As if there weren't already enough rants available on the interwebs, featuring fanatical right or political left, bible thumping religious exclusivity, social, cultural or gender based preeminence, why not one more dedicated to the plight of the modern 50+ year old male.
Regardless of race, class, cultural upbringing or religious background, the Over Fifty Male, known in this thread to be the OFM, has lived through one of the most tumultuous periods in history, unique in many ways from the generations of men that have preceded us.
Not to diminish the experiences of our fathers or older family patriarchs, but aside from that little financial incident back in 1929, I doubt that they had to deal with the total combination of issues like losing their retirement funds, job loss and a forced career change, the inability to find work anywhere, the sale of a home at foreclosure prices even if it wasn't a foreclosure, raging credit card debt, a spouse who politely suggests you should look into acquiring these little blue pills "for the good of your relationship", hoping your car can last well past 150,000 miles, dealing with the pain in a back molar knowing if you wait long enough you could make it past the root canal and move straight to an extraction which of course is far cheaper, and a relationship with your kids where you have to text message each of their private cell phones in order to get them to come away from their Avril Lavigne filled ear-buds to join you for dinner.
I had to look up the spelling of Avril Lavigne.
This is not to say that growing up during the depression, as was my father's experience, wasn't difficult or challenging or life altering. To this day he will go out of his way once in a great while, to make something he calls a "Boiled Dinner" This is really nothing more than Ring Bologna which is made from the scaps leftover from other sausage making, sliced cabbage and a potato boiled in water. Somehow it takes him back to his youth, to what his mother prepared as a treat during those hard times, though not all of those were fond memories.
I expect based on that generational lesson that some day while in my 80's, I will have my own yearning to grind up old potatoes, onion and leftover bits of meat to make morning hash, a depression trick I learned from my father. I'll munch on my recession breakfast while spinning through e-mail messages on my antique but trusty Crackberry, brushing the eyebrow shrubbery away from my line of sight, and complaining later as I pass the gas station because I remember a time when gas was less than 50 cents a gallon. (I do so look forward to becoming a curmudgeon).
We may to be the first generation that will support three. For lack of their own nest eggs or any other influx of cash other than from monthly social security checks, we help out our parents. Because jobs are rare and college costs are ridiculous, we help out our children well past the age of 22, and if there is any money left on the table we pay for food rather than a trip to the dentist, or doctor, or on any sort of vacation. Extra money for bowling, or date night? Elvis and his bowl of popcorn have already left that building. Extra butter not available. I think you know what I mean.
So what? So we push on. What else can a resilient, inventive, hard working group of unappreciated 50 or 60 year old knuckle busters do? We push on, that's what we do. Partly because we have no choice, and partly because it's the right thing to do. We weather the dust storm, with our mouths closed preferably, and we've learned not to pee into the wind. We deposit our hard earned paychecks electronically now so that our wives can access it all through debit cards. By the way, this would be a good time to suggest that nobody within the demographic I'm speaking to, should now or ever carry a man-bag, murse, fanny pack or anything else remotely resembling a woman's tampon and makeup carry all. Man up, Nancy. Tell your wife it's never been fashionable in this or any country, period. In fact it might get you shot (or propositioned) on the streets of Detroit.
I will close this rant, with a figurative albeit exploding fist bump sent out to all my fellow OFM's. Hang tough, my brother from another mother. Keep doing that thing you do. Pay the bills. Support your family in the best way you can. Keep your chin held high. Enjoy a cold one from time to time and remember all that you have accomplished in your 50+ years on this Earth. Sometimes it doesn't seem like much, but the fact that you were there, standing up for your responsibilities and for those who can't take care of themselves, taking care of the family business, keeping your little tribe together in the toughest of times, scrapping for wages and jobs, and never giving up, well, that actually means something. And though we may never be able to afford retirement, or that dream car, or the ad-hoc ability to drop everything, book a plane ticket and start a new adventure, I still hope to cross paths with many of you someday at some random bowling alley, bocce court, cafe, Euchre table, sports pub, or roadside choke and puke along that proverbial two-lane highway of life.
Hang tough, my fellow OFM's.
I'm back to that unappreciated grind.