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Boomers in the driver's seat A tongue-in-cheek look at the aging of America

It had to happen. Not just the mathematics of it -- add 60 to 1946 and you're going to come up with 2006 -- but the incessant crowing about it. You can hardly open a paper (oops) without finding one of the nation's 78 million baby boomers writing about their (obviously) important arrival onto the shores of sexagenarianism. They are 60; hear them snore.

Baby boomers are the post-World War II generation, born between 1946 and 1964 and now approaching geezerhood. This has certain implications, some of which are obvious. Social Security costs are going to soar. So will Medicare, and possibly even the per-share price of Pfizer, which makes Viagra.

Speaking of sexagenarians, some of the boomers' heroes, born before 1946 and therefore not actually among them, have already crossed the great divide. Pete Townshend of The Who -- the punk kid who wrote, "Hope I die before I get old" -- turned 60 last year. He's planning to tour with what remains of the band this year. Paul McCartney, who a lifetime ago wondered what would happen "When I'm 64," will turn 64 in May. He toured last year. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones are both 62. Still touring. Bob Dylan, who is only occasionally not touring, will qualify for Medicare when he turns 65 in May.

Hmmm. Maybe there's a lesson here. (Baby boomers are always learning lessons their parents knew instinctively.) Maybe getting old really is, in part, a state of mind.

OK, enough, already. There's no great achievement in aging (Keith Richards excepted), but there's something to be said for growth and perseverance. Here's to that, and to the boomers who have achieved it.

Coming soon: How terribly strange to be 70.

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