essays

The Geezer Factor

caketopperIt kind of sneaks up on you and then suddenly -- it’s there. Age bias, if you want to get technical about it, or let’s just call it the “geezer factor.”

You overhear someone asking for directions and then you hear, “Ask the old guy over there.” and realize they are pointing at you. Or you are waiting to buy a movie ticket and the ticket seller asks if you want the senior citizen rate.

You may not think you’re getting older, but news flash!! -- the rest of the world does. As loads of boomers pass the 60 mark they must come to grips with their changing personas. You didn’t have a clue what you were talking about once you passed 40, but when you reach 60, you really hit the stupid button. Ever heard the saying, “When I was 16 I couldn’t believe how stupid my father was, but Jamshedpurwhen I reached 30, I could not believe how much the old guy had learned. Well, it’s a great line but I’m not sure that very many 30 year olds believe it.

We think we have all this experience and wisdom to pass along to the younger generations, but they (I generalize a lot) think we are just gray haired nincompoops. I admit that my tolerance for those pesky skateboarders is somewhere between zilch and none, but I like to think that I am open to hearing new music, film and internet sensations (everything but American Idol -- that’s just too ridiculous). In fact, sometimes I know more about obscure cultural references than the thirty somethings who think they are so hip. For example, I know that 4:20 or four-twenty is a euphemism for marijuana, but I had to go to Wikipedia to learn that its origins were high school students at San Rafael, CA high school who went out visionaryartsmuseumto smoke dope after school at 4:20 pm every day. I had to explain this one day to a thirty something who didn’t understand why April 20th is a holiday among high schoolers.

But on looks alone, I now realize that I must appear irrelevant to someone 20 years younger. Between gravity and grayness, our bodies betray us in more ways than one. Besides the health maladies that come with age, our bodies take away any chance we have to look and act younger than we really are. Well, maybe I’m still acting younger because I’m not giving in to thinking like I’m older.

Put another way, I’m not dead yet

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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