According to today’s Daily Beast the legendary and, yes, old, Bob Dylan was questioned by a twenty-something police officer in New Jersey when someone reported “a scruffy old man acting suspiciously.” The twenty-something cop had no idea who Dylan was and made him prove his identification back at his hotel, then called the precinct because the cop still had no idea who Dylan was.
This on the “anniversary” of Woodstock, celebrated meanly in a recent essay on NPR by a scathing commentary suggesting that those same participants in the festival were now the sixtieth men and women breaking up town halls by screaming against the so-called death squads.
I suppose that is not impossible to believe as some wannabe hippies must have turned from sex and pot to sex and cocaine and investment banking and selling insurance. Who know where the rest of the “half-a-million strong” are now? There was a story on NBC news the other night about the iconic couple embracing under the blanket which graced the album cover. Lord, they looked like granny and gramps.
So we are all old and scruffy, despite our attempts at staying young? I dunno. I don’t want to believe it.
I am in my fifth decade which I like to consider my fifth inning. That theory posits that at this point I can still win the game. I have been thinking a lot about that lately: life as baseball (but not on steroids). If I am in my fifth inning I have a few good years late to bring this thing home.
But what happens after that? Will we all, famous or not, be harassed on the street for being old and scruffy, no matter our accomplishments? Would Philip Roth suffer the same fate—after all he is over 70 and not in the best of health. What about all the other artists and writers and thinkers and do-ers who are still re-inventing their lives, falling in love, changing careers, making things better or just making them work?
Surely there are enough of the Boomers left to fight the stereotype that it is time for us to move along and just shut up.
If Dylan isn’t there, where are you?