As we move into the winter of the year, many Americans are moving into the December of their lives. As the “Greatest Generation” of WWII passes into the mists of legend, the “Boomers” are fast becoming the largest segment of our graying gerit-ocracy. “Me Generation” Americans, as a lubricious sub-culture that celebrates youth, strength, beauty and Botox, has very little use for our wiser elders beyond greeting us at the local Wal-Mart.
As our culture dissolved from a predominantly bucolic agrarian lifestyle into the vicissitudes of post-modernist narcissism, our response to the impending denouement of our geezer population enshrines the ironic notion that “it will never happen to me.” Folks, there are 12 Step meetings for this. Get a sponsor. The young routinely dismiss the old because, well, they’re old. Being old demographically demonstrates that there’s nothing much worthwhile or exciting that the Gen X/Y/Z’ers can’t reasonably compare to online shopping, self-absorbed isolation on cell phones or downloading the latest Paris Hilton video.
We rarely, if ever, live in situations whereby the Mesolithic extended family of mom, dad, sister, brother and creepy Uncle Al entail taking care of Grammy and Gramps under the same roof. That era ended when the last remnants of the family farm conceded to the superior efficiency of Archer Daniel Midlands and Monsanto.
Culturally we surmise that the “new” is so much more superior to the “old.” Say good-bye to inefficiently catching organic catfish, one at a time, with a bamboo pole by the lake on a lazy summer afternoon with Gramps. Now say hello to buying farm-raised organic catfish at Whole Foods with big brother who is now catching dollar bills, one at a time, as a pole-dancer at the Hootchie Koo Club to avoid farm chores. No muss and no fuss (the catfish, I mean). And your environmentally friendly catfish is then euphemistically “harvested” and packaged with such cranio-rectal environmental correctness so as to not offend your tender sensibilities as a nouveau green consumer.
So in this miasma of the warm and fuzzy New Age higher consciousness, we farm out the harvest of our seniors to a “full-assisted elder care facility” as it sounds so, well, efficient and convenient. It’s sort of like abortion in reverse; efficient, convenient and solves a problem. In less enlightened times we cozily called an elder care facility “the home” in hopes that Grammy and Gramps hadn’t enough remaining gray matter to figure out that Grammy’s walker is clogging up the hall closet and Gramps’ leaves his teeth in a glass jar in the kitchen. Obviously something is wrong so let’s send them to a “home.” Politically correct liberal fascists, however, invented a newer, more efficient sounding label as the term “home” just sounded too messy.
How’s your housekeeping today?
Me? I personally like old people. They are a helluva [sic] lot of fun except for the multiple bathroom breaks, but I figure that I’m going to be one of them someday so I like to get a heads up on what’s going down. Pass the Viagra. And geezers and wheezers are a gas … literally. Pass the Glade. Old people say things, uncensored, like a 4-year-old walking in on you while you’re having sex. The explanations and discourse are usually quite hilarious, methinks [sic].
Kids and old people share this unique perverse palaver because kids don’t know any better and old people don’t really care. Both get to laugh and giggle at your discomfort. Gaffers have been there, done that, got the coffee mugs, T-shirts and Pepto-Bismol to prove it. Hang out with them. You might learn something. You don’t get to be old if you’re stupid and I’ve run into a lot of really stupid young people lately. It’s a Darwinian thing.
Kids go to “day care” and old people go to “elder care.” Why incarcerate the smarter blips on the reality radar?
And why do post-modernist middle-agers get all cutesy-poo and make snookey noises when baby Huey loads up a Pampers yet somehow transmogrify into Nurse Ratched when it happens to Gramps? What’s the big deal? He changed your diaper once upon a many midnight dreary so now it’s your turn, Mr. and Mrs. Middle Ager, to give back to the “village.” Gramps still counts as part of the liberal “village” idiot.
My son tells me that when I devolve into senility, he is going to drop me off at Wal-Mart and tell me that it’s my new apartment. Sounds good to me as I like my independence. Heck, they even have organic catfish there.
Steve Breen is still trying to find his glasses … they’re around here somewhere, and is still the “best looking mailman at that, um, uh, that letter sending place.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.