Dr. Richard Stride Commentary: Whatever Boomer! Is There a T-shirt for That?


When I first heard “whatever boomer” from my millennial daughter, I was a bit taken aback. 

Once I settled down from my self-imposed indignation— which didn’t take long by the way — I surmised that “whatever boomer” is now the “eye rolling” of my generation or the “for crying out loud” of my mom’s generation. 

All three are expressions of exasperation. 

I also believe these generational expressions of exasperation are just ways to avoid letting not-so-nice expletives fly.

I could be wrong, but I think I’m right.   

What does it mean to be a boomer or a Gen Xer or a millennial? It simply means we all have values that are generational in nature.  Our generation often defines who we are and what we care about.  A simple answer to the, “who are we?” question is — we are our T-shirts. 

Permit me to explain. In other words, if you want to know who you are, or who someone else is, look at the T-shirts they wear. 

More importantly, look at what it says on the T-shirt. 

Me? I prefer to let my T-shirt speak for me. Others are waiting for someone to ask them about their T-shirt so they can explain why it’s important to care about Pocket Gophers, for example. 

T-shirts are like bumper stickers for the body — anything, and literally everything, is written on them.    

Our T-shirts also change over time. What’s important to us at 18 is different than what’s important to us at 50. 

Have you ever looked at your T-shirts and said to yourself, “I don’t feel like letting people know I think it's important to ‘Save the Whales,’ it’s more a ‘I’m only talking to my dog’ day?” 

Have you ever looked at someone’s T-shirt and said to yourself, “that person really cares about…”

Or, “that persons a real jerk.” 

T-shirts tell others what’s important to us, what causes we support, what we like, and even who we love.

T-shirts are the non-verbal windows into the souls of our personage. Just like the people that wear them, T-shirts can make us angry, they can make us laugh, they can make us cry, they can make us stop and think about what’s really important in life.    

Now here’s the cookies on the bottom shelf — if you want to know who someone is, pay attention to the T-shirts they wear. 

More importantly pay attention to what their T-shirt says. Look at what it says, but notice what it doesn’t say as well.


Dr. Stride has been a practicing psychotherapist. He has worked in behavioral and forensic mental health for over 30 years as a counselor, clinical director and senior executive. He served eight years as a captain in the United States Army Reserve. He enjoys teaching, public speaking and prides himself on being a student of history. He is the current CEO of Cascade Community Healthcare. He can be reached at drstride@icloud.com.