T-t-talkin’ ’bout m-m-my generation…..

Well, to be fair, I am gonna talk about approximately 8 generations…maybe throw in the Camel story…anyway, here goes…

Firstly, the word ‘generation’ when applied to a time span is bizarrely inaccurate. Some people consider it to be 20 years and some 30 and some even 35 depending on the application. The Iroquois, apparently considered it to be 75 years. For the sake of Dave’s convenience, I am going to use 30 years. Why? Well, 30 divided into 240 results neatly at 8. And also because modern reproductive cycles have edged upwards towards thirty year old first-time mothers rather than the previous generations 20 year old first time mothers.

Contradicting hugely what I just said is the list of the last seven named generations:

  • The Greatest Generation (born 1901–1927)….26 years
  • The Silent Generation (born 1928–1945)………17 years
  • Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964)………………..18years
  • Generation X (born 1965–1980)…………………..15 years
  • Millennials (born 1981–1995)……………………….14 years
  • Generation Z (born 1996–2010)……………………14 years
  • Generation Alpha (born 2011–2025)………………14 years

That 14/15 year span, again, kinda flies in the face of the so-called ‘generations’ definition but I suspect that this modern shorter-term version is based somewhat on buying power and economics but who the hell really knows?

“So why write about it, then?”

Because of the camels. According to a friend who heard a story about the generations, an old Arab told his son: “My great, great grandfather rode a camel. My great grandfather rode a camel. My grandfather rode a camel and my father rode a camel. I drive a Mercedes Benz. My son drives a Lexus and his son is planning on a Tesla. But the next generation after that will ride a camel again.”

“Why, oh, great Mercedes driver, God willing……will the last one ride a camel?

“Ah, my little fig eater, it has always been thus. The first few generations build up empires complete with institutions and wealth. But they had to deal with trouble, strife, hard work, obstacles and invention to achieve that. And, eventually, their children benefitted with riches, entitlement, softness and a Mercedes Benz, S-class, with all the bells and whistles. After fewer generations of indulgence and decadence, the empire collapses and the next new generation has to learn to ride camels again.”

It has also been noted by historians (H.Cox-Richardson) that empires prevail for approximately (on average) 240 years. Interesting, don’t you think? The USA (1776 to 2022) is 246 years years old and showing some fraying around the edges. But, again with the contradictions: The Qing Dynasty lasted 350 years, the British Empire reportedly lasted 400 years and the Ottoman Empire lasted 600.

“So, the point is….?”

Empires come and go. Change is inevitable. Sometimes TEOTWAWKI sets us back to more primal times. And then some group, tribe, society eventually comes along to overcome the setback, work hard, invent, and set a new, higher standard……but…well, it seems to require hitting the bottom first and then a lot of hard work and creativity to get out.

And all that cycle requires at least 8 generations (using 30 as the length) or 16 generations if you use 15 (as has the last few listed generations). We may be approaching the end of the Western/American Empire (according to historians and the average) but we may just be half way through another 400-600 year reign. Who the hell knows?

The only hard truth I can find in all that mental meandering is that I was lucky enough to live at the apex of the latest empire rather than at the harder beginning. Or, if not the apex, at least on the ascendancy, the upside. I may be the Mercedes Benz driver. And I have been very, very lucky.

21 thoughts on “T-t-talkin’ ’bout m-m-my generation…..

  1. Haven’t we all of the boomer generation. Especially NOW so glade to be retired and out of the rat race. How is it that the world is going back words?

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  2. According to the Arab MB driver telling the story, we all live in a many-generational cycle. You and I happened to be on the upside of the Western cycle. AND we were lucky enough to be born in the West (Could have been born in Calcutta or Mozambique). Going backwards is TEOTWAWKI or the ‘downside’ of the cycle. The Arab claims it is cyclically inevitable. So, it is where and when you live…..we just lucked out.

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  3. My parents relied on cut blocks of ice from the local pond to store in the barn under sawdust …..To be used in the Summer in the “icebox” fridge.
    My mother broke her leg at 9 when the horse pulling the milk cart bolted and she fell off the back.
    I remember when my grandparents finally could afford indoor plumbing in the early 1960’s for a toilet and hot shower. (The kitchen sink still relied on a hand pump from the well in the basement for a few more years).
    Before the bathroom they used the outhouse out in the yard.
    (The pee pots under the bed were the only alternative until the morning or enjoy a hot mosquito infested scurry outside or the freezing winter, boots and housecoat ….sprint).
    The farm house was heated with a huge wood stove.
    The telephone was a “party line” shared with 5 other homes. Phone calls were kept short so others could use the line.
    I remember getting our family’s first , used, Black and white TV in 1968.
    3 TV channels was heaven.
    Our family car was always used, never new.
    Today?
    The US military is worried.
    The basic requirement for volunteers is the physical ability of applicants to do push-ups for 60 seconds, sit-ups for 60 seconds and then run a mile.
    A 60% to 70% failure rate among volunteers!.
    Obesity is the #1 factor.
    Our “success” is killing us.
    The newest generations are going to die of heart disease, diabetes, cancer , etc before most of the Boomers.

    Perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about offending/ triggering fat people and stop glorifying their “uniqueness” with Magazine Covers of unhealthy, obese models in bikinis.
    They’re fat.
    And before they died way too young….they will cost the medical system billions in endless repeat visits.
    I dont think it takes a rocket scientist to see our aging population coinciding with our rising younger fat population … overwhelming the Health care system.
    Remeber the Participaction ads of the early 1970’s?
    The average 40 year old Canadian was in worse shape than a 70 year old Swede?
    I’d say we’re way worse than that now.

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    • Well, citing the old Arab again, decadence is inevitable and part of the cycle. For some reason, we all seek ‘better lives’ for ourselves and our children but we interpret ‘better’ as easier and more fun. In fact, making life easy is a recipe for decline and is exactly the reason I took my martini-downing, couch-lounging, TV-watching 56-year-old self with a wonky knee to the woods. I really needed the hard work but I preferred the martini and the TV. Today, I am still less-than-svelte and I watch Netflix and drink scotch. But I can lift the fridge, I hike all over the damn place carrying crap, chop wood, keep up with the dogs and do all the repairs while living OTG. And I am 74. If I had not done this, I would likely be very unhealthy (as are my city friends) and/or dead. There is the BIG cycle (as described by the old Arab) and there is the lesser one – the personal one. Seeking convenience and comfort and luxuries is NOT the best recipe for living well.

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      • Totally off the subject at hand.
        But, with almost 1 million British Columbians unable to find a doctor.
        Do you guys , living OTG, have a doctor?

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        • Yep! One of the world’s best and, further, his locum set the standard for ‘best’. We have Steve and Mary. 100% personal, 100% real. 100% giving-us-the-time. Plus, they go beyond any expectations….they go an extra fifteen miles….literally. Every two weeks I pick one of them up in my boat and we have a little clinic (community-built) and they see our peeps for a few hours. Then someone else takes them back and they go back to ‘civilization’. The service is the best in the world. Hell, they’d even pick up a loaf of bread for someone if they asked. Yeah. I know. I once went to a North Van walk-in clinic. Reminded me of selling blood in Spain.

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          • I’m envious.
            I’m one of the 1,000,000 British Columbians without a GP and the walk-in clinic is a joke.
            But never fear.
            Our politicians continue to assure us they are “aware of the situation and are working on several scenarios to alleviate the problem”
            Blah blah blah
            As more doctors close their practices and more nurses quit.
            Canadian Health Care is imploding in every Province and Trudeau intends on bringing in another 500,000 immigrants per year for the next 3 years……
            Utterly delusional to what is happening on the street.
            But I’m sure Trudeau and his frat buddy advisors don’t worry about pithy issues like finding a doctor.
            Can’t have an election soon enough.

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  4. I can relate to the story of Noncon, especially where my grandparents and parents are concerned.
    I remember spending hollidays with my grandparents and taking a bath on saturdays (only 1 bath a week) in a big metal sink placed near the woodstove our outside in the summer. Toilet was outside (a hole in a wooden board)
    But I had the best of times!
    It seems my parents were also in the better generation (they are about JD’s age)
    They grew in in the “golden” age where economy was booming and everyone got access to “wealth” and comfort
    It seems “my” generation will be the first to suffer “big time”. I will have paid my whole working career for a state pension that I will probably never get because government will be bankrupt by then. So who will support me in my old age?
    For my children and grandchildren, it will even be worse (I guess no Lexus for them)
    I think we have to follow JD’a advice and GET OUT and be self-sustainable

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    • Well, the good news is that I tend to speak in the hyperbole. I do think it is time to get out and I do think that one should be as independent as possible. But it is also true that no man is an island (even if he lives on one) and so there WILL BE community. If it is a small community, people tend to help one another. And even the most independent needs some help now and then.
      They even trade skills and products. Our community of 250 spread over five islands and 250 square miles is really two small ‘communities’ united into one primarily by the post office, the school and any kind of disaster (forest or house fire). But our helping and trading groups usually are a bit more divided with some ‘specialists’ doing both. Bottom line, you are not leaving all the resources but this time resources are made available by relationship rather than only money. Getting out of the city can be quick. Getting IN to small community takes a bit more time.

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      • would a few bottles of scotch and a few handy skills (electricity,plumbing, wood chopping) maybe help in the integration process? and then of course there is my charm…

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        • Skip the charm, skip the scotch. Buy land, build a house and then volunteer for at least two community projects. You are half-way in. Say no gossip, contribute to local causes and be there when the need arises and THEN you are in. Takes about 5 years.

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  5. Thanks for the advice JD
    and meanwhile the first major street protests have started in Europe. People can no longer pay their bills and there is not enough money left to buy food for more nd more people. Even lower middle class can not cope anymore. Throw in a hard winter with even higher heating and food prisces, and we might have major riots on our hands

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  6. despite my best efforts I cannot but respond to nonconfidencevotes predigital comment that the governments pledge to bring in a wack of immigrants is wrong. We have a declining birthrate, who will work, help build our infrastructure, to desire to live a clean and happy life? no new people no Canada.

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      • I have no problem with immigration….AFTER we get the mess that is our HEALTH-less Care dealt with.
        1 million British Columbians without a doctor?
        And were going to bring thousands of new immigrants into our country.
        I hope you like long line-ups….to get a simple prescription.
        Every province in Canada is dealing with Doctors leaving and Nurses quitting.
        One cannot help but wonder if the endless bureaucracy that is our govt has something to do with it.
        ALL the doctors mention “hours of paperwork” when they complain about “the current system”
        Doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out our bureaucrats have reached a tipping point and the doctors are pushing back…..
        I have a cousin that retired yesterday from 35+ years in govt.
        She was the head of the IT dept in ….Health Care in another province.
        The bureaucracy was (in her words) “a shit show”.
        New kids entering the govt expecting praise for doing simple tasks.
        Backstabbing, bootlickers that would constantly raise the “racism”, “gender”, “bullying”, “stress”, etc etc etc. cards to avoid a poor evaluation.
        No one can be fired without endless meetings, discussions, emails, lawyers, HR, on and on and on getting involved.
        Apparently in her dept 25% of the senior staff are retiring before Dec of this year.
        Their positions to be filled with younger, surlier, Millenials that expect a pat on the back for attending meetings.
        They all know what is coming after a new( 6 months hired), barely qualified, 40 something, gay, visible minority was promoted into a position of authority. This person was promoted BECAUSE they filled all the boxes in the “new world” of “progressive” work. Human Resources has proven they are “progressive” Hurray!
        The new boss has already taken time off for “stress”.

        I noticed the new Prime Minister of Britain is already bragging her new cabinet is “the first one in history without a single white male in Cabinet.”

        Enjoy that brief respite Liz.
        Inflation in England is above 15%. Home heating and electricity bills are at riot levels and winter is coming..
        Political correctness and wokeism will meet cold , hungry, angry mobs of rioters.

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  7. You guys are great guys. You have the brains to see and the words to describe the truth of whatever it is we are talking about even if the words appear to clash sometimes. But, as I know y’all, I know the minds and hearts are all working to the same goals – a good, working community (large or small). None of us are the problem except that we may be a smidge long on opinion and and a bit short on action. But it is hard to change horses in mid-stream. I get that. And who is to say which horse is better, anyway? It is a crapshoot right now.
    Everyone would welcome good, constructive, intelligent immigrants to Canada. And Noncon is right, doing so in our usual way would tax the systems to the breaking point. But those systems are ours to fix, not the immigrants fault.
    Like all of you, I think I could fix the Health Care system in a single year but it would end up looking different and there are millions who enjoy the status quo. Can anything change the Nurse’s Union short of Divine Intervention? I think I could fix any system (with enough time) but then there are millions enjoying the status quo in all of them. I am LONG on opinion but short on any action. So, I took a baby step and went feral. That is why I advise it. It is at least a step in another direction. So far, this horse is proving to be better – for me.
    Plus, Gus is getting so big he may end up being a third horse if I need one.

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