By Monte Lazarus
A while ago a newspaper report referred to someone as “elderly”. Since I find myself in the same age bracket I take umbrage at that characterization. I AM NOT ELDERLY. I am a geezer. That is different. Being a geezer means that I can buy discount tickets for movies and rides at amusement parks. Aha! Amusement parks. Elderly people do not go to amusement parks.
I examined my situation and it’s clear that I don’t qualify as elderly. For example, my running times are virtually identical now to my high school times. The only difference is distance: I run 100 yards in the same time as I used to run the mile. The key, of course is time. Forget distance.
I am still upright (usually), and I rarely need assistance walking. Since I am naturally clumsy there’s not much difference in the way I totter now and the way I tottered 30 years ago. I even refuse to get a handicapped parking sticker for my car.
Some whippersnappers call me “sir”. I’ve never been knighted by the queen, and I never shall be; I was only a sergeant in the army. I flatly refuse being called “sir”, and I refuse to acknowledge it. My great-grandchildren do not call me “great-grandpa”. They call me “grandpa” or a lot of mumble-jumble I don’t understand. It’s not my hearing at fault; it’s their inability to speak clearly.
My son-in-law and I often discuss baseball. I tell him tales of seeing Lou Gehrig and getting autographs of such as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Pee Wee Reese and Phil Cavaretta (that’s a throw-away for poor Cubs fans). That’s not elder-talk. It’s only my status as an historian.
On a certain unnamed cruise line I believe I am one of the younger guests. I even eat chewable main courses for dinner. It’s reached the point, however, where I just cannot find anything in common with all those old people. So we’ve switched cruise lines.
You will never catch me calling a 60 year old “sonny”. So, why should they call me “elderly”? It’s an insult, and I demand fairness in labeling.
It may be true – it is true – that when I have enough courage to look in a mirror I see a lot more gray hair, any number of wrinkles, furrows, scars and stuff a dermatologist won’t even touch. That doesn’t make me “elderly”. Just experienced.
What’s that you say? Give me a minute to adjust my hearing aid.