Some End-Of-the-Year Rambling
By Jeff Baker
The end-of-the year is a time for reflections. On the year, on life, on history. Maybe on the future. A few weeks ago, we saw “J.F.K.: Reckless Youth,” a mini-series from the 1990s. Watching it made us remember how young the boys were who went off to fight World War Two. And that John F. Kennedy, still to many a symbol of youth and vigor, was born in 1917 while World War One was still going on. World War One, now a full century past, shrouded in antiquity.
I will turn 59 years old in 2019, just a year away from sixty. I have plenty of LGBT friends who are my age or older. But the gay culture’s stereotype of emphasizing youth hasn’t gone away.
Back in the 1980s one of my gay friends expressed the worry that as he got older he would, well, get older. Sadly, he didn’t have to worry; he was one of the many casualties of the 80s and 90s. I know several gay couples who have been together 25 years or more, a few where one partner is in their 70s. In our era where lifespans are increasing, old age is hopefully losing many of its terrors.
In science fiction and fantasy immortality or at least extended youth comes with a price, to further the plot. Dorian Grey and his aging painting depicting his sins; the immortals in the Highlander franchise who always have to watch their back; vampires confined to the night and driven by blood lust.
The ancient idea of the New Year’s Baby dates back to Germany in the 1300s but was popularized in the early 20th Century with a series of illustrations done for the Saturday Evening Post starting about 1912 from an illustrator named J. C. Leyendecker. Leyendecker was gay, by the way.
The other day something reminded me of a comic book I read back in 1971 where a character travels a hundred years ahead to 2071. That year is now 53 years away. I won’t see it, but I have grandnieces and nephews who almost certainly will.
And on that day, the year 2018 will seem as quaint as a Leyendecker New Year’s Baby.
Jeff Baker’s ramblings (usually about sci-fi, fantasy and horror) appear around the thirteenth of every month. His fiction has appeared in three of the QSF Anthologies, and his non-fiction has appeared in Lambda Literary. He blogs and posts fiction at https://authorjeffbaker.com, and his Facebook page is at Jeff Baker, Author. He lives in Wichita, Kansas with his husband Darryl.