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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Retirement Rock

I don’t watch much television, but my colleague The Moose informed me this morning that he had viewed an advertisement for a retirement plan that featured “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” as its soundtrack. I made some lame response about Iron Butterfly rebranding itself as Iron Lung Butterfly, but not two hours later, as I picked over the offerings at the Super Buffet near my office, I realized I was listening to what must have been a Sarasota Strings muzak version of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” I dropped a couple of decidedly non-hallunicogenic mushrooms on my plate and felt very old.It’s been inevitable for a while, I guess, that the Youth Culture of the baby boom generation would ripen, mellow, and then rot, despite the atypical abilities of a few Mick Jaggers to sell their Sympathy for the Devil for eternal muscle tone and dancing feet. A couple of weeks ago I was at a social event in Florida at a “blues bar,” surrounded by twenty-somethings mocking the forty- and fifty-somethings who were doing the White Man Shuffle on the dance floor. “It’s hard to shake that booty when the booty’s gone,” I observed, more in sorrow and sympathy than derision, keeping my own booty out of sight on a bar stool.But far worse than that scene is the prospect of hearing the rebellious and hormone-driven songs of one’s youth reformatted for the different rigors of old age. Will hip-replacement ads for women soon feature a soothing version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”? Is it a matter of time until Senior Mall Walks are spurred on by Easy Listening takes on the MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams”?I dunno. I try to stay semi-hip, with songs on my Ipod dating all the way up until the late 90s.But when a young friend recently reminded me that I was listening to music recorded before she was born, I could only respond that her generation’s remakes didn’t sound any better than the originals.I remain haunted by the prospect of being wheeled into Snack Time at the Assisted Living Center to the strains of “Free Bird.” I hope I have the energy to raise a fist in protest.

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