I’ve been called a curmudgeon lately – you now, one of those grumpy older guys with wild eyebrows. But it depends on the definition. If seeing through hypocrisy and superficiality is a requirement, then I am a curmudgeon. Maybe curmudgeons blossom because of all the manure that’s been thrown on them by politicians, corporations, pundits, and so-called elites.
Which brings me to the so-called “Golden Years”. First off, I am leery of hyperbole – you know basting the turkey while it’s in the oven baking. We have a problem with growing old in this country. Oh, sure . . . the “Golden Years” [wouldn’t you like to slap around that Madison Avenue dupe who came up with that term] is an expression made up by some jackass who thinks we [older people] need a condescending, politically correct term for growing old.
Contrary to other nations and cultures, our society fears growing old and hangs on with whitening knuckles to youth. Hence the fetish to make ourselves look younger through facial anti-wrinkle creams [is it true that the chemical in Preparation H is also in wrinkle eradication solutions?], anti-aging hormones, skin regeneration masks, Botox, and plastic surgery.
Concerning plastic surgery, two years ago my wife sent me to the bakery to pick up some pies for Thanksgiving. I was standing by the door waiting for the pies to be boxed and in flashed a person in a long fur coat. I thought ‘Holy cow, it’s Mickey Rourke in a mink coat!” It turned out to be a very prominent comedienne who flaunts her multiple surgeries as an example of staying young. Well, how old is Mickey Rourke anyway?
Well, getting back to growing old, it appears that some in our society consider aging to be a disease and they continue to find ways around it – hence our search for the Fountain of Youth in jars, diets, hormones, surgical rooms. It’s really not a battle that ought to be fought – you could end up looking like Mickey –a copy of a replica of a facsimile of an imitation.
Well, guess what. Snap out of it! There’s nothing wrong with growing old. Each stage of life has its fascinating, unique qualities. There’s something perverse about wanting to go back to your high school prom or dressing up in a meat dress ala Lady Gaga.
Knock off the negative vibes about growing old – enjoy the journey. We even say stupid things like 70’s are the new 60’s – what’s that supposed to mean? Are we really that fearful of another advanced decade as we move to our ultimate destiny?
Our language for older people is an eye-opener. First, there’s the term ‘senior’ citizen. Does this connote rank? Are there junior citizens – you know those 40 year old ‘Masters of the Universe’ know it alls.
We have many terms for guys like me, certainly curmudgeon, but there are others. How about: ‘coot’, ‘geezer’, ‘fogie’, ‘grumpie’, ‘over the hill’, ‘silver fox’, ‘old-timer’, ‘gaffer’, or ‘dentured dandy’. Older women don’t get off the hook either – ‘biddy’, ‘ninny’, ‘old bat’, ‘hag’. And, of course, ‘old farts’ and ‘oldster’ include both genders.
There are very few euphemisms for ‘young’ people; well, maybe whippersnapper [whatever that is … just knowing this term qualifies me as a geezer].
Maybe we look at old age negatively because it reminds us that we are closer to the end. Death seems to terrify us – oops, I mean ‘passing away’. We seem to fear old age and death, hence euphemisms. You know we are all going to ‘pass’, ‘croak’, ‘check out’, ‘buy the farm’, head for the ‘last roundup’, fall into the ‘big sleep,’ or engage in a ‘dirt nap’ ‘six feet under’.
Humor masking fear? Euphemisms are used sometimes to cloak our worries.
Well, I have to go. The local restaurant has ‘senior specials’ menu from 4-6 pm — fogie-feeding time. Special menus and portions, just like the kids except without chicken nuggets and hotdogs, but with a complimentary Metamucil cocktail to keep us as ‘regular’ customers.