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MARTHA SEZ: Baby Boomers and a flex of the muscles

March 11, 2011
“I wish I could develop upper body strength,” my friend Constance was saying this morning as we walked up the nearly perpendicular street to “The Garden,” actually a parking lot for High Peaks hikers.

She held her arms out in front of her in the classic sleepwalking position. Then she moved them alternately up and down.

“I  need weights on my hands,” she said.

“I think a marionette would be good,” I told her, “a nice lady marionette. You could march it along ahead of you. Why not? You could name her Mabel. Why is no one named Mabel anymore? You could introduce other walkers and runners to her. ‘Hi there, meet Mabel.’”

We Baby Boomers are realizing time is not on our side. We who used to say “Never trust anyone over 30” now think 30-year-olds look like children. Did you ever notice how young police officers are getting?

Our generation is huge. AARP is in its glory. Acid reflux and presbyopia have become household terms. Fasciitis refers to a foot ailment rather than to the political views of someone we disagree with.

So-called “health and beauty experts” are giving names to age-related cosmetic imperfections, like “marionette lines.”

If you are a Baby Boomer, you will remember Howdy Doody and Phineas T. Bluster. They had marionette lines from nose to chin. It’s a sad day when the Peanut Gallery has come to resemble Doody and Bluster. I’m sure that Buffalo Bob and Princess Summerfallwinterspring, the show’s token adult humans, would look very young to us now, in our present state.

“Yes. A marionette. Excellent idea. And everyone will say ‘Here comes that crazy lady with the marionette,’” Constance said.

“No, they’ll say ‘What is Mabel doing with that crazy lady?”

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, when we go walking, I bet Constance won’t bring the marionette.

She’ll have some excuse. Fine. If she won’t work to develop upper body strength, that’s her issue.

Uh oh, I can feel it, that early spring crankiness coming on. I’m like a bear coming out of hibernation. You would think everyone would be so happy that winter is almost over, but no, I have noticed that every year at this time people get over-sensitive and cantankerous. When you think of it, going from winter to spring is a big adjustment. Even though we still have several feet of snow and ice, the sky is opening up, so much blue! The days are getting longer.

Mud season is still to come, and already I’m wondering when those darn robins will come flapping back.

As I look over my March columns from previous years, I see a certain pattern. It is difficult to deny a thinly veiled distrust of, and one might even say an obsession with, robins.

Several years ago, I wrote: “I am getting sick and tired of these robins doing whatever they want, taking things into their own hands. Or beaks, or what have you. Every year at this time I am irritated with robins for one thing or another. The real problem I have with robins is that they are the official Michigan state bird, yet they continually act in ways that are disrespectful to their position. It’s as if they do not understand the gravity of their responsibility.

“Gravity? You mean like when we saw them feeding on fermented berries in Florida, and they were falling out of the bushes?” my daughter Molly asks.

“‘That too,” I answer darkly. Molly was born in Colorado, and so cannot grasp the seriousness of the robin situation. If robins want to get drunk and fall out of bushes, that’s all well and good with Molly. The fact is, however, that as representatives of the state of Michigan, they make the Mitten State and all of us native Michiganders look bad.”

And that about sums it up. If the robins don’t improve, I think Michigan, not to mention Connecticut and Wisconsin, who have also taken on the robin, should look at another state bird. Everyone can be replaced, you know.

Why would any sane person blame robins for the problems of today’s world? After all, the robin did not request the office of State Bird. No, I’m pretty sure it was thrust upon him. If he wants to congregate in berry bushes down south while the people of Michigan, Wisconsin and Connecticut stagger around up here in the snow, more power to him.

Have a good week.


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