Jewish World Review Jan. 28, 2002 / 15 Shevat, 5762

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reiley
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

From boom to bust -- NO question about it, being a baby boomer is a mixed designation. Americans born shortly after World War II hit a lot of stuff just right: the birth of rock and roll, Elvis, the Beatles, the anti-war years, Watergate, disco, high-tech, the roaring '90s and now, the new war on terrorism. Each decade has been interesting and stimulating. Now, we are getting older.

But not wiser -- generally speaking, of course.

The baby boom generation remains a self-absorbed group of pleasure seekers still bent on the immediate gratification that television taught us as toddlers. We are the first generation of Americans to have our brains influenced by the tube, and it surely shows. We just can't get enough stuff. Four-dollar coffees -- bring 'em on. Huge gas-guzzling SUV's -- love 'em. Fine wine, gourmet food, designer furniture. The boomers can't get enough.

The latest trend is the spa. Everything is a spa now. Look at any travel magazine, and the word "spa" assaults your senses on every page. I fully expect to see Vinny's Deli and Spa opening soon in my Long Island neighborhood.

Basically, a spa is a place where you pay an outrageous amount of money to be pampered. Boomers love this. Spa people will rub you, wash you, exfoliate you and, for a few extra bucks, they might even tickle you. There is no end to the spa menu that is specifically designed to make the paying customer feel very important.

For example: At the Marriott Spa in Phoenix you can get a "desert gold facial" featuring honey and jojoba oil for $75 bucks. Men are welcome.

At the Mist Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., you can get a red wine and green tea soufflé wrap. That treatment is supposed to eliminate toxins and soften skin.

Sounds good until you get the bill: $120 bucks. For a few dollars more you can get a "dream catcher," tranquility-inducing body therapy using essential oils and heat. Using non-essential oils is illegal in Arizona.

This spa trend is definitely aimed at boomers. The greatest generation is not spa friendly. My father would burn the spa down. My mother would never let a stranger touch anything on her. Generation X doesn't have the money to burn (at least not yet). So Boomers are the target spa audience, and there's no denying it.

For some reason, many of us boomers feel that we are entitled to the spa life. I really don't know how this happened, as most boomers were exposed to the rough and tumble "spare the rod and spoil the child" upbringing philosophy. But boomers became intoxicated with power and many other things in the late '60s, and we never forgot it. The protesting years left a major impression on us. We were the ones who knew it all. We were the ones who would change the world.

Of course, things didn't quite turn out that way. Things in America are pretty much the way they've always been. People hustle to make a living and hope their children will do better. Many of my peers who were college rebels now sit behind a big corporate desk planning their next major purchase. Power to the people, right on.

I guess the reason I am down on my generation is that we did not live up to our potential. Many of us stopped fighting for justice and turned into Martha Stewart wannabes. Things became more important than ideas or loyalties. The spa became more than a destination, it became an obsession. Pamper me, give me, buy me, do me. Lots of the "me" word floating around in boomer circles.

Soon the baby boomers will be old people, although we are fighting that every second of our lives. An elderly profile is not in the boomer handbook. So stuff is being tucked and lifted and implanted and massaged. Fifty-year-old Americans are saying the words "cool" and "awesome" to their kids, who roll their eyes and put their headphones back on.

Take it from this boomer -- we will not age gracefully. And we will go out kicking and screaming. But first, we'll visit a spa.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.


01/21/02: The Fairness Doctrine
01/14/02: Hey, Paula, take it to the bank and hush up
01/07/02: And justice for none
12/31/01: All that's left
12/24/01: Santa is appalled
12/17/01: Fight the power
12/10/01: The black challenge
12/03/01: How things have changed
11/26/01: Waiting in the Bushes
11/19/01: The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate