Boomers Did Not Kill Themselves Taking Selfies

As Halloween approaches, our focus turns to the macbre, like people literally dying to take the perfect selfie. Boomers didn’t even take selfies, let alone start a wave of selfie deaths. True, boomers took their fair share of risks while street racing, crossing in front of trains, riding bikes off of steep hills and the like, but the vast majority of those ventures were not life-threatening; there is no boomer equivalent to selfie deaths.

Mister Boomer has previously discussed the explosion of selfie taking and the differences between picture taking in the Boomer Generation and today (see Boomers Watched the Evolution of the Selfie). Is it any wonder that so many boomers are baffled by the pervasive plethora of pictorials present today? Now comes word that people are actually going to such great lengths (and heights) that they are dying while taking selfies. The number of fatalities are steadily increasing each year, to the point that these statistics are now measurable. The first study of this new phenomenon has been released, and the results are both baffling and fascinating. Like Mister B said, macbre.

Strange as it may seem, some of these deaths are planned as documented suicides, but more often than not, they become fatal by accident or neglect. Curious as to how people die while taking selfies? Worldwide, the number one manner of death by selfie is drowning. That is followed by falling, transportation, electrocution and animals.

The closest thing Mister Boomer can recall to this strange behavior is when his family visited Yellowstone National Park in the early 1960s. His father, while in no way snapping a photo of himself, did perform a feat of derring-do when the family walked onto the viewing platform of Yellowstone Falls. While rushing waters roared over the side, Mister B’s dad leaned over the wooden railing, looping one leg over a railing post in the process. Extended out over the edge of the falls, he steadied his Kodak box camera and snapped his shot, while Mister B’s mother yelled at him furiously.

Risky though it seemed at the time, the only real danger his father was in — most of his body was on the inside of the railing — was that if he bobbled his balance, he might have dropped the camera. Nonetheless, even in retrospect, Mister Boomer can’t say that particular photo was any more spectacular than the one that he snapped from the safety of the platform proper. So the idea that someone would lean out of a moving vehicle, climb great heights without support, approach wild animals or high voltage — all in the name of a selfie — seems unfathomable to Mister B.

Halloween horrors aside, how do you feel about people taking tremendous risks for the sake of a selfie? Have you ever taken a foolhardy risk for a picture, boomers?

Boomers Had More Patience Back Then

You’ll have to bear with Mister Boomer this week. He’s feeling a little grumpy and here is the reason why: People have such little patience these days! In our hurry-up, git-‘er-done, gotta-run, don’t-be-late, don’t-hesitate, give-me-more, don’t-want-a-chore, wasting-time-oughta-be-a-crime world, is it too much to ask for people to take a second to realize that not everything needs to be instantaneous? Are these the ramblings of an aging boomer or a societal observation that rings true? Well, here is the case for the latter:

Remember when we stood in lines — all sorts of lines — without complaining? (If you did complain, your mom was sure to have something to say about that). We had to stand in line to cash our checks at the bank every week (no such thing as ATMs); we stood in line to buy concert or sporting event tickets (sometimes all night!); we stood in line when we went to the post office (before those stamp vending machines came in); and we stood in line to take our turn in gym class; play a game of pool in a bar; gain admittance into the city swimming pool; and a host of other situations. Standing in line was part of the way we grew up, and cutting the line was a very real violation that brought the immediate wrath of all those assembled, beginning with our parents. Standing in line taught patience.

Remember when we popped popcorn in a pot and anticipated the hot and tasty treat that was on the way? Then Jiffy Pop came along and although the process wasn’t much faster, it was fun to watch. Having a little patience was made into fun. Later still, the microwave came along and we couldn’t believe how fast we could get our popcorn. Now popping popcorn in a microwave is too much for a lot of people in generations after boomers. Mister B has heard some of a younger generation complain it “takes too long” and is “too much work!” Really? A microwave! No patience!

Remember when patience was its own reward? We put together jigsaw puzzles for hours on end. It wasn’t the finishing that was as important as the journey getting there. And we played family games, waiting our turn and enjoying the moment, though some competitive boomers strived to win.

Remember collecting box tops and sending in for some type of toy? So many things could be acquired courtesy of the back of cereal boxes, but they required kids to do something — collect box tops, tape a quarter to the entry form, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope — whatever it was, once accomplished, you had to wait. In two to six weeks, your sea monkeys, temporary tattoos, string-pull flying thingies, etc., would arrive in the mail. Patience was rewarded.

Remember seeing mothers feed grapes to their children or open a bag of chips or cookies in the supermarket before paying for them? It did not happen! If you begged your mother to give you a grape or open the bag of cookies, what would she have told you? That’s right, she would’ve said you had to wait. Patience. And the wait wasn’t until the groceries were placed in the car in the parking lot, either; it was when the groceries were put away at home. Patience meant never eating anything inside a supermarket if it wasn’t a free sample.

The old saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” If the adage is true, what does that say about things that come — nay, HAVE to come — instantaneously? Mister Boomer’s reaction to all this mayhem reminds him of the call-response chanting prevalent in our protest days (and indeed similar chants are still employed in today’s protests). To paraphrase: What does Mister Boomer want? PATIENCE! When does he want it? NOW!

Is the patience you practiced in your youth still hanging on in your current life, boomers, or have you embraced the “instant gratification” attitude of today’s techno-addicted scene, man?