A Bit of a Rant

It started about three months ago.  I was walking through Northridge Mall when I noticed a rather dispirited woman of ­ I’m guessing here about 50. She’d watch as people approached her area, then, rather apologetically I thought, approach her selected victim and begin her conversation.  Mostly the Chosen Ones listened for just a few moments, then shake their heads “NO” and move on.

It only took a few minutes to realize that she was doing a survey of some sort and wasn’t great at it. Maybe it was the hang-dog look or the built-in apology that did it, but no one was accepting that woman’s invitation to an interview. Having never learned to mind my own business, I headed toward her. She caught my eye and smiled, then asked me if I’d mind answering a few question for a survey on god only knows what.  I never heard that part. But I hastened to assure her that I would be delighted to take her survey. So we sat at a nearby table, obviously put there for just that purpose and she showed me a three page questionnaire.  It was more than I’d planned for but ­ well, I DID volunteer so I would stay the course.  And I did.

For 20 really boring minutes I answered questions about family, friends, style choices, food fetishes etc.  And then she asked me to accompany her into the office behind us where there would be a short film playing. UGH!  But sure. First she said, I would have to sign some papers.  “You know,” she said, “you agree to speak on the subject at hand and,” here she giggled a bit nervously and said “you know, like promise not to sue or anything.” “Sure,” I said again.  “What do you want me to sign?” She handed me the form.  I read it, then read it. “I’m sorry,” I said.  “But I’m too old.”  She looked alarmed, then embarrassed. “You’re over 75?” she said. “Way over,” I said and handed the papers back to her.

There were apologies exchanged on both sides.  I apologized for wasting her time and she for wasting mine. I smiled at her, she smiled at me and I turned to leave.  I mean, after all, it wasn’t her fault I was old.  But then it wasn’t mine either.  I think it has to do with better living through chemistry, right? Here, in this wonderful country we have devoted billions and billions of dollars to the study and development of ways to keep people alive way beyond the current expectations.  And we are wildly successful at it. BUT….BUT?  Yes. But what is it we are supposed to DO with all this extra time. AH! There’s the rub. By this time I was depressing myself so I decided to make a small detour to a nearby restaurant where I knew there was a full bar.  Not that I needed a full bar. I wasn’t THAT depressed.  But one nice cold margarita ­ no salt please ­ would be good company right now. So now I am at the bar.  The drink is doing its part to cheer me up but I seem to be digging myself into deeper and deeper holes. Does any designer consider the ³mature² market when designing clothes?  No on I’ve seen.  Women’s dresses are short and perky, great look for a 17 year old.  And according to Vanity Fair, men are going in for the slim – straight leg pants that do nothing to flatter any but the models chosen to show them off. There isn’t an extra inch for that beer belly that just seems to happen to most guys.

So obviously Fashion isn’t my world anymore, but how about entertainment? I like funny movies.  But I need one that doesn’t represent itself as “A great new raunchy fun fest ­ not for sensitive ears.” Okay guys, my ears are not that sensitive, but if you can’t come up with a joke that doesn’t consider  four letter words as the world’s best joke line, then it’s not for me and not for a whole lot of people apparently according to what’s happening in theaters today ­ as in THEY ARE NOT FULL! Now here’s the thing.  I don’t expect a world to age with me.  I firmly believe that kids need  their own entertainment and clothes and strange games that require no interaction with others.  I’m not asking anyone to rethink fashion or fast foods. But there IS a very large market out there, made up of men and women over 60, who have money to spend and brains that still function and ideas that have yet to be explored. I think there are jobs that older people can fill and music that we can dance to and sing along wit, and, with any luck at all, lyrics that matter enough that the vocalists will remember them because they are clever, or romantic or amusing.  Just think of that concept.  Singing words that mean something. And that you sing without reading from a Smart phone as you sing them. All of these things are pushing at me.  It is something I noticed many years ago but not until after I had outgrown being so much smarter than all the men and women who were older than I was at the time. In our rush to be forever young, we forgot to figure out what to do with folks who aren’t  And, as far as I can see, we continue to invent new ways to make it worse.

Plastic Surgery is a source of worry ­ and some amusement ­ to me.  I remember the first time I noticed this particular effect.  I was in a room with three young women.  I’d guess median age was about 30.  Luckily they had all dyed their hair different colors so I could tell them apart, but they all had the same doctor so their noses matched.  They all had DDD breasts above 20 inch waists.  They all had floppy hairdos which each of them managed to toss with exactly the same motion. I watched them in some confusion and then I realized what was bugging me. They were all the same person and we only really need one. If that. Joan Rivers was famous for things she’d had remodeled, someone once said that her face was stretched so tight that when she sat down her mouth opened.  I think that might have been an exaggeration.   Also believe it might was Joan who said it. The thing is, we need to get over thinking that there is an option.  People are going to age.  Their talents and abilities are going to change.  But if we are gong to continue to make life beyond a hundred a daily occurrence, then let’s start giving some thought to what we are going to do with us elders, stead of turning us in to liabilities. No man or woman who has grown accustomed to doing things for him or herself is going to rejoice in the role of dependent.  Nor do we, on the whole, think that moving in to another woman’s home is a splendid solution to much of anything.

Oh, right here’s one more thing.  Auto insurance.  I think it should be illegal for companies to charge by years.  I believe that, after age 75, older drives should be tested each year to make sure their reflexes are still quick, that they can see well enough to identify other moving objects. That sort of thing.  Not a written test.  Instead, one where they go one on one with a qualified instructor.  If they fail, they fail, but if they pass, I believe older drivers should receive

the same rates as anyone on the road.

There’s more, but I’m guessing you’ve got the point by now.  If not…


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