Convincing Boomer Parents to Take the Coronavirus Seriously
last wednesdayI called my mother last Wednesday night, not long after the address of President Trump's Oval Office, to check in on the ongoing global health problem that is happening. She told me that she and my father were with another couple who were old friends on the way home from a nice dinner at the Polo Bar in midtown Manhattan.
"Did you go to restaurant?! "I yelled. It came a couple of days after she told me, with sniffles, that she was suffering from a cold but didn't see any excuse she shouldn't go to school where she works. She was still also planning at the end of the month to do a trip to Florida. My dad, an attorney, was planning to go to the office on Thursday, but figured he would be working from home on Friday if he could find out how to connect his machine. I sprung up that night, minutes after bedtime, and read them an urgent e-mail. "I fear you two are not taking the steps seriously enough right now.
This reversal of the position has been. Book. Novel. I always speak about my parents as the grown-ups, those who advise me about financial plans and conflict with my little sister in quarrels. This took a pandemic to drive me into the position of the responsible parent, and into the position of the heedless child. I am thirty-eight, and sixty-eight and seventy-four are my mother and brother, respectively. Neither is in age and the two are in fine condition. Yet people 65 and older — more than half of the baby-boomer population — are more vulnerable to covid-19 and have a higher mortality risk, so the blithe conduct of my parents was as alarming as the frenzied messages emerging from Italy's hospitals.
I knew because I was talking to my family that I wasn't lonely. Most of us have been arguing with our baby-boomer parents during the past week to cook at home, tear up the boat tickets and walk away from offspring. My in-laws, who reside in Puerto Rico, wanted all three of their adult kids to convince them to not go to Macy's (or at least to miss baptism in church) though a group text. "My father is a former doctor," one friend says,. My mother was a career nurse. Both are in their early 70s. No answer once I phoned home to sign them in. It points out that my mom was ' cooking breakfast at the mall '?!) (and my dad was golfing.I screamed at them to quit being defiant children of the 1960s and to grow up, please.
"Another says of his father," They really won't listen to me fucking. I'll destroy them before the covid does. I am so disappointed. They tell me that I'm overreacting by asking them to stop dining out, so my mom proceeds to go to the workplace. I'm not going to let them come over and visit the boys (both of whom now have moderate fevers and coughs, which couldn't be anything but clearly a terrible idea). When I contact them and demand them to just keep the same home they get angry at me. My dad is a diabetic in his 71s.
I asked my mother what the pattern looked like. "All my friends claim the same thing," she said, obviously on her way to a farmers ' market, "because their children are nuts and treat them like the elderly."
I screamed at them to quit being defiant children of the 1960s and to grow up, please. "Another says of his father," They really won't listen to me fucking. I'll destroy them before the covid does. I am so disappointed. They tell me that I'm overreacting by asking them to stop dining out, so my mom proceeds to go to the workplace. I'm not going to let them come over and visit the boys (both of whom now have moderate fevers and coughs, which couldn't be anything but clearly a terrible idea). When I contact them and demand them to just keep the same home they get angry at me. My dad is a diabetic in his 71s.
And who should fault them? When they were young, beautiful, and defiant, they changed American culture, ushering in an era of democracy. (I'm assured the music was pretty good.) In their sixties and seventies they continued to remain active, adapting the notion of aging against their own will. They could not have known they're the least bit out of the ordinary before the millennial barb "O.K., boomer" came along. Although now a virus constitutes a serious danger to an age demographic that contains them, whether they accept it or not. Our most influential denialist is the Boomer-in-Chief. But it's interesting that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were the first celebrities to reveal they'd contracted covid-19.
Yet the pandemic has escalated the question, putting those in their thirties and forty in the stressful new position of protectors, and sometimes scolds. It's a perverse reversal of the sixties generation divide, when teenage boomers yelled about Vietnam at their parents ' table — except that now we're warning our own not to flee their houses. On Twitter, the literary consultant Lucy Carson begged, "Best advice to convince a diabetic boomer parent to avoid commuting into town? Rage-sobbing into the phone doesn't support my cause. "At Vogue, Molly Jong-Fast wrote with her" fabulous feminist mum, "the generation-chronicling author Erica Jong, on a related dynamic.
"This is a worldwide pandemic, a epidemic that is far more deadly than seasonal flu." My colleague Ben Wallace-Wells witnessed the appearance of a different type: the "yolo grandparent." Some less generous youngsters have called the virus the "boomer remover."
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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