Dear Old People

cassette-tape

Okay, old people!  STOP IT!  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  We all know life was a gigantic hot fudge sundae back in the 70s or the 30s or whenever the hell you thought you were cool, but it’s time to give it a rest.  Every generation thinks they’re the best: take a listen to ancient Boomers yipping about the 60s as if it were an expensive suburb of Nirvana.  (It’s long past time to shoot that myth in the head, BTW.)  I’m not saying we shouldn’t be nostalgic for that magical time when we were young, beautiful, full of hormones and immortal (guilty as charged) but could we just shut up about it for five minutes? Here are a few facts old people need to remember before they start shouting their mouths off.

Nobody cares that you can rewind a cassette tape with a pencil.

Yeah, telephones were attached to the wall.  Big wow!  All that meant is every time you were talking to your friends, your mom, your dad and your dog could hear the entire conversation.

No matter how you spin it, watching a 6-year-old edited movie with a ton of advertising — on a 32 inch television set — is just not as good as watching a first-run HD film on a 60 inch big screen.  Especially when you were busting your bladder, waiting for the commercials so you could go pee without missing something.

Water from the garden hose was just water; it wasn’t 30-year-old Chablis.

The major difference between riding a bike with a helmet and riding a bike without one is – uh – I don’t know – brain damage?

The truth is, it was totally crappy to take a pile of pictures at your grandma’s 90th birthday party and find out — three days later — that half of them were out of focus.

The only reason Pong™ was cool is that’s all we had.

Carrying a camera, a Walkman™, a guide book, binoculars, a map, a pen, paper and a pocketful of coins, for pay phones and parking, when you went on vacation, was a total pain in the ass.  It’s a wonder everybody over 30 doesn’t walk with a limp.

And speaking of maps.  Cruising down the highway at 70 mph while simultaneously trying to find your exit on an uncooperative paper map the size of your dining room table was really kinda stressful.  And refolding the damn thing after you were done was even worse.

But the thing old people need to remember most about “the good old days” is:

It actually wasn’t all that much fun getting choked with cigarette smoke — in bars, restaurants, office buildings, on the streets, at the airport, in the park and (and this is true) in doctors’ offices and maternity wards.

Free Old Man Advice

old man

When I was kid, old people always started their stories with “When I was your age …” and then they’d ramble on for awhile until one of us got bored.  They meant well, like a strange dog licking your face, but, since I had no idea what — uh — life experiences their tongues had been through, wagging them at me about life, love and the logistics of adolescent sex was kinda icky.  Fast forward 50 years, and now I’m the guy telling the stories.  Luckily, these days, young people aren’t forced to be as polite as we were, so most of my tales remain untold, thank God!  However, on occasion I do feel the need to bore the hell out of people with some free old man advice.

Never drink Tequila on an empty stomach.  Unlike most alcohol, tequila is unforgiving, and whereas you’re probably going to do something stupid with whiskey, beer and even red wine, tequila will turn you into the Mad Hatter, escaped from Wonderland.  One time, in a border town called Sierra Vista — well — let’s just say nearby Fort Huachuca is a CIA listening post, and even though they’re awfully busy. sometimes they’re very interested in listening to a loudmouth Canadian.

Don’t waste your breath telling people to “Calm down!”  (Does this ever work?)  Once, through no fault of my own, I made a rude hand gesture to a biker, his girlfriend and his somewhat larger companion.  And believe me, telling them to “calm down” was not as useful as the cops who showed up in the nick of time.

Definitely, sweat the details!  It’s never the big stuff that does you in, but forget one condom (twice) at the Alpha Phi Sorority’s Hayride-Under-The-Stars, and you’re in for four weeks of protracted anxiety.

Unless your doctor has absolutely no sense of humour, never listen to your inner child — ’cause when you try to explain how you burned your private parts with chocolate sauce and get your foot caught in the toaster, it’ll be a lot easier if she doesn’t burst out laughing halfway through.

And that’s the problem with old people telling stories — even though they might offer some sage advice, they’re normally pretty boring.

Do You Act Your Age?

hourglassI had a birthday the other day.  (Years ago, I lied to Mark Zuckerberg, so nobody’s really sure when it was.)  Anyway, I kinda got to thinkin’ about getting older (notice, I didn’t say “old”) and discovered nobody really knows anything about it.  Basically, we travel along the road of life and all the signposts are either torn down or written in Babylonian.  So, at the end of the day, none of us really knows where we’re going, ’cause it’s all unfamiliar territory.  So, I decided to draw a quick-and-dirty map.

Shakespeare got it wrong: there are really only five stages of life.  They are Kid, Teenager, Young Adult, Adult, and Adult Plus.  So, in each of the categories, select the attitude that most closely resembles yours, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of where you are on this journey we call life.

AGE

Kid – I’m this many!
Teenager – Boy, when I get older …
Young Adult – Age is just a number.  I know a lot of totally old people who like to PARTY.
Adult – We never had/did stupid crap like that when I was young.
Adult Plus – How the hell did this happen?

WEEKEND LEISURE

K – I played some games, had my special lunch and a nap, watched TV, had a story and went night-night.
T – Nothing!  Just hanging out with my friends.  God! Why do you always have to give me the 3rd degree?  This place is like a prison.
YA – PARTY !!!!!!
A – I worked my ass off for this Christmas/ birthday/ vacation/ dinner party/  (fill in the blank) and now we’re going to damn well enjoy it!
A+ – I played some computer games, made a sandwich, took a nap, binge-watched The Killing and fell asleep reading my book.

FOOD

K – Grandma, I like pizza, too.
T – Chicken and stuffed peppers, again?  How come we never get pizza?
YA – Let’s go get a pizza before the PARTY.
A – I’m way too tired to cook.  I’ll just pick up a pizza on the way home.
A+ – Let’s get a pizza and see what’s on Netflix.

FRIENDS

K – Tommy and Shafir and Gemma and Mrs. Windouffer and Barnsy and Bunny and Megan and ….
T – Everybody hates me.
YA – My BFF is Stacey. We PARTY all the time, but I’m — like — totally friends with everybody — except Emma; she’s such a bitch.
A – If you don’t count family, we don’t have that many close friends.  Maybe Jake and Trina or Paul and Sasha from work. But have you ever noticed when you know a couple, there’s always one that you like way more than the other one?
A+ – Yeah, we have friends, but it’s so much nicer just to come home and relax.  Besides, once Edna takes her bra off, you need a team of horses to get her out of the house.

FAMILY

K – There’s Mommy and Daddy and Daddy’s new friend Ryan and my stupid sister and Barnsy the dog and me
T – This family sucks.
YA – I should call the parents more often, but mom’s always going on about grandchildren like I’m some kind of a brood mare.  I’ll call next Friday before the PARTY.
A – I spend so much time taking the kids to school and ballet and soccer and band practice.  And then there’s grandma’s grocery shopping and dad to his doctor’s appointments and every other “come-get-me” emergency.  I should just get my chauffeurs’ license and go into business for myself!
A+ – I love her dearly, but it was only supposed to be temporary after she broke up with Rashir.  If Audrey doesn’t get her head on straight pretty soon and move out of the basement, I’m probably going to kill her.