching the Red Sox game”.  This person said “y0u watch sports?”   Why is that such a surprise?

People I can’t stand:  Rush Limbaugh, Monica Crowley, Sean Hannity, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and anybody even remotely like them, and anyone who listens to them.  I was going to add Bill O’Reilly but he’s just an idiot pinhead and I feel sorry for him.  Oh and I was going to add Ann Coulter but she’s just a phony who’s playing a part to get a rise out of people.  She doesn’t even anger me anymore because she’s nothing more than a caricature of herself.

“The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a half Men” are really funny shows.  And if you throw in Craig Ferguson, you have list of the only funny shows on TV.

I watch Desperate Housewives only because it is the first show I ever saw in High Definition so I have some weird sense of loyalty.  It’s a dumb show.

I still watch General Hospital because when I was about 12 years old, I would come home from school and my sister would be watching General Hospital.  And so I would sit and watch it  with her.  We’ve laughed about it over the years.  I have never told her this.  Sitting there with her on the couch watching General Hospital is the first memory I have of feeling like I was part of a family; she noticed I existed.  Actually that’s not the only time.  There was one other.  It was Christmas, circa 1974.  Since nobody in my large family ever took the time to get to know me, I never got anything I really wanted for Christmas.  But my oldest brother had turned 16 and got his first job.  He personally bought me a Christmas present.  Yes, ME.  I wasn’t the only one.  I think he bought both of his “little brothers” a present.  I don’t recall if he bought anybody else a present, but I remember he got me one.  And I don’t remember what it was; it didn’t really matter.  It was the first present I ever got for Christmas that wasn’t from Santa or Mom & Dad.  I didn’t think he knew I existed until that moment.  Both of these memories are so strong and clear in my mind.  And what they have in common is that they satisfied this longing I had to feel part of this group of people I lived with.  Up until then I didn’t feel a part of this group.  My cousin taught me how to tie my shoes, not one of the 10 people in the house I grew up in.  She realized nobody had the patience to show me or that nobody noticed me long enough to realize nobody taught me.  I remember that day very well.  I was so proud I had finally learned to tie my shoes, but nobody, except my cousin, cared.  I was 4.

Sometimes telling a friend the truth, even a best friend, isn’t worth it.  Whether you’re telling them they drink too much and it’s affecting your friendship, or that their current romantic relationship is a dysfunctional, co-dependent nightmare that you are sick of hearing about, these things are better left unsaid.  It’s better to move on and find new friends than try to change the unchangeable.  The only other option is to just keep your mouth shut and accept it.

There is something wrong with the generation behind me.  They’re dumb, unmotivated, can’t count change, have no work ethic, and don’t know what it’s like to really struggle.  I know kids younger than that; maybe from 10 years old to 20 years old, who have more sense and compassion than people 20 to 40 years old.  What happened to that generation.  Where did it all go wrong.  I don’t know if they are called Gen X, or Y, or Z, but they all have everything they could possibly want or need, and never worked a day in their life to get it.  And the rest of us have to pay the price for them being spoiled brats.  Yes, I know I’m generalizing but honestly, am I wrong?  Don’t you walk around the world, just like I do and think “something is just not right with these people”.

Maine is a pretty poor State.  While the average home price where I live is $230,000, the median income is $41,000.  I make less than that. If I stay here I will live poor and die poor.  And I can’t afford to move.

High Definition TV is awesome.  I marvel at it every day.  I write a blog about HDTV on another site I have.  Every day, I can’t wait to go home and marvel at it all over again.

President Obama is the first man in public office in my lifetime whom I admire.  And I don’t agree with everything he says or does.  But I do trust him and I believe in him.  It’s depressing that he’s only about 3 or 4 years older than I am.  What the hell have I done with my life.

I always say that college doesn’t matter, but in fact, it really does.  While I didn’t graduate college, and while for years I did pretty well for myself, I wonder where I would be today if I had a college education.  I probably would not be sitting here, writing this.

My true passion is cars.  I love automobiles; or rather driving machines.  I like cars that grip the road like they’re on rails but inside have the comfort of your living room.  I like high-end cars from Japan for their technology and high end cars from England for their civility.  If I could have any dream job it would be to drive cars and write reviews about them.

Cravings are real.  When I crave red meat I want a nice piece of Filet Mignon.  And if I do crave red meat it’s probably because my body is low on protein.

I’m tired of people asking me why I don’t have a boyfriend.  I find that even the people closest to me don’t really know me.  I am not at all what people think I am.  My friends, and some family I guess, think I’m just crazy and funny.  They also think I’m smart and sophisticated – sort of a snob I guess.  They think I purposely ignore them and stay out of their lives.   They don’t know that I am nothing more than a scared 8 year old boy inside, afraid to be in public and uncomfortable around his own family.  I have one memory that haunts me almost every day.  I was 13 years old and moved from the town I grew up in (where at least I had some long time friends who probably would have accepted me for who I was) to a strange new place.  I was a freshman in high school.  I walked into school that first day, one of 1200 kids.  I did not know a single soul.  I was terrified.  I had been teased on the bus that morning.  The older kids called me a faggot.  I wanted to crawl under a rock and just die.  And I couldn’t tell anybody what happened to me.  I couldn’t tell them that this scenario played out every day for years.  Because if I told them what happened then I would have to tell them my secret.  And when nobody in your family has ever said “I love you”, you don’t tell them that you are gay, being bullied, and terrified.  You don’t tell them how you walked as fast as possible from class to class, looking down at the floor praying to god nobody will notice you.  You don’t tell them that you literally, and silently, pray during the bus ride home, to a god you don’t believe in, hoping you will make it home that day.  In many ways I feel that same way today.  They know I’m gay, they don’t seem to care, but being gay isn’t who I am, it’s just part of me.  They don’t seem to know the rest of me.

When I was 17 years old I figured out how the world works and it isn’t pretty.  I was not going to graduate high school.  Not because of my grades, but because I refused to participate in gym class – talk about terrifying.  So my senior year, in order to graduate I had to take gym 6 times a week.  I had a gym teacher who was a Greek god.  For some reason he took pity on me.  I think that maybe he just understood what I was going through.  So while I still had to pass 3 years worth of gym classes, he didn’t make me do certain sports over and over again, 3 classes worth in a week.  How many times can you evaluate whether or not I understood the concept of the pommel horse.  One of the things I had to do was run the mile.  And since I was on a starvation diet at the time and would do anything to finally loose weight, I ran, and ran, and ran.  When I was 13 years old entering high school as a freshman I weighed 155 pounds – at 13 years old and maybe 5 feet tall.  I had ballooned up to 220 pounds or so by the time I was 17.  By May of my graduation year, I was 6 feet tall and weighed 155 pounds.  Same weight, 4 years later, with one foot difference in height.  And all of a sudden I had friends, and people who never spoke to me before wanted to hang out with me.  I even had my first boyfriend.  So like I said I figured out life when I was 17.  If you are young and thin and pretty, people like you.  If not, you better be smart and funny.

I don’t want to die, but I don’t care if I do.  Even with all of the social hangups I have, I have done almost everything in life that I wanted to do.  I’ve experienced so many things.  There’s really not much left.  I’ve travelled, eaten fine foods, had wild sexual experiences, seen most of the United States, I’ve been to Europe, met celebrities, hung around with the rich and famous, hung around the the poor and down-trodden, tried drugs, spent time on the beaches and the mountains, learned to speak some Italian, had a great body for a little while in the 80’s, learned how to be a pretty darned good cook, lived in New York City for a while, made some great friends, lost some great friends, I saw some of my favorite artists in concert, realized how important family is, watched babies grow up to be adults, become an expert on Blackberry phones, I’ve learned from many and many have learned from me.   And while brief, I had the one great love of my life.  I think about him every day, too.  I”m not sure what else I could possibly ask for.  The only thing I haven’t done is visit Italy and I think at this point, knowing myself like I do, I’m probably better off visting Florence on a high definition travelogue from my living room.  At least that way I wouldn’t have to go out in public.

Willis Carrier is my hero.  He invented air conditioning.  Not the idea, but the process of removing humidity from the cooled air.   GENIUS!  And special props to the Packard car company for being the first to include air conditioning in their list of options in 1934.  Most people don’t visit my house in the winter because I don’t use the heat all that much.  I hate being hot.  I feel like I’m choking to death.  Most people don’t visit my house in the summer.  I keep the air conditioner on the “meat locker” setting.  I have lots of sweatshirts and blankets for company but still, they don’t come.  I keep snacks in the house, make sure my bathroom is clean, and I even have extra clean sheets. I have been living in my apartment for almost 8 years.  Nobody has every come over.  I actually don’t like to have company so maybe things happen for a reason.

Hygeine is important.  I get pedicures because nice feet are sexy feet.  And you can tell a lot about a person by their feet, and their shoes.  I get my back waxed, although as the years have gone on, the waxing has retarded the growth so I don’t need to do it as much as I used to.  But I believe men with hairy backs should wax them.  I get my eyebrows waxed, too.  I don’t want to wake up one day with Andy Rooney Eyebrows.  Oh, and then there’s the ear/nose hair trimmer to which I am a little bit addicted.  I don’t have a clue why I do all of this because for the most part, nobody ever sees all my hard work.  Maybe I love my self just enough to keep body hair and feet in check.

I realize it may be hard to believe that I learned all of this by blogging.  While I admit it is possible that I knew some of this already, it was in my process of blogging that I learned a lot about myself, or at least finally admitted what I learned.  I have learned a great deal about the world and about people.  And I learned to see things in a different light, from a different perspective, as I pondered some of life’s big questions.

I still don’t think that blogging makes any difference in the world at all.  I’m sick of blogging, and tweeting, and IMing, and Blackberrys (well, no, not Blackberrys), and RSS Feeds, Facebook, and Myspace and MyTwitFace and the Interwebs and all of it.

The Internet is good for basic research (like “who sang that song?”) and conducting business (like paying your cable bill really quickly before they shut you off) and normal stuff like that.  And maybe a little shopping.  And porn. The rest is all crap.

I am the very last baby boomer.  They say the baby boom ended about one pregnancy length after JFK was shot.  I was born September 11, 1964 (and was about 2 weeks late) – do the math.

And that’s what I learned about me, and you, and them, while I was writing my blog.  On yeah, and war is hell.


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