Go ahead and laugh a little – it’s good for you!

I’ve had some favorite aunts in my life.  My Aunt Audrey used to read Robert Louis Stevenson to me at night and provided me with a love of literature. My Aunt Allison used to take me to all sorts of museums when I was young and instilled a love of art that I cherish to this day. And my Great Aunt Elaine used to take me to the theatre every year for my birthday and exposed a new world of make believe that has impacted me to this very day. However, one aunt I must give credit to at this stage of life is my very special AUNT ACID!

When my generation was named “The Baby Boomers,” I was naïve in the understanding of the term “Boomers”. I had come to believe it referred to our population. I have since discovered the “Boom” in “Boomers” has more to do with our current ability to process food. I’m not talking about GMO’s or the ever present preservatives I consume with each meal. I am referring to the entire process of digestion for those of us with the hashtag “Boomers.”  The “Boom” is what is taking place inside our stomachs and has nothing to do with population.

The breakdown in our ability to digest food is a personal subject for me and it didn’t follow a precise timeline, like grasping the exact moment my hairline would recede far enough to begin the process of perfecting the comb-over. My wife and I don’t even mention the name of a product; we’ve evolved into using our own secret code for going out for dinner. “You remember to bring them?” I’ll ask. “Definitely,” she’ll respond. At this point, we both just know that the unnamed item is some sort of antacid. May the Gods be with us if we’re going out for Italian; we know we’re going to have to double down on the dose. I’ll just give her a quick look and ask, “You’re bringing the large purse tonight, right?”

Those of us on the meal plan in college used to look with anticipation to Wednesday lunches when they served grilled cheese sandwiches. We would wrap them inside a couple of napkins and squeeze out the excess oils. I would always take a few back to my dorm room and enjoy the toasty, greasy offerings for days to come. I never once thought of taking any form of digestive aid as I feasted on those crunchy delights, wrapped up inside my sock drawer.

“Boomers” depend upon a myriad of prescriptions and over the counter digestive aids. We can only look back with remorse to the days when a tasty three-day-old grilled cheese sandwich haphazardly stored in a dorm drawer bearing a “Fruit of the Loom” label imprinted backwards on a greasy napkin constituted a delectable midnight treat.

Whatever happened to our “boomer” iron stomachs? When did we pass from totally consumption-able to “Okay, I’d love to take a taste but first let me line my stomach with some sort of protection.”  I guess the answer is: the next time you step up to that food truck, or go out for a slice and a coke, just make sure you have access to some pill, bottle, or roll of your favorite “Aunt Acid.” Yep, this is who we are like it or not…so just own it!

Who’s your favorite Aunt? is an exclusive feature by Steven Ziplow, writer & producer, who lives with his wife in Charleston, South Carolina. He enjoys both sides of his “blended family.” As a footnote, he totally loves the idea of aging and pokes fun at it in his writings. His hobbies include acting, tennis, and replacing non-functioning parts of his body with titanium.