In most instances, Crabby Old Lady dislikes age humor. The largest number of jokes repetitively concentrate on debility regarding the bathroom, memory and sex - and worse, they’re not even funny. These three [one-liners, in the interest of brevity] are representative:
You know you’re old when…
- An all-nighter means not getting out of bed to pee.
- Getting a little action means you don't need to take any fiber today.
- Getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.
Crabby will not be offended if you accuse her of lacking a funny bone. Nevertheless, these produce only a shrug in her - eh, been there, heard that and - they aren't funny.
Bad jokes are one thing; ageism is another. And that's what these jokes and so many like them do: they perpetuate negative stereotypes of older folks.
“…the 2001 survey by Duke University's Erdman Palmore, PhD, also revealed that the most frequent type of ageism - reported by 58 percent of respondents - was being told a joke that pokes fun at older people.” [Emphasis added]
- - apa.org, 5 May 2003
According to a study conducted by psychologist Becca Levy, assistant professor of public health at Yale University, negative attitudes can cause early death:
“In Levy's longitudinal study of 660 people 50 years and older, those with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer than those with negative self-perceptions of aging.”
- - apa.org, 5 May 2003
Crabby thinks it is particularly disturbing when older people themselves tell insulting or cruel jokes about being old.
Certainly what provokes many jokes about being old is the normal aging process that we all know has only one destination, and some “old” jokes have a quality of whistling past the graveyard about them.
And that’s a good thing. Humor gets us through tough times, if even for only a few moments, and in the best jokes, not only is there some wit and a surprise in the punchline, but a bit of human truth. Here are three jokes about older folks that made Crabby laugh out loud:
Three elderly men were at the doctor for a memory test. The doctor asked the first man, "What is three times three?" "274," was his reply.
The doctor said to the second man, "It's your turn. What is three times three?" "Tuesday", he replied.
Then the doctor asked the third man, "Okay, your turn. What's three times three"? "Nine", he answered. "That's great!" said the doctor. "How did you get that answer?”
"Easy," said the third man. "I subtracted 274 from Tuesday."
A pious man who had reached the age of 105 suddenly stopped going to temple. Alarmed by the old fellow's absence after so many years of faithful attendance, the Rabbi went to see him.
He found the man in excellent health, so the Rabbi asked, "How come after all these years we don't see you at services anymore?"
The old man looked around and lowered his voice. "I'll tell you, Rabbi," he whispered. "When I got to be 90, I expected God to take me any day. But then I got to be 95, then 100, then 105. So I figured that God is very busy and must've forgotten about me. And I don't want to remind Him."
A reporter was interviewing a 104 year-old woman: "And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked.
She replied: "No peer pressure."