Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Same River Twice


My generation, the Baby Boomers, have been a pain in the ass since we reached elementary school. Our doting parents spoiled us outrageously, and we figured we were the greatest generation of all time, when in fact our parents have a better claim to that honor. We were going to change the world.

Well, we shook things up a little, but now we’re tired, and spoiling children of our own. We are a great bolus passing through the digestive tract of America, and we’ve caused cramps all the way through. By the time we reach the rectum, we’ll really be a pain in the ass. Already the forerunners are into “celebrating” aging, menopause, baldness, big thighs, and soon we will be celebrating death, like Timothy Leary already did.

But darn it, some of us had fun along the way. This movie is a slice of duration, like several documentaries we’ve seen recently. This one takes a 20-year slice, from 1978, when about a dozen people spent their summers as tour guides in the Grand Canyon, naked most of the time, to 1998. Lovely, hard bodies. Everything was possible.

Now they are mostly settled down into good gray lives. I’m not knocking it. The one dude who is still on the river comes across as a fuck-up … but he’s having a good time. So are the others, mostly. No less than two became mayors of medium-sized towns. But when I listen to one man talking about the cycles of life, how his father got old, and now he’s getting old, and it’s his children’s time to be young, I thought … who planned this out, anyway? God? Screw him. I wouldn’t want to be as dumb as I was back then, but I’d sure like to have my body back. And I’m not celebrating what’s going to happen to it.