White Hair – No Hair
How old would you be if you
could not see the calendar or clock?
Is the click of the knee or tic toc of the heart
a factor for you and your docs?
Do others around find you dodder a lot
when you think nobody is near?
Is there fear in your eyes when candles arrive
of a sudden, and they are too hot?
Are you surprised that one of your eyes
needs a fixin before you can drive,
that the old DMV is suspicious of thee
and would rather you never arrived?
When you stand on the stage, and the subject –
your age – is discussed by toddlers and tots,
are your options too few, oh what must you do
when both question and answer is you?
– Charles Brady
The whole world has maintained its taste for “Aged” Cheese, and there is little doubt that they enjoy their VINTAGE wines. And surely we know that quite a few of us really enjoy those old Black and White “Talkies.”
And look at your Television Stars and your Movie Stars, then answer the question, “Am I really concerned that they are acting the part of someone younger?
(I confess that I was not quite comfortable with the slightly over-the-hill, slightly puffy, Cary Grant as the love interest of ever-young Audrey Hepburn in “Charade.”)
Throughout history, most cultures have taken steps to deal with the “problems of What to do about the elderly.” Some have demonstrated special, protective feelings for the very old among them, and some even venerated the old ones, while a few cultures practiced the “Eskimo Solution.” That’s when perhaps there was not enough food for all, and with agreement of the elderly, they were blessed and set to Arctic seas on individual ice floes.
So, overall, I would give the world a solid B plus/A Minus in “What to do about the fading ones.” But, election seasons sometimes remind us that people seem to want to hem and haw and waffle a bit when encountering the question of age among
candidates. Don’t get me wrong. Most of us don’t have a big problem with this question – two of the Democratic front-runners are over 70. (For many of us, “older” does not mean certain death within four years.) But, from time to time, younger candidates do like to bring up the question.
Watching the Democratic Debate, a friend on the sofa observed, “Some of the younger ones seem to feel that older people are irrelevant. “ And in response, I said I didn’t think they were that cruel, that maybe they were more interested in advancing their own status.
On more than one occasion some of my students (I taught at a private high school for girls.) would try to get me off-subject and into one of their favorite teasing operations. Because I was older and a tiny bit wiser….This teaching gig was my third career… I fought hard to remain a step ahead of them.
I had caught on to most of their tricks , and we had established a pretty good give and take in these expository learning situations.
Their questioning that day had to do with whether or not I thought “Miss.(Science Teacher)… was pretty.”
I forget my exact answer, but it was probably something like, “Of course, because she IS pretty.” And that elicited another favorite expression of theirs… All together…a “MISTERRRRRR Brady!” Whereupon I would always answer, “I’m old, not dead!”
From those teaching days and from my awareness of my own age, the series of facts and events of recent times merge into a confusion of thoughts about age and leadership.
So, continuing: Within the past few days, there have been national conversations on whether or not older people should run for the Office of President. The references were, initially, to the front-runners. The President’s name also came up in most conversations about age and politics.
Then, right in the middle of the conversations, two weeks ago, one of the top three leading contenders up and had a heart attack!
A second blow, but one to consider is the opposite of real old age: Yesterday, Representative Elijah Cummings died at the rather modest age of 68.
Now, consider: I am older than any of the people mentioned, and although I am feeling good and getting around well, and still don’t need glasses (However I have an appointment next week to determine whether I need an optical crutch before my next Driver’s Examination.) and I am able to do my daily Crypto Quotes and Crossword Puzzles, I cannot imagine attempting the daily grind facing any American President!
So, to halt your incessant begging, I will not run, and i will not accept your nomination.
However, perhaps we won’t have to face this “growing” problem in the future. We have self-driving cars, 3D printers and automatic surgeons (My gall bladder scalpel entered my belly button, went up somewhere, as pointed out on a TV screen, and tiny claws did the rest – two squirts of Superglue complete the patching.)
And what about those robots (that they don’t like us to call robots) who will drive us to Mars and back? We just may fined a couple of robots dumb enough to compete for the job of President.
Future slogan: “YOU BETCHA – Aluminum is way better than Plastic, LOL…Vote HAL!