There I was Saturday at my grandson’s football game with my daughter and granddaughter when a young woman walked up and said, “can someone take a picture of the three of us sitting behind you?” All three of us said, “sure.” This
moron bitch young lady then responded, “Not an old person, though, because young people take better pictures.” I told her that what she said was ageism, is untrue, and is not attractive in the least. Undeterred, she gleefully hopped up to join her companions and have my granddaughter take their picture. I should add that I don’t have a tremor or any other externally perceptible sign of physical incapacity. I was not wearing my T-shirt from The Home for the Incredibly Decrepit. I only occasionally drool and have never called anyone a “whippersnapper.” The bag for my Foley urinary catheter was tucked under my clothing, and I had just emptied my colostomy bag. I even smelled nice, sort of.
I considered calling her an offensive name but couldn’t think of any because I forgot to take my morning dose of Aricept. Since we were at a football game, I did consider yelling “punt!” in the hopes that she would misunderstand me, but she looked like she’d never heard the word, “homonym.” If you are getting upset because I am throwing around stereotypes, I have to remind you that she was doing precisely that only in a way that society never gets too upset about. What’s more, our elected offices are loaded with people ten to twenty years older than I am and nobody sees that as a problem. I haven’t even reached retirement age yet – an age that Mitch McConnell reached fifteen years ago! Nancy Pelosi reached it two years before Mitch, and she doesn’t have the benefit of a turtle’s longer lifespan!
In America, we have a problem of substance with issues of substance. We have bought into the idea that the only thing that matters is physical appearance. We are so far gone that celebrities visit the plastic surgeon so often that they actually look worse than subhuman, yet very few people seem willing to have a discussion about this problem, either. In other cultures age is associated with wisdom. In our culture we are so bent on dismissing this wisdom that we hide our elderly away in mostly crappy senior centers and long term care facilities. We belittle the elderly and treat them like infants, dropping them off at day care centers on the way to drop off our toddlers at facilities with the same name. We don’t even afford the elderly the dignity of naming their facilities in an age appropriate manner.
In truth, the issue of who takes the pictures is the least of our concerns.