If you’re over 40, chances are you’ve thought about it. Given the opportunity, would you go back to your youth and do it all over again? There are always permutations to that query and …
If you’re over 40, chances are you’ve thought about it. Given the opportunity, would you go back to your youth and do it all over again? There are always permutations to that query and they often involve bargaining. Could I do it and still have all of the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years? Do I get to choose what age I return to? The list goes on, but for me, the short answer is always the same: No.
In truth, I consider myself fortunate, because life was unquestionably simpler back in the day. I’m first and foremost a baby boomer, a term used to describe a person who was born between 1946 and 1964. I know what you’re thinking and you’re not wrong: I look damn good.
According to the World Wide Web (already an antiquated term), the baby boomer generation makes up a substantial portion of the population in the United States, nearly 20 percent, and we ain’t getting any younger. In fact, many boomers are in the process of retiring, and some are even looking at assisted living. “Is there a nursing home in my future?” I asked the dog, as she burrowed under the covers—something I often want to do myself. “And if so,” I continued, “will they let me bring my mouse?”
The rodent in question is Mickey, a small stuffed guy who has shared my bed with several generations of dogs, ever since I visited Disney World almost 50 years ago. I know that I’m a grown man, but Mickey has always been there for me at the end of a long day. At this point, I consider him a metaphor—a mirror, if you will—of the long and winding road that I continue to travel in a world not of my own design. “Dude, you’re a mess,” I whispered to the mouse. “Am I fooling myself?” I asked. “Maybe I don’t look as good as I think.” Mickey stared back at me blankly, in part because he’s blind in one eye from a fracas with a different dog long gone, but mainly because he’s a stuffed toy, unable to verbalize his thoughts.
While preparing to head out to Cabernet Frank’s in Parksville, NY, last Saturday, I assessed the situation. Torn ear, head lolling to one side, nose missing altogether and most of his stuffing mysteriously absent, Mickey needed a fix-up; I promised him I’d get to it before someone puts us both out to pasture. “I don’t know how to sew,” I muttered, placing him gingerly on the pillow. “But I’ll do my best, old friend. You also need a tummy tuck, but I’m pretty sure that I could use one, too.”
There were plenty of young folks at Cabernet Frank’s that night, many of whom were out on the town to catch songstress Tameka Ramos, a young entertainer hitherto unknown to little old me. Backing her up were MC Kimburlee Jo Stewart and DJ Kevin Oriol, aka K & K Music Entertainment. Kimburlee, dressed as a flapper for the roaring-‘20s themed evening, explained her fabulous attire: “We love to dress up for the parties that we host, and ever since New Year’s Eve, we’ve fully embraced the notion of flapper, dapper and doing the Charleston.”
“Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “Wasn’t Mickey Mouse born in the ‘20s?” A quick glance at my smartphone confirmed that Walt Disney himself created Mickey in 1928, and was the original voice for the mouse that rules over the Magic Kingdom to this day. Where was I? Oh, right… Tameka.
Decked out in classic ‘20s finery, and blessed with a set of pipes that amaze, it quickly became evident that this woman (IMHO) knows her way around a song. Whether whispering or belting, Ramos wowed the crowd with a musical style, verve and youthful vitality that left me wanting more. Glancing at my watch, I realized that it was way past this baby boomer’s bedtime and headed out, promising Ramos, Cabernet Frank’s convivial host Wade St. Germain and servers Julie and Eva that, despite their wishes, I would undoubtedly return.
“I’m performing surgery first thing in the morning,” I explained to a table of young people nearby. “Oh, you’re a doctor?” one of them asked, as I gathered my coat and gloves, both items of clothing older than the couple hanging out at the bar. “No,” I answered. “It’s a long story, but there’s a mouse at home that needs stitches.” Little wonder that most people under 30 look at me like I’m a crazy old man. “Let me ask you a question,” I said to a young lady named Savannah who was enjoying Tameka’s performance with her friend Steve. “If you could, would you turn back time?”
“To when?” one of them asked. “You mean like the ‘90s? I wasn’t even born yet.” Shaking my head, I scooped up the dog and shuffled out, feeling like Methuselah. Arriving home, I crawled into bed clutching Mickey, promising that he’d be “just like new” by the time I finished patching him up. “Well, maybe not new,” I mumbled to the mouse, “but you’re a metaphor, and I’m not quite ready to give up the ghost, so I’ll just do the best I can.”