[EDITORIAL NOTE: Over the weekend, I played hooky a bit from the work I should have been doing to spend time lost in a couple of books. One of them, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes was a re-read that was even more engrossing and more enlightening about what it means to get old than the first two times I read it.
I have added it (the only novel so far) to my list of Best Books on Aging. It needs some further updating which I will try to get around to soon. But if you haven't looked at it - the list - you might be interested.]
We all say stupid things when we are young. What Crabby Old Lady objects to, however, is that those who are too young to have accumulated much useful knowledge, information and experience are deliberately allowed to embarrass themselves in public.
Take this story from Huffington Post titled Six Signs You're Aging Well. Let Crabby stop right there and ask what “aging well” means?
The generous answer is that the story is about being healthy but Crabby was pretty sure, when she clicked the link, that thought would prove to be too generous.
And so it was - revealing a list that could be compiled only by someone with zero knowledge, let alone understanding, of old people. Among the six signs:
•Your pants have a zipper (instead of an elastic waist)
•You left your big-button phone in the 1990s where it belongs
•You have an online checking account
When Crabby checked to see who writes such patronizing claptrap she found this biography:
“Yagana Shah is Huff/Post50's associate editor. She received her master's in journalism from the University of Maryland and interned with USA Today. Her interests include health news, bucket lists, and the British royal family.”
Do you suppose it was Arianna Huffington's idea to give a kid working her first paying job the geriatric beat? Is it Arianna Huffington who approves this kind of age-contemptuous drivel? And does she know that this is only the most recently egregious of such belittling contempt for old people that regularly appears on Huffpost (among sometimes better stuff)?
Crabby wanted to believe the story (well, that's inflating it; it's really just a listicle) resulted from someone's lapse in judgment, that a busy editor let it slip through. But when Crabby saw Ms. Shah's previous story - Five Sure Fire Signs You're Aging Too Fast - there was no misunderstanding that it wasn't deliberate.
Just the title, in this case, is demeaning and wait until you get a load of those five signs:
• Being More forgetful
• Dry mouth
• Dull, Uneven Skin Tone
• Bloodshot/Red Eyes
As though only old people suffer these common indignities.
Ms. Shah has advice for elders about what to do for these conditions some of which she has cribbed from Dr. Mehmet Oz - you know, that paragon of trained physicians who promotes miracle weight loss potions.
Crabby feels bad taking down this young woman. Well, only a little. Ms. Shah lists a master's degree in journalism which confers – or should – some degree of knowledge that is absent in her advice columns for old people.
What Crabby mostly feels bad about is that this young woman, apparently due to a lack of adult supervision on the job, is made to look foolish so publicly.
But Crabby feels worse that existing prejudices about old people are reinforced. Thanks to such thoughtless ignorance, it will take longer than usual for young readers to realize there is just as much good living to be had with wrinkles, constipation and even dull skin as when one is young.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mary Mack: Endless Bars of Soap