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"Can you hear me ?" (Tommy)
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Results of President Clinton's physical examination revealed that he will begin wearing two small hearing aids to enhance his auditory acuity in crowds. Apparently, he hasn't been listening very well. I'm not even going to touch the political irony of that situation. It's too easy. But I am concerned that we have passed the time when less was more (see Twiggy, Hare Krishna, and the pet rock), and are entering an era when less will inexorably be less.

Isn't it fascinating to watch the surreptitious scrambling for reading glasses when miniscule print appears in a menu or magazine? And for years, I have been asked at routine medical tests, "Is there any chance you could be pregnant?" Of course there was, as any of my four children will attest. But I reached what the French delicately call "un certain age" a few months ago, and shortly thereafter required an MRI (Don't even ask!). The radiology technician took some preliminary information and then asked, "No chance you could be pregnant, right?" "Right," I answered, with equal parts of relief and remorse.

I have a friend who calls turning fifty the "I'll never be a ballerina birthday." One good arabesque would probably incapacitate me for life, but oh, what a feeling! I think that now we understand why we didn't speak to people over thirty. We just didn't want to know! I still feel passion, pain, and petulance like a teenager, but I have seen cells programmed to do one thing cause great havoc by doing another. Though I drank plenty of calcium-rich, albeit strontium-infested milk, my spine is taking one path while my muscles, nerves and tendons choose another.

In the fifty-odd years of our cohesive "boomeration", we have always had to spur decisions that made things happen. Though we never examined why we were mesmerized by a talking piece of wood named Howdy Doody, we as a group formed the groundswell which forced others to examine the moral issues of our times. We're not ready to abdicate the power of our numbers and our knowledge. We may not hear as well, but we can surely listen harder.

Written by Marcia Brown Rubinstien
October 18, 1997

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