Editor's Note

May 1, 2012
The Ashley Judd saga earlier this year led to various observations about how she could just “let herself go,” or if the 40-something actress ...

The Ashley Judd saga earlier this year led to various observations about how she could just “let herself go,” or if the 40-something actress was suffering from a disease. Judd retaliated against the “degrading” media articles about her “puffy” appearance with a web-based counterattack against the “objectification” of women.

Naturally, I had to browse through the readers’ comments. Someone piped in, “Hey, I still find her attractive! You don’t have to apologize to those coach potatoes!”

Baby boomers can recall the time when the English teacher didn’t need your email or Twitter address to track you down. Facebook was the cluster of students hanging out beside a locker in the hall. If you wrote “coach potatoes” instead of “couch potatoes,” she knew where to find your “longhand” writing hand for administering punishment. And our bookwormish stewards of the language were brutal, weren’t they, my fellow baby boomers?

Actually, I liked the nonsensical typo. For one thing, I tend to rant every so often about the trend of creating a career of “coaches” outside of athletics who help train the rest of us on how to reach the upper echelons of whatever we’re striving for in our lives. I am uneasy with the implication that everyone needs a professional coach. This is a silly attitude for me to take. I, for example, still have trouble with resealable grocery items and could use a little coaching.

Secondly, I can visualize Judd resenting the presence of misogynistic coaches who want to help her remain a 21-year-old beauty until she qualifies for lifetime achievement awards in acting. Then the coaches will tell her to “look natural.”

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is the sarcasm of a baby boomer, and I need to watch what I say.

I need to go to RDH Under One Roof. I interviewed the keynote speaker, Seth Mattison, in the early spring months about his seminar, “What Happens When Generations Collide.” Mattison, a millennial, and myself, the mid-stage baby boomer (1954), chatted about those disrespectful things we do to one another when members of different generations share the same office space for 30-plus hours a week.

For a young fellow, Mattison is very charismatic and funny. I did not tell him to go upstairs and finish his math homework. He did not forward to me a Google map showing directions to the nearest retirement home.

We got along just fine. He didn’t make me think of coach potatoes at all.

As I joked with him during the interview, the predominantly female list of keynote speakers over the years are of a certain age. We’ll just leave it at that, since that’s what baby boomer boys don’t do: Ask women how old they are. But it’s a pretty safe wager of everything you’ve got against the house at the Rio Hotel & Casino that Seth Mattison is the youngest keynote presenter ever at RDH Under One Roof. It is also a pretty safe bet that Mattison will fully engage the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and the Millennials in his audience.

Craig Dickson, the publisher of RDH, recently sent out a survey to RDH Under One Roof attendees. He wanted to see how the different generations view the annual dental hygiene conference (hosted this year at the Rio in Las Vegas, hence the gambling references above).

Some of the comments from the survey are on pages 8-12 of this issue. Keeping in mind that I viewed them with the cultural values of a baby boomer, I thought the attendees from the baby boomer and Millennial age groups were on the same page. The Generation Xers, from my perspective, tended to view the reasons for attending a national dental hygiene conference a little differently.

Of course, there is no right or wrong reason for a dental hygienist to attend UOR — at least no weird reasons emerged from the survey. Ashley Judd, by the way, is a Generation Xer, and we now know that Generation Xers don’t have to listen to those coach potatoes.

Mark Hartley
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