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The Telegram
  • FRANK TALK: A perilous population explosion

  • There is disturbing growth in a certain segment of the population.


    They have been well represented in schools for years, but now the members of this certain segment of the population are increasingly represented in all the professions, as well.

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  • There is disturbing growth in a certain segment of the population.
    They have been well represented in schools for years, but now the members of this certain segment of the population are increasingly represented in all the professions, as well.
    And every year, their numbers grow alarmingly.
    They grow … and grow … and grow.
    As Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Who are these people?”
    They are the people to whom I can say with ugly, irrefutable accuracy: “I am old enough to be your father.”
    With the recent passage of yet another birthday (they seem to come every damn year), it occurred to me that these people are increasing in numbers all around me with the scary rapidity of the pod people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
    At first, this group was made up of cute little babies. That was fine.
    Then they got a little older, and started toddling around. That was cute.
    Then they started going off to school.
    Still OK. But they just never seemed to be satisfied.
    They kept getting bigger and bigger every year.
    They started calling me “sir” in check-out lines.
    And that was when it started to get scary.
    They began to develop skills that threatened the balance of power, like how to work a universal remote.
    They acquired knowledge of the world beyond my ken, like how to text message.
    And now they’re everywhere. They’re at work, in restaurants, major sporting events, on the street, on TV, in movies.
    They’re represented in law enforcement and organized crime.
    They’re professional athletes and they’re couch potatoes.
    They wash dishes and they work for NASA.
    Some travel alone. Others move in packs.
    But they have that one common quality: “I am old enough to be their father.”
    Perhaps most unsettling of all is the knowledge that I once walked among them, that at some point I went from being told, “I am old enough to be your father” to be the one doing most of the telling.
    That should serve as an example to the burgeoning ranks of those whom I must include in that grim statement, “I am old enough to be your father.” I was once as you are.
    On the other hand, as they progress to join those of us on the other side of the divide that is, “I am old enough to be your father,” a new generational crop will rise and grow toward the sun in keeping with the whole crop-as-metaphor thing.
    To them I will have to acknowledge: “I am old enough to be your grandfather.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Yikes.
    Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth office, and can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.com. This is a classic column, not because it’s necessarily any good but because it appeared in a prior edition.
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