Good old days? Poor us!

Posted on February 11, 2009
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Probably because internet email makes it easy, I receive dozens of messages every day. Many of these have to do with the frailties of age. For example, you know you are getting old when you and your teeth sleep in separate rooms.

Others have to do with how the world is in a state of rapid moral decline or specific examples of the fanatic perfidy of people of other races, religions and political persuasions.

Still more have to do with how great things were in the good ol’ days.

I am more and more discomfited by them.

There was an antique show in Gulfport, Florida, this weekend. It featured old signs, brochures, and thousands of old post cards.

Among them were many that were sickeningly racist. One shows a group of black children playing on the shore as a large alligator approaches. The caption reads “Gator bait.”   Another shows an alligator making off with a black man in its jaws. The caption reads “Free lunch in the everglades.”

Most of the cards showing blacks or Seminole Indians show them in demeaning, or stereotypical poses.

The cards portray women too in the standard condescending images of 50 to 80 years ago.

Good old days? Want to go back? Not me!

Wallowing in old

I also wonder why so many people seem so content to wallow in the downside of being older.

Sure, we do all decline physically a bit as we age. In actual scientific fact, I think it starts when we are about 18.

On the other hand, for people of my generation there are things like hip replacement, knee replacement, cataract removal, modern dentistry, access to fresh fruit and vegetables and dozens of different exercise options. Surgery now routinely fixes things that we once just had to learn to endure.

Many of us are not only healthier than previous generations but also healthier than we ourselves were in our prime working years. Quite a gang of us quit smoking.

Certainly, we would all like to have the fabulous young bodies we see all around us. On the other hand, many of us never did have those bodies. We tend to forget how physical beauty determined so much of our social life. The most intelligent, sensitive and creative people among us were often the loneliest.

I wish I knew and could give credit to whoever said, “Until we are 40, nature is responsible for our face. After that, we are.”

Warmth, wit, generosity, optimism and wisdom are what make our friends’ faces beautiful.

It would be great to have our lives ahead of us. The present and the future are exciting indeed. On the other hand, many of us saw Bobby Orr play hockey and partied to Matt Minglewood and Dutchie Mason and Sam Moon in our own local bars. We would like to have youth but we wouldn’t want to give up any of the jewels in our memory vaults.

Great grand hotties

I am also starting to hit on great grandmothers. They are a completely new field for me. Some of these women are more fun than a toy steam engine. They seem to like it. At the same time, the young women are naturally less threatened by a flirting geezer. Some of them are fun too.

Finally, why spend time reminding ourselves about things we cannot change and deluding ourselves that society was better in earlier decades?

At one time, I started the Miramichi Nighthawks International. It was people who liked sunrise but would rather stay up for it than get up for it. It was also a defense against the smug morning people who seemed to feel morally superior.

The club grew to a couple of thousand members before becoming suddenly extinct. As self-appointed High Hawk, a suitably ambiguous title, I had arbitrarily issued all memberships to expire on December 31, 1999. Who knew any of us would survive that party? At the stroke of midnight, the movement suddenly and completely expired.

Perhaps it is time I started a new one with memberships to expire on December 31, 2999.

Getting back on topic, should we start a movement of people who reject whimpering about getting older and whining about the good old days?

For starters, please delete my name from any distribution list of reminders of the failings of age. Ditto for ones about how great things were when white, Anglo Saxon, Protestant, heterosexual men had all the rights, power and smug sense of moral superiority.

If you are with me on the idea of forming a movement to celebrate the wealth of knowledge, experience, friends and memories we have and continue to build, please add your ideas.

Being the wise people we are, we should concentrate on a very loose organization. Night Hawk meetings were called after they were held so there was always perfect attendance. A group of people would be partying and notice a rosy glow in the sky. Any Hawk in attendance would then call a meeting and, of course, everyone there was present.

We need policies and procedures no more demanding than that.

Let’s just concentrate on enjoying to the best of our ability every healthy, comfortable minute we have.

On we go!                     DAC


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