Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

For baby boomers, it’s always the 50th anniversary of them ...

01/15/2014 11:00 AM

01/14/2014 4:40 PM

Technically, I’m a baby boomer. I don’t really have much in common with them, since I was born in 1960 and they were more a just-after World War II demographic. So I got tacked onto their show.

They’re running all the TV networks, newspapers and magazines now, so they’re completely controlling the media narrative, which is fine. I am not sure I can stand to pay attention to the news when, in 2034, they start rolling out the 50th anniversary shows about how great Reagan was or the magic of big hair and shoulder pads. But for now, my guys are doing the 50th anniversary of everything.

It started with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, and, of course, well worth observing. But I’ve noticed that in the past few weeks, the media machine is cranking up the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty and the 50th anniversary of the appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Again, these are subjects that are worthy of attention, certainly. But I can see it getting out of hand. Are we going to see the 50th anniversary of the Monkees, or the 50th anniversary of the flight of Gemini 6?


To distract you, I will give you my own special personal 50th anniversary look ahead, so that you don’t get too distracted.

Aug. 4, 1964 – 50th anniversary of the time I drove a pedal car off my cement back porch, splitting my head open and causing a scar visible to this day. People ask me why I have a Harry Potter moon on my forehead to this day. Because I’m a wizard.

Oct. 21, 1964– 50th anniversary of the time I ran out of house naked and was picked up by neighbors three blocks away. No recallable explanation.

Jan. 21, 1965– 50th anniversary of me losing a wallet with three dollars in it, somewhere in the basement of our house in Marquette, Mich. Also, 50th anniversary of my pouring paint remover on aforementioned pedal car. Yes, it worked.

June 3, 1965 – 50th anniversary of me catching a bluegill on a Zebco rod. Simultaneous 50th anniversary of grabbing the fish across the back, sticking my palm with slimy spines.

July 4, 196550th anniversary of being accidentally burned by father’s cigarette, where he, a trained Ph.D. research scientist, told me not to worry because “ash is the cleanest substance there is” (“Mad Men” era, what can I say? My dad was the Don Draper of plant pathology).

Sept. 2, 1965– 50th anniversary of first day of kindergarten, where I excelled at talking during the naptime, complaining loudly about the sour taste of the milk, falling off of rapidly rotating merry-go-round, and smelling my teacher Miss Giuliani’s stale cigarette smoke (more “Mad Men” era).

Dec. 25, 196550th anniversary of Christmas where I got a Jimmy Jet, a toy airplane cockpit that sold for $8, available for purchase only in grocery stores. Incidentally, it’s the 10th anniversary of the time I bought this same toy on eBay for $495. Don’t tell my ex-wife.

March 23, 196650th anniversary of me falling in love with Pam Stokke, who was 11 inches taller than me. We managed to work out our height differences and are now friends to this day. She’s still taller than I am. A little. Like an inch.

Sept. 13, 1967 50th anniversary of the time I rode off a 3-foot cliff on a Schwinn Fastback, which featured a very high metal stick-shift handle. This hurt, bad. I mean, bad. This stick-shift handle would go on to be the Featured Child Bicycle Design Flaw of the Month of the Consumer Product Safety Division.

March 24, 196850th anniversary of starting a new second-grade class in Alexandria, Va., and being mocked for not having a Southern accent by a fat boy named “Bunky.” He, in fact, looked precisely like you would think a fat boy named named “Bunky” would look.

Dec. 31, 206450th anniversary of the end of the 50th anniversary celebrations by baby boomers.

About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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