A Bobbo by Any Other Name…
By: Ruth Folger Weiss
My brother’s early morning email message was cryptic: “Bobbo, see Page 1 of The Wall St. Journal.” Not known for spouting endearments,and having received more than my share of ribbing for the moniker I chose when my children were delivering their’s, I was curious to see what he was alluding to.
I still couldn’t understand why friends and family had seemed enormously tickled by my creative appellation; winking at my proclivity for the ostensibly hip even when it came to my morphing into grandparenthood.
So I indulged in what was a frisson of delight reading Anne Zimmerman’s Page 1 feature in the WSJ:
“A Grandma or Grandpa by Any Other Name is Just as Old”, Boomers Want to Pick What Grandkids Call Them: Meet Glamma and Pap Doc
Here’s the affirmation I needed that it wasn’t just a marketer’s need to brand myself, but a representative trend of Boomers to attempt to defy the gravitational pull of aging and to put our imprimatur on everything related to our lives. We’re deciding what fifty today looks like, and if that means being more physically fit and well-coiffed than anyone else in history, so be it. We’re grateful and delighted our kids are having some more of the same, and love every moment of interaction with each amazing prodigy that is gifted our way but we’ve got to calibrate the perspective…and “Bobbo” is who’ve I’ve chosen to be to these wonderful children who happen to be our wonderful grandchildren.
Experts in the field of aging are not surprised that baby boomers are seeking creative ways to avoid wrinkly sounding labels. “That whole generation is reinventing old age,” says Tom Nelson, chief operating officer of AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.
AARP’s marketing department has had to devise new ways of talking to boomers so as not to alienate them by making them feel old. The association’s magazine was called Modern Maturity for decades and two years ago was renamed AARP The Magazine. “We have put some iconic boomers on the cover, and their take on aging and all the great work they are doing reflects how aging isn’t something that has to be dreaded,” Mr. Nelson says.
So not intentionally wishing to brand myself, this marketing executive was keenly aware that cognitive association is deeply rooted in the names we choose and the mantles we wear. Just didn’t realize that this Bobbo was at the forefront of another revolution!