By Dr. Sal Martingano, FICPA
… by the time you gain the experience you need, you are too old to do anything with it.
As a first wave baby boomer, I can tell you that getting old ain’t much fun unless you have a purpose. Let me first introduce myself as a first wave ‘Italian’ baby boomer from Bensonhurst Brooklyn…and yes I have a purpose, along with the unique experience of being part of two major cultural eras. My gray hair prompted me to write a book, appropriately titled, “Boys of Brooklyn…a time when life never sucked”, to capture the story of the unbelievable journey of five boys from Bensonhurst Brooklyn, through a sliver of time when life was ‘real’, unencumbered by present day obstacles, government regulations or the senseless idiocy of societal ‘correctness’.
Once the book became a passion, there was no turning back. I finally understood what was meant by “there is a book in every person waiting to be written.” For this Italian boy, every day was a glorious adventure. Meeting up with the guys usually started with the usual whistling at the front door, then flipping of the ‘bird’ as we greeted each other by our acquired nicknames: the mole, fleet, goof, Spaz and what’s a Bill. We were a league of nations, color blind and insensitive to meaningless harassment. We were free to explore and capitalize on the sacrifices and wisdom of our parents; our greatest generation.
Our stories are real and indelibly imprinted in my memory. Why a book? … because my stories you will read will soon disappear into history without a trace. Surely there will always be stories of Brooklyn, the Italian Mafia influence, turf wars with their usual allure on Hollywood and Netflix but the real story is in the ‘human experience’ during a time when freedom (with responsibility) actually meant something.
” My children and grandchildren are fascinated by the diversity of life experiences they have heard from our stories. From the Hippie counterculture to Vietnam to the tragedy that nearly took us all out, this is a story worth reading. “
News Flash: The key to aging is to use the gray hair as your badge of courage. Ever notice that with gray hair, suddenly you’re assumed to have wisdom? Yo…wisdom just doesn’t appear automatically but is nurtured by experience. The point is, recapturing our youth is possible if we impart our wisdom through words. Books have words and words have meaning, which can inspire if they come in contact with like-minded ‘eyes’ eager to start their journey toward wisdom.
OK, enough with the philosophy crap…
The 1950’s were a time of post war expansion, where scientific advancement and technology were still at the mercy of slide rules (go look it up) and hand written notes with a BIC pen. It’s hard to believe that the very first space shuttle was built in 1976 with complex calculations made via the ‘slide rule’. Computers of the 1960’s and early 1970’s were huge, cumbersome tape-driven dinosaurs compared to today’s technology. I have more computing power today in my cellphone than engineers had building the space shuttle.
One can never fully appreciate the present, unless we understand our history.
Our present era offers us the unique perspective of hindsight, where we can appreciate the historical significance of the passage of time. History has since become a never ending cycle of repeating its intended lessons over and over, due to the scarcity of relevant historical meaning. The magic is to recognize when “history” is necessary for appropriate decision making. In my book, you will LIVE exciting boomer history, as we did.
THE PROCESS OF LIFE IS A STATE OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL MATURATION
Everyone goes through life but not everyone experiences life. The key to having no regrets and being ready for the next phase, is being an active participant in the prior. Youth is wasted on the young because we are consumed by trying to act out our next phase of life in anticipation. As a teenager, all that matters is getting to 21. In our 20’s all that matters is figuring out how to earn a living and finding a soul mate. In our 30’s we begin to reflect on our lives through the deeds of our children. In our 40’s the shortcomings in our life become a mission to correct, sometimes leading to turmoil and indecision and if not reconciled, become the excuse for your failings. In our 50’s and 60’s, if we haven’t achieved our goals by then, we’re screwed. If we have been diligent to our life’s plan and have paid attention to history, capitalizing on prior knowledge and are willing to ‘give back’, there will be no regrets. In our 70’s, life takes on added significance. It is a time to put our experiences, memories and knowledge in perspective… hence Da’ Book!
RETIREMENT IS SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO- NOT ESCAPE FROM
By now, hindsight and foresight should be one and the same. To our children, hindsight represents your archaic past, something they will not appreciate until it is their time. This is a time to take inventory of your talents. Now is the time to share your uniqueness, your special story; it’s time to put it to paper so that generations to come can benefit.
The history that I was fortunate not to ignore, has been the basis of what I must now put meaning to for the future:
As a teacher, I am always ready for my next learning experience. As a doctor, I have not only learned the importance of ‘what’ or ‘how’ to learn but ‘why’ to learn. As a motivational speaker, I have expanded my interests and expertise in communicating the sometimes unholy alliance with politics, economics, healthcare and the ever-changing human story. As a sportsman and adventurer, I accept that life does exist outside of our sphere of influence where nature’s balance rules. As an Author, I realize that words without action are futile. It is my mission to bring joy to my readers. The stories you will read are exciting, our names haven’t been changed because we were all innocent.
Life can be THAT simple… Nothing more, Nothing less, Nothing else!
The Boys of Brooklyn: A Time When Life Never Sucked is available on Amazon here.