Even though my 70th birthday is rapidly approaching I have to say, in all truth, that I don’t much like senior citizens.
For the majority of them on one magical day, their 65th birthday, a transformation begins. In a few short years, it changes them from polite reasonable people into obnoxious, rude, greedy, inconsiderate, intolerant, self-centered individuals. They don’t give a damn about anyone other than themselves. I could never live in a retirement community. If I had to live totally surrounded by the blue-haired, support hose brigade, I would undoubtedly turn into a mass murderer or end up sucking on a gas pipe.
The Lightness of Being Suddenly Senior
Here are just a few of my life experiences that have turned me against my peers.
Senior Discount Day
I never go to the grocery store on Wednesday, senior discount day. The few times that I did, I left there so damned mad that I had to make a choice. I could either go over to the bar and have a couple of stiff ones or going home and kick the dog.
On senior discount day, it takes at least twenty minutes to breach the Berlin wall of shopping carts in front of the meat counter. The old folks are all standing there in a trance looking at the meat before making their selections. After they leave the meat counter, their next stop is in front of the dairy case. Therefore, it takes you at least ten minutes to just get a gallon of milk. If you dare to say excuse me and try to get them to move, they look at you like they caught you raping their granddaughters. You couldn’t move them with a bulldozer until they are damn good and ready to move on.
The rest of your shopping is running an obstacle course of aisles. They’re all blocked by people either talking to others or picking up each item and looking at it before putting it back on the shelf. No way in hell will they keep their carts on the side of the aisle so someone could get past them. They’re right down the middle and screw everyone else. It takes the average senior at least three minutes to decide which can of soup they want. For Christ’s sake, Campbell’s noodle soup is Campbell’s noodle soup, so what difference does it make which can you take; they are all the same. Your best bet on senior discount day is to park your cart in front of the baby food. Then you can sneak down the aisles, grab what you need, and get the hell out of there.
When you do finally make it to the checkout, there is always some old doll in front of you. She waits until her purchases are rung up to dig into her purse. She’ll come up with an envelope full of those wonderful coupons she got in the mail or cut out of the paper. It takes her quite a bit of time to go through them and find the ones that apply. She watches the cashier like a hawk to make she gets every penny she is entitled. If one of the coupons won’t scan because it is about a year past its expiration date, she throws a fit. She’ll claim she got it in the mail the week before.
Only after she is satisfied that the clerk has done things right, she digs through he purse to pull out her checkbook. She writes a check and takes five minutes to balance it. The bag boy is standing there with a look on his face like she had better hurry up so he can get her stuff to her car before he pisses in his pants.
In the meantime, there is some old codger behind you who keeps bumping you with his cart. He is convinced that you are the one that is slowing things up. You’re stopping him from getting up to the register. He thinks you’re pulling the same kind of crap the old harridan did. It takes all of your will power to keep yourself from kicking the old broad in the ass and punching the geezer’s lights out.
When you get to your car and try to pull out, there is usually some old fool who is blocking you. They’re sitting and waiting for a parking place to open up closer to the door. Honking doesn’t do a damn thing; you have to resign yourself to wait along with them. I only do our grocery shopping at lunchtime on other weekdays when most of the other seniors are over at the local senior center devouring ninety-cent lunches.
Dollar Store Raffles
We have a dollar store in town that gives you a ticket for a raffle for twenty dollars worth of free merchandise with every purchase. The drawing is every Saturday morning. I made the mistake of stopping one Saturday morning this spring to get some paper goods. I couldn’t get through the damn door for all the old folks waiting to see if they won. Luckily, I had other errands to run. When I went back past it looked safe, so I went in and got what I needed.
When I was checking out, I asked the clerk if it was always like that on Saturday morning. Her answer was “God yes, this morning was quieter than normal”. She went on to tell me that all week long seniors come and buy something for under a dollar just to get a ticket. Quite a few will buy one cheap item, check out, get a ticket, and put their purchase in their car. They then come back in and buy something else to get another ticket. Quite a few will make five to ten trips in and out to improve their chance to get something for free. Looks like after 65 anything goes.
Senior Clinic Visits
Once a month I have to take my disabled wife into the clinic. She needs blood work and to get a check on her temperature, respiratory function, and blood pressure. The waiting room always has about fifteen members of the poly-grip platoon who got there at least an hour before their appointments. They arrive for the free coffee, doughnuts, and muffins in the morning and cookies and punch in the afternoon.
My wife is in a wheelchair and none of them will ever think of getting out of the way so we can sign in. The sign in the area is right next to the where the freebies are. They never allow us to find a clear space that is a comfortable place for her to wait to be called in. She usually ends sitting in the hall by the door. Very little heat in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer by the door. They are comfortable and why should they care about anyone else.
My wife usually only needs lab work and a quick check by a nurse. She doesn’t need to see a doctor most of the time, so she is called in quickly. Every time some old asshole starts yelling that they got there before she did and it isn’t right that she got to go in before they did. It doesn’t matter that their appointment isn’t for another half hour. All they can think about is that someone might be getting a little better service than they are.
Screw anyone else; they are the most important person there and everyone should know it. God forbid that anyone younger than they are gets to see the doctor before they do. The young mother with the two restless children can just wait because bingo at the Senior Center starts in an hour and they hate being late. After all, they are senior citizens and are entitled to special treatment. The magic of the 65th birthday.
Mistake of Volunteering
For several years, my wife was the editor of a senior newsletter put out by a major charity in Chicago. I made the mistake of volunteering to help out at a few functions that a buffet lunch was provided and packets of freebies were passed out. The first thing this experience taught me was to never get between a group of seniors and anything that is free.
You are putting yourself in harm’s way if you do.
The second thing I learned was to guard the buffet tables. If you don’t, most of the food would disappear. They stick it into purses and pockets before about half of those attending got a chance to eat. These were not people from the ghetto. The majority of them came from the more affluent neighborhoods and got there in their Lincolns and Cadillacs.
My bank puts out a large tray of donuts and an urn of coffee every morning. From the time the doors open until the donuts run out, the lobby is full of greedy geezers. Most don’t have any business to conduct but they are there every morning. In the winter, it can get down to twenty below or more. Somehow, they make it in for the freebies. I guess part of turning 65 is getting greedy.
Awful Senior Drivers
One of the joys of living out in the country is the narrow township roads. Half the time when you have to go anywhere, you end up behind some old idiot speeding right down the middle of the road. They go eight miles an hour and would never think of pulling over so you could pass.
There is no way in hell that you can get around them. If you tried, you would end up in the ditch. When an oncoming vehicle approaches, they wait until it is only going about 10 mph before they pull over to the right and as soon as they can pull right back into the middle of the road. There are no side roads that you can take to circle around on so you end up staying behind them. After a couple of miles, you start thinking of at least ten forms of painful euthanasia.
I have been active in raising funds for those who are suffering from being involved in Bush’s illegal war. The majority of the time, when I approach most of our seniors for support, all I get are platitudes. They say things like “that is too bad”, “my heart goes out to them”, or “they are in my prayers”. However, the padlock stays on their purses and wallets. As long as nobody is shooting at them or theirs, they don’t much give a shit about what happens to anyone else.
Terrorist Won’t Attack Seniors
I hear a lot of comments about their worries about terrorist attacks but get real; up here on the Northern Great Plains there isn’t one God damned thing that a self-respecting terrorist would ever think of attacking.
Terrorists aren’t going to waste their time attacking Sun City or any other retirement community across this country. They have much better targets in mind. Some ask “what about if I want to go into the city and see a ball game”? If you think it is dangerous to go to the ballpark, stay home. You are going to be more comfortable and beer doesn’t cost six bucks a pop. Just watch the game on TV.
Thanks a lot, Mr. Bush and the corporate media. You have scared the shit out of the senior citizens so they don’t object to all the other crap.
They are all vocal about their version of what is causing this country to be going downhill. Illegal immigrants that sneak into the country to work their asses off on jobs no one else will take are ruining this country. Some of them keep sending money back home that should stay here.
When asked why it is bad for them to try to support their families when our government sends hundreds of billions to foreign countries every year the answer is usually “we have to send that money so those people can learn our American way of doing things”.
They insist that money earned in this country should stay here. All the clothes on their back came from Asia and their TV from Japan. They drive a foreign-made car and even the Smith Bros cough drop they are sucking on was made in Mexico. I won’t go into their misconceptions about what undocumented aliens are doing to Social Security.
Most don’t believe that if you don’t put anything into it you can’t get anything out. Most of us are descendants of immigrants. They all come back with “my ancestors came to this country to make a better life for themselves and their families not just take money”. I think that the immigration issue was only brought to the forefront to get people to ignore more important issues. When I state this, they just look at me like I called them a dirty name.
They go on and on about things like abortion, gay marriage, lack of prayer in school, and a million other things they don’t like. They don’t have the slightest idea of what the real major issues are. If I try to correct one of their misconceptions all you get back is a brain dead answer. It’s not what Oprah, Dr. Phil, their priest or minister, Jimmy Swaggert, or some other bible beating bunko artist on TV said. Therefore, you are dead wrong and have to be insane to even think that way.
We have tried hard to get our seniors to email, call, or write our elected representatives on Capitol Hill. They need to express their concerns about issues that affect them. The pat answers we get are; I don’t have a computer, stamps cost money and long-distance calls make my phone bill to high. Most forget that quite a few of the political whores have 1-800 numbers. It would take some effort to speak out while Oprah is on.
A few words for my contemporaries.
We are the ones that caused the mess that this country is in now by our apathy and inaction. Therefore, we owe it to those who follow us to forget being entertained for a while. We must get up off our asses and do what we can to straighten things out.
My advice is to wake up, keep informed, think things out, and then act. Above all don’t let someone else do your thinking for you. You must realize that elected politicians and the talking heads are nothing more than prostitutes selling themselves to entities. They do not have your best interests at heart. Money talks and we walk.
On my 65th birthday, a wonderful 103-year-old lady gave me some advice. I told her I didn’t like the idea of growing old because I didn’t want to end up being like most of the seniors that I knew. Her words of wisdom were “Son, old age is just a state of mind and only becomes a mindless state if you let it”.
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