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In a Sow’s Ear

Reaching the fading away portion of the allotted span of one’s life brings the dangdest changes. The body falls to pieces, the mind drifts and four zillion magazine articles sermonize on the condition of aging. Mainly they advise that you’re in deep doo-doo.

Radio and television personnel search the brush and dig up assorted “experts” and “specialists” ” mainly people under 40 ” to sound off with statistics, recommendations, warnings, and general tsk-tsk-ing about the perils of growing old.

Or the articles and shows take an opposite position in which they try to claim you ain’t old ” you’re “golden.” Photos of “seniors” always show men with plenty of top hair, flat stomachs and no eyeglasses. Ditto photos show women with Julia Roberts waistlines, stylish fashions and no spectacles. What planet are these creatures from? Personally, my garments have to be designed like circus tents in order to drape respectably over a midsection that looks like I’ve swallowed a medicine ball.

One of the magazine commentaries I read tells the reader that hiring “older” workers is good business cuz us oldies are:

– Dedicated ” translation: Our hormones have quit.

– Punctual ” translation: Kids are out of the house and the dogs don’t need a baby sitter.

– Honest ” translation: We keep mouths shut about past indiscretions.

– Attentive ” translation: We always know where the bathrooms are located.

– Detail-oriented ” translation: We do everything slowly.

– Take pride in a job well done ” translation: We’re good at faking.

– Have organizational skills ” translation: We’ve survived so far.

– Are efficient ” translation: We wear flat shoes and arch supports.

– Are focused ” translation: We don’t remember names.

– Friendly ” translation: We’re covered by Medicare.

An “old age” item I read written by an Associated Press writer really tickled my funny bone. “Researchers” at a University (a psychology professor and a graduate student) “tested” a batch of folks over 65 and a bunch of college students, showing each group comic strips and cartoons and telling them verbal jokes.

The point was not to ascertain what people found actually funny but whether they “got” what was supposed to be the humorous part of the joke or cartoon. Mr. Professor and Ms. Graduate Student “found” that the older people didn’t “get” the points of jokes and cartoons as well as the younger persons.

Well, duh. An infant can chuckle up a storm merely watching a crib toy. Toddlers think playing peek-a-boo is hilarious. Six-year-olds shriek with delight just playing tag. Grade-schoolers can howl with glee at most anything. High-school boys guffaw when they hear an off-color story. High-school girls giggle in the upper registers when talking about “cute boys.” College students consider Leno and Letterman comedic gurus. And the beat goes on.

Come now, Mr. Psychology Professor and Ms. Graduate Student, aren’t you being a tad supercilious? (That means arrogant, conceited and smug).

I have done a “study” of my own. I interviewed a group of old fogies in the Home and a bunch of cowboys in the Bar.

The fogies thought that a college professor and a graduate student collaborating on anything mostly means they’re dating and the wedding will be soon.

The cowboys wanted to know what Ms. Graduate Student looked like, as they’d like to buy her a drink.


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