God’s Waiting Room is Empty

by Bob Sparrow

God’s Waiting Room

‘God’s Waiting Room’ is the euphemistic phrase for where people 65 and over used to go to live while they were waiting to die. But the ‘Baby Boomers’ have done it again! They’ve changed everything. They’ve emptied the waiting room.   Now 65 year olds are summiting mountains, jumping out of airplanes and running marathons. From the time the 78 million ‘Boomers’ were born (1946 -1964) they’ve had it their way. They were the first generation to be raised in the presence of television, which gave marketers easy access to millions of people who were now no longer just compared to the people around them, they were exposed and compared, to the entire world. So what did the Boomers do? They raised their game, they wanted it all, they demanded the best. They couldn’t always afford the best, so, unlike their parents who always saved before they purchased an expensive item, they popularized the credit card. Now, as the first of the ‘Boomers’ turned 70 last year, they are changing the ‘Golden Years’.

Previous generations looked forward to finishing their 30-year career with the same company, retiring at 65 with a gold watch and living maybe another 8-10 years before cashing in their chips. Today at 65, we find Boomers starting their own companies, buying their own Apple watch and heading to the cashier’s window to buy more chips. They have literally changed the way to do almost everything; certainly they’ve changed how we think about aging.

Boomers are ‘all in’

But to be fair, and just to help keep the Boomers humble, there have been some pretty successful ‘senior citizens’ throughout history. The following accomplishments are true, the parenthetical comments that follow are mine and subject to not being true.

  • Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence when he was 70 (He actually thought he was picking up the lunch tab for a few of his cronies)
  • Cornelius Vanderbilt didn’t buy his first railroad until he was 70 (He then gave it to his son for Christmas along with a track that circled Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree)
  • Omkali Singh is the oldest woman to give birth at 70 (Her baby was 46 when he was born)
  • Clothing designer Calvin Klein, cast Lauren Hutton in an underwear ad when she was 73 (They actually cast her when she was 70, but it took her three years to get the underwear on).
  • At 77 John Glenn became the oldest person in space (He was the one that left his right-hand turn signal blinker on as he orbited the earth)
  • 80 year old Yuichiro Miura is the older person to summit Mt. Everest (I had to use oxygen just to type that!)
  • At 92 Paul Spangler finished his 14th marathon (He finished both first and last in his age group)
  • When George Burns was 94, he performed on the New York stage where he first began his career (He told the same jokes at both performances without the risk of anyone having heard them before)
  • Nola Ochs became the oldest person to receive a college degree – she was 94 (She’s currently looking for a job)
  • Retired Lt. Col. James C. Warren is a former navigator of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military aviator in the U. S. armed forces. At the age of 87, he became the oldest person in the world to receive his pilot’s license  (However, Harrison Ford, 74, holds the record for oldest pilot to crash 3 times and still keep his license)
  • At 91 and 103 respectively, Doreen Luckie and George Kirby became the oldest newly weds (Rumors were unfounded that they had to get married)

Makes you want to quit reading this and get out of that easy chair and go do something, doesn’t it?  (But don’t have a baby!)

Still not Wastin’ Away

There have clearly been some outstanding accomplishments by those supposedly ‘past their prime’, but with Jimmy Buffett, who turned 70 last December, as their Pied Piper, I’m certain the Boomers will continue to show us a whole new way to ‘play the back nine’.

Post Script: If you find errors in this post, please blame it on my sister’s arthritis remedy – who knew gin was health food?!



by Suzanne Sparrow Watson

     Every time I pick up a newspaper or a magazine lately it seems there’s an article about someone working on their “bucket list”.  Boomers everywhere are compiling lists of things to do before they die: climb Mt. Everest, sail around the world or buy a red Corvette.  My brother has done an admirable job of checking off his “to do” list; most of his feats require a lot of conditioning and some derring-do.  Except seeing the General Patton Museum – that just took a high tolerance for boredom.

     I used to have a bucket list.  Actually, it wasn’t so much a list as an item.  I only had one thing I wanted to do – hang glide.  For thirty years I’ve watched hang-gliders with admiration. I was in awe of their fearlessness and their obvious gold standard medical plan.  But in the last year or so I’ve finally come to the realization that I won’t be jumping off a cliff anytime soon.  For a while I thought I might take a page from George H.W. Bush’s skydiving book and go tandem.  Now I’ve decided that unless I get that same cute Army Ranger to hang on to, it’s just not going to happen.

     So earlier this year I decided to flip things around.  Instead of a bucket list, I started to compile a list of the 10 best events that I have already experienced.  In other words, I started an Upside Down Bucket List.  My only rule was that nothing on the list could be “obvious” – like a wedding day.  Given that I have a hard time remembering what I had for dinner last night, it has taken me months to recall 10 events worthy of the list.

     I started off with five items that were major moments.  Those were easy.  The next five took more thought and retrospection.  I was surprised when something as mundane as a movie or listening to someone else’s adventures would spark a memory of something I’d long forgotten.  I would jot down events as I thought of them and then mull over whether they were worthy of the final five slots.  It was lost on me that no one else was ever going to see this list – my obsessive/compulsive nature took over and I needed it to be perfect.  Perhaps one of my activities should have been to visit a good shrink.

     Of course, dredging up memories causes some not so great days to be recalled too.  Like the time I fell down an entire flight of escalators at a BART station (everything in tact except my dignity) or when I walked in late to a wedding and realized after 10 minutes that it wasn’t my friends’ wedding (ever tried to skulk out of church quietly?).  Those days definitely did not make the list but for a moment I did think about compiling a list of my 10 most embarrassing days.

     After months of thinking and reminiscing, I have finalized my Upside Down Bucket List.  Final for now anyway; I’ve reserved the right to add and delete as my memory allows.  It’s interesting to take a step back and review it.  I’m not sure exactly what it says about me, but my list divides into three categories:  Adventure, Family, and Personal Achievements. I won’t bore you with the list but I can assure you that each item brings back great memories – whether it was challenging myself physically, a great conversation with my dad, or an unexpected success.

     It’s been a fun experience.  It was harder than I thought it would be but it also more rewarding.  Each time I look at the list it brings a smile to my face or a boost to my confidence.  So I’d encourage you to do it – it’s a great way to remember the good times.  And a lot safer than leaping into thin air with some flimsy wings strapped on your back.


Headlines:  Don’t worry, Joe, we’re all nodding off.

Well, we’re getting closer to casting the Republican primary vote,

Romney or Santorum? One’s the victor, one’s the goat.

As for Obama, he is confident, even with Biden as his Veep,

His only worry will be during speeches – hoping Joe doesn’t fall asleep.

Money:  When in doubt, blame the Baby Boomers.

The Dow is doing well; housing seems to be rebounding,

But now three experts give dire predictions which are a bit confounding.

Mostly our troubles come from retiring Baby Boomers and the global debt,

So just when we thought we could relax, we learn our gains will be offset.

Sports:  The Lakers play the Heat on Sunday – watch the rematch.

Kobe Bryant was on fire during the All-Star game,

Breaking Jordan’s scoring record, which brought him much acclaim.

But unfortunately Kobe’s nose was broken by a player from the Heat,

Which saved Vanessa from having to do it, for him being such a cheat.

Life:  Joan Rivers was jealous of Billy’s tuck and roll.

The Oscars were predictable, even with Crystal manning the show,

The question on our minds was who had more nips – him or JLo?

Our favorite was Chris Rock, who really was quite funny,

Skewering actors for “working hard” and making so much money.

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September 8, 2011

Restaurants are attempting to increase our weight some more,

They now want to take food stamps at all the fast food stores.

The national obesity experts say that’s not the way we should behave,

And say our taxes will now be used to pay from “burger to grave”.

Baby boomers are now considered to be the most stressed out,

Watching retirement fade as their stocks have taken a clout.

Experts are advising calm and “not to over-medicate”,

This – to a generation that doesn’t know how to be straight.

Maryland’s Terrapins have new football “uni’s”,

And the best thing being said is they look a little loony.

More embarrassing still, they have the same theme,

And look remarkably like the women’s roller derby team.

The Kennedy Center has revealed this year’s honorees,

It’s a very distinguished group that will be on their marquee.

With Ma and Diamond tributes no one will be bored,

But what accent will Streep use when she gets her award?

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