I’m a baby-boom beatnik and a hipper-than-thou hippie. I’m the original radical, the first tie-dye top-dog and the most liberal lefty you ever met. I came of age during the Summer of Love, boogied down during the Spring of Disco and led the flannel charge during the Autumn of Grunge. I’m everything you ever wished you could be. And more.

But now the years are catching up with me. I still go to all the shows, like Rainer Maria and Daddy Yankee, but lately I’m finding that the spark that fueled my wild radical days is nothing more than a flicker. My long hair has turned comb-over gray and the waist on my bell bottoms is wider than my cuffs. My love beads no longer shine and my mood ring has a perpetual headache. I’m the original generation gap, yet some days I feel like it’s time for a spinal tap.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m old.

“Chill,” my friends tell me. “You’re not as young as you used to be,” they say. What do they know? They gave up on the revolution years ago. They traded their jeans for the green and they cashed in their Zig Zags for name tags. Sure, they’re fine, upstanding, middle-age citizens.

But they don’t know how to rock.

That’s why it’s up to me to carry the torch. To show the world what baby boomers stand for. I won’t be categorized, compartmentalized, computerized or institutionalized. I’m a freak, damn it, and proud of it. A headband-wearing, peace-sign flicking, make-love-not-war rebel with a cause. Let ’em have their suburbs, their SUVs and their 401s. Like Tom Petty sez, “I will not back down.”

But I do have to make one small concession to conformity. It cost money to see all the bands and artists coming to my town. It takes cold hard cash to get a seat for Prong or Barry Manilow, and I haven’t seen a steady paycheck since the head shop laid me off back in ’75. So I guess it’s time to clean up my act. Cut what’s left of my hair, find a shirt with a collar and learn how to tie a tie. In other words, it’s time to find a job.

And then I’ll move out of my parents’ house.