I’m so old, I once auditioned for the musical Hair. To be clear, this was for a road company production in Seattle, not the New York version. Still, I knew that once my talent became evident, I would be beckoned East to join the original cast.
At nineteen, I had no voice, dance, or drama training. I did have a dream, though, and apparently a very loose hold on reality.
Practice consisted of standing on my parent’s fireplace overhang while I practiced the trademark Easy to be Hard, a heartbreaking number about the pain of love. I was well qualified to portray the angst of a broken heart and had seen the show on Broadway. Was I prepared? Completely.
As my ‘stage’ was in their home, I invited my mother and stepfather to critique my session. Ensconced on their living room couch around five p.m., they refilled their drinks at record speed, smiling with, if not encouragement, patience. And if not patience, an alcohol induced semi-coma.
There’s no need to go into detail about the audition. My moment on stage is likely still imprinted on the few folks who witnessed the event. “Didn’t anyone have the courage to tell this girl the truth?” No, they did not. I blame happy hour.
That tryout was long ago. It jumpstarted a decade filled with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, braless outfits (not in the presence of same parents) and exposure to various substances that I probably should have imbibed prior to my audition. It couldn’t have hurt.
I am no longer that girl with a dream of a future in the theatre. Instead, I have become an aging Baby Boomer.
When I first qualified as a Boomer, I seethed with resentment at the title. It reminded me of the shock I felt at fifty when AARP sent me a card welcoming me to their clan. Ick.
I’m not alone in my annoyance about the categorization. Baby Boomers are known for being in denial about their aging. We were the ones who changed the world by creating Woodstock, beginning a cultural revolution, with a clear understanding that Tab was the greatest invention since television. How could we continue to be anything but fabulous?
Yet, there are now Baby Boomers nearly twenty years younger than I, and honestly, they look ancient.
Hence, just as I came to accept my complete lack of talent over fifty years ago, I have begun to understand that in the eyes of the world, I am old.
And like all supposed elderly, I have begun telling tales of my youth to anyone who can’t leave the room. You’ll have to admit that Hair story is, in the words of my grandmother whom I have recently begun to imitate, a real doozy.
Hey! There’s an open spot on my living room couch at Happy Hour tonight. Come join me. Lucky for you, I have a fireplace overhang and remember every word of that song.