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The news this week has been loathsome (White House security-clearance scam), and also unbearably sad (Parkland, Florida, school massacre). Without disregarding either of those events, Crabby Old Lady thought that this might be a good week to give ourselves a break with something a lot less consequential.
For as long as Crabby has been writing this blog, about every year or two there has been a flurry of news stories about names grandparents want the grandchildren to call them.
They apparently take a different direction from days of yore when we were children. None of this grandpa or grandma stuff for today's elders. Not even the old-country traditions of bubbe, opa or nana.
Jane Brody, writing in The New York Times last month, tells us that a new book, Georgia Witkin’s The Modern Grandparent’s Handbook, lists 251 grandparental names,
”...divided by gender into three categories: Traditional, Trendy and Playful. I wouldn’t volunteer to be known as Sweetums, G-dawg, Faux Pa or Grandude, however playfully, but apparently some folks have,” writes Brody.
You can bet your booty that a grandchild of Crabby's (if she had any) would call her “Sweetums” only once.
Like most of the past stories Crabby Old Lady has seen on grandparent names, Brody blames the boomer generation for the untraditional new names, who will do pretty much everything possible to pretend they are not getting old, including this name silliness.
'...here’s my deeper suspicion:” she writes. “However mightily my peers may pine for grandchildren and adore them when they arrive, some don’t want to acknowledge being old enough to be dubbed Grandpop or Granny.
“Such names conjure up gray hair and orthopedic shoes, along with a status our society may honor in the abstract but few boomers actually welcome. We too often won’t use hearing aids, even if we need them. We may not claim the senior discount at the movie theater.
“We don’t want these wondrous new creatures calling us names that signify old age, either.”
This is where Brody – or, more specifically, the boomers she knows – goes off the rails: what is wrong with gray hair, Crabby wants to know? Or with orthopedic shoes? Or movie discounts?
Worst of all, if you don't wear needed hearing aids, you are too stupid for Crabby Old Lady to bother with you.
If Crabby were a grandmother, she'd go with Grandma or Granny. Both of them state a fact – always a good thing – and slide off the tongue nicely. What about you? Accusations of boomer ageism notwithstanding, let's see if there is a consensus about grandparent names around this blog.
What do the grandchildren call you? Do you like it? Who chose it? And what's the most inventive or interesting or odd name you've heard for Grandma or Grandpa?