A lot of younger people seem to be under the impression that baby boomers are the selfish “me” generation, who, after a brief flirtation with something that came to be known as “counterculture,” became yuppies, stock brokers etc. I've read a number of angry articles by X and Y generation people that assert this. It may be true, but I don't know to what extent, because I don't know any of these people. If I and most everyone I know are in a minority of this generally perceived notion of what/who baby boomers are, we are apparently living on a different planet. Where are my stocks and bonds, my hedge fund, my 401k? I don't even know what these are.
I lived in Marin County in the 70s, where, as I understand it, the “yuppie” phenomenon was born. People driving around in BMWs ("Basic Marin Wheels,” or alternately, “Break My Windows"), tooting cocaine in hot tubs, and proclaiming “I want it all now.” Who were these people? What did they do? How did they come to typify my general age group? Was it a simple case of squeaky wheels getting the grease? Squeaky wheels make an irritating sound, do they not?
I was born in Westchester County, New York, which at the time was the richest county in the U.S. Now here I was in Marin, at the time when it was the richest county in the U.S. The irony of this did not escape me as I spent my food stamps at the Big G supermarket, struggled to find a doctor who took Medi-Cal, delivered our kids at home because hospital birth costs were out of the question, and lived rent-free at Waldo Point on a series of salvaged boats and cobbled together barges and such. According to Wikipedia the current richest county is Loudon, VA, basically suburbs of Washington DC — a good fit, I'd say.
The great disappointment for me about the 60's was that so many of “us” were merely pretending in the hippie days, affecting the look, the clothes, hair, etc. There for the party, the chicks, or maybe some were narks. Underneath it all they were squares, did not get the implication, the potential of what was going on. My distinct suspicion is that some of today's wealthy CEOs and banksters were among the phonies in the hippie scene.
I naively believed that pot and acid were going to cause an evolutionary human leap. Now of course, acid is gone and pot is legal in Washington and Colorado, and on the way to being legal in other states. And damn if the drug didn't really change anything, in fact, the same guys who wanted to beat me up for having long hair then are now sporting ponytails, pot is just another drug to have with a beer, politicians smoke weed and still do the same old shit. Marijuana has been taken over by the squares and worse, and legality is going make a lot of money for them. I haven't smoked it since — around 1981. A drinking buddy of mine in Hawaii smoked weed all the time and still loved football, had anger issues and got into fights... in other words he was unchanged by it... And a lot of the growers I knew had elephant-sized egos and guns to match. These people were not hip and groovy at all. It was all very enlightening for me and I grew to dislike the whole scene very much.
Thirty years ago a guy I knew from Sausalito moved up to Humboldt County to get rich growing. Stories went around about garbage cans full of hundred-dollar bills, buried in the hills. Way out on a ridge somewhere, I found him sitting on the floor of the cabin, leaning against a wall with ten or fifteen guns of various types leaning next to him. He was drained of color, clearly highly stressed and paranoid. The man looked utterly miserable.
“Bear” Owsley, the acid chemist associated with the Grateful Dead who became a guru-type celebrity in San Francisco in the 60's, spent his last days in Australia, thinking it was the place to evade global warming disaster, and died in a car wreck. He had converted to a meat-only diet, and had a website up “proving” that humans were not designed to eat any plant-sourced food. As for the counterculture? Ah well…