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SETH GODIN KNOWS HIS, DO YOU? (image courtesy of

(image courtesy of

You don’t need to register to belong.

No forms to fill out.

Go to your tribe convention?

Get a tribe tattoo?

Maybe a piercing for tribe jewelry? No extra blood-letting required.

That covers most Portland baby boomers with enough tats and holes they weren’t born with, but what about you?

Boomerpdx looks to tribe master Seth Godin’s inspiration, but first a few boomer tribe openings.

Membership means shared experience at it’s core. It’s being in a place with others, or sharing the feeling of the place.

The Rainbow Gathering is that place. Go one time, go every year, either way you’re in.

Like the Rainbow People, Burning Man also welcomes you home.

Baby boomers pick and choose where they want to go, whether an extended roadie, or a few hours down the road. New tribe or old, the experience lasts a lifetime of re-telling.

And they will. Tales of pursuing a vision rolled into self awareness revelation are the best. They come from the campers who stood too close to the fire, which seems like the whole point.

The Oregon Country Fair stokes the same flame. Part Rainbow, part Burning, it’s a time warp and an alternate future. It goes further than you expect.

If you come away feeling like it all seems too much a freak show, there’s only one person to credit. Hang it all on The Chief, Ken Kesey.

Boomers from this tribe know Kesey had help with his projects. History includes Augustus Owsley Stanley and the Grateful Dead adding extra notes to internal soundtracks. If passing a party test was the goal, the party got bigger and bigger while the test remained the same.

Young boomers flew to the flame.

From the “For Kesey, though, the role of prophet began to take its toll. “It was not what he planned,” says Garcia. “He was thinking of one summer and suddenly it turned into a lifestyle. People didn’t want to leave. He had to deal with the aftermath of the bus trip for a long time.””

The same current runs through OCF. It was strong when the Dead played.

These are the roots to pay homage to. It is the birth of the long, strange, trip with no end in sight when the spirit brings people together in peace to party.

Then everyone got older, grew up, or both. They started dancing to a different tune. They turned to the community, schools, and ideas with passion. And it’s not so different.

The tribe sings baby boomer business blues. It plays the baby boomer retirement rag to the tune of 10K a day. The Sandwich Generation tribe dances their delicate jig. It’s not all so different.

Seth Godin may not be a freak, but he knows the people well. They made things happen then and still do.

For the population born between 1946 – 1964, the idea of belonging grows more important today. They felt normal life shift enough for their parents, who were younger than us now, to fear them, or at least fear the kids they saw on television. Was it misplaced fear?

Not all children and young adults flew their freak flag, took a beating in Chicago, or did the muddy slip and slide at Woodstock. Every parent didn’t jump up and salute when Okie From Muskogee played.

Somewhere in between parents and kids, then kids with kids, then kids with grandchildren, they found sure footing on the rough spots of life. The tribe is the rope they all grip for balance.

Where’s your tribe?






About David Gillaspie
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