The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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OK, Boomer

Rich Galen

Monday March 23, 2020

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  • For my entire life, Baby Boomers have been at the center of the world.

  • Baby Boomers are generally defined as those Americans who were born between 1944 and 1964. I was born in December 1946.


    The generally accepted nicknames go from the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers to Generation X to Millennials to Generation Z.

    As a marketing concept, it might have been better to name Gen X as Gen C to allow for future growth, but I never knew how these things get started. I'm still trying to decipher "Soccer Moms."


  • For much of my life, the world has rotated around me - and my fellow Boomers. We were the largest group of Americans and were often cited as the "pig in the python" as we moved through the stages of our lives.

  • Now, Boomers (based upon the birth-year range) are ages 56 to 76.

  • We used up all those wooden desks in grammar school. Worried through duck-and-cover drills during the Cold War. Bought cars, houses, boats and anything else our greedy little hearts desired. And, one day those hearts started giving off bad vibes to the electrocardiograph machines we were hooked up to and we became the largest user-group of medical facilities, supplies, pharmaceuticals, and the doctors to prescribe them.

  • I've got "-ists" for everything from top to bottom from my Optometrist to my Podiatrist with my Cardiologist and Nephrologist between them and my Internist to act as general contractor overseeing them all.

  • Which takes me to our current situation.

  • I am, as you know, taking this very seriously.

  • I had a back-and-forth with a wonderful friend the other day as to whether this whole Coronavirus thing is real.

  • I said I didn't know what percentage of the population will become infected, but I am conscious that given my age and my medical history, if I'm one of them I am at high risk of not surviving.

  • We are both Boomers so I used a simile I knew he would remember: The days when we were kids and had to endure the annual summer polio plague. "Don't go near standing puddles of water!"

  • According to the Smithsonian Institution, in 1952 there were about 57,000 cases of polio reported. There were about 156 million people in the U.S. so MOST of us didn't get polio.

  • Three years earlier, my brother did.

  • Prior to that, my wife's uncle got polio.

  • So did FDR.

  • In 1953 Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine against polio. In 1954 (according to the Smithsonian Institution) "nearly two million American children were involved in the field trials." In 1955 it was announced the Salk Vaccine provided effective protection against polio.

  • I was one of the children involved in that trial. My mom kept the "Polio Pioneer" card I had been given.

  • Boomers.

  • I was too young to remember my brother's ordeal. He recovered totally, but I remember, seeing news footage on our black-and-white TV of row after row of children in Iron Lungs looking up at mirrors so they could see their moms and dads.

  • That vision had gone away, but I am again haunted by it today.

  • I said to my friend, "I don't want to end my life metaphorically looking at my family through a mirror, or in reality through the glass of an ICU.

  • I have been to the grocery store twice since we have all been restricted from normal activity. The first time was an adventure. The second time was very stressful. I bought enough so that there will probably not be a third time: We ordered online far enough ahead so that the grocery store's delivery service will deliver our stuff about when we need it later this week.

  • Amazon will provide the consumables: Kitty litter, Tide, and hearing aid batteries. What did we do before ?

  • Boomers are the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. According to the CDC, older Americans represent 31% of the cases, account for 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions, and 80% of deaths.

  • Once again, it's all about us.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: In addition to the pinned link to the Democratic delegate race, there are links to the age cohorts, to polio, and to the Wikipedia entry for Iron Lungs.

    The Mullfoto is the line-up of weapons in our kitchen to defeat the virus.

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