Elder Swag


The greatest part of being old. You get to speak in code. Oh, the younger people think they have their very own language, i.e. Urban Dictionary. But I have just begun to realize the benefits of being old. I didn’t always look forward to it. But now I know, I’ve accepted my fate. I’m not worried. I know I have, what I like to call, ‘Elder Swag.’

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I guess it came as quite a shock, that I am actually counted among these stodgy people. I never imagined this day. I think it hit me a few weeks back, when I was in Denny’s. I sat at a table, with my son, his father, my brother and my mother. As the waitress handed us our menus, my ex husband said, “You know, you get a senior discount.”

After I finished choking on my coffee, (which was also discounted) I commented, “But I’m only 55!” “Yea, it says right here,” he began to point at the menu, and had I not needed to put my glasses on, I would have missed it.

“What in the world? That is waaaaay too young!” I said. A little irritated and somewhat excited at the same time. As if winning some kind of a prize, only to find out it was a re-gift, of a bad fruitcake.

“I don’t know if I should be happy or mad!” I said. But at that moment Rick looked at me and said, “Be happy until you’re finished eating. Then get mad.”

At this point I looked around and thought, “Hey, wait a minute! Everyone at this table, except my son, qualified for this discount.” Now I don’t feel so bad. I seem to have a lot of company.Then I started feeling sorry for the poor kid. Having such old people for parents.

Today, as I walked with my mom, she continued talking about her kids. I felt bad when she said, “she really doesn’t hear from her kids.” I tried to convince her that I am her kid. I just don’t want her to feel she’s neglected. But to no avail. She’s just not believing that I belong to her. I have been sad at times and at others amused, that she really doesn’t remember. I find that after an argument, she forgets we had one. When I place her, ‘memory patch,’ on her, I rub a little off for myself.

I felt better to finally understand that I don’t have a need for her to know I’m her daughter, as it is important that she knows, her children haven’t forgotten her. I told her this. “Mom, I just want you to know your daughter hasn’t neglected you. I am your daughter.” “Oh, come on! Do you think I’ve lost my mind?” She asked. I didn’t answer, although it was sitting at the very edge of my mouth, (no, just a part of it)

I sat and watched some shows with her later and I was laughing at all the medical problems which seemed to be an epidemic now. Or am I just more aware, since I’m a senior? I wondered out loud, “Why do all these problems come in code now? Acronyms for something which I’ve never heard of as being a condition. I wouldn’t say that the inablity to keep your legs still is a problem. If it is, my son has it too. But then there has to be a condition for being stuck in the sofa, like my mom. I’m sure I haven’t heard of it yet.

OAB-overactive bladder? Why don’t they just say, “I pee a lot? Or call it IPAL?” “Hey man! Don’t use a long word, where a short one will do.” Didn’t Mark Twain say that? My mother was laughing. She has not lost her humor. That’s good. I said, “Mom, they say that if your legs move to much, you have “Restless Leg Syndrome.” She is incredulous, as she says, “What?” I said, “Yea, I’m convinced that the doctors are making this stuff up, so they can sell medication.”

I told her, I’m sure that AARP, had something to do with this code language too. They started the whole club mentality. Like we should covet the idea of being accepted. All these ailments with the leaky pipes and things which always were normal, for old people. I guess it’s more exciting in the old conversations too. It’s like a special club and if you don’t know what the codes stand for, you sure aren’t in it! I picture an old dude standing at the entrance to the senior center, like a spy thriller, “What do you got?” Hmmm, as the old guy with his walker looks down, “Oh yea, IBS, with a side of Gert!” “Okay, come on in.”

Then they tell us that, if you have one of these conditions and are prescribed medicine, You are the one responsible to tell your doctor about all your medical history. Hey, isn’t that the doctors job? Why do we have to pay them, if we have to tell them what’s wrong?

The next dilemma is the whole Medicare/Social Security paperwork. My ex husband came over to ask for help in filling out his paperwork. Complicated more by his newly diagnosed cataracts. He said, “Don’t you think it’s kind of goofy, that when you’re this age, and you’re at the most difficult stage of your life, that you have to read and fill out all of this?” “Hmm, I said. That’s a valid point. Believe me, it’s designed to confuse. “Yea,” he said. “But think about someone like your poor mom trying to figure this out. The really take advantage of older people!” Incidentally, that’s a key strategy to point out old people which you consider much older than you. It minimizes the impact. (I do it all the time)

He sure is right about that. And it can only get worse. If I’m the one in charge of these other old people and we are all in this together; the trip to Denny’s is the easiest part of the journey. I’m thinking that the Old Fogies should have their own dictionary very soon. My mother has been telling my son for years, that, poop is not a word. “Poop deck or pooped out,” but no word such as poop!” She says. Well, I had to break the news about Al Roker’s own use of the word on national television. She was in shock at this. “See mom? It is now a part of our vocabulary. You know it is if someone like, Al Roker said it.”

In the old days, people just talked about their surgery’s and compared scars.These days the stars and football players alike, are modeling Depends. Oh sure, they say they’re not wearing them, just for advertising. (Yea, sure, whatever you say) But it won’t be long. May as well get comfortable.

We will be sitting in our rockers trying to text each other with those large print braille phones. Good thing we got a jump on the technology, so some of our abbreviations are part of normal conversation now. Since our arthritic fingers, just won’t be able to type on a keyboard and we sure want to tell our old buddies about the latest medical discovery. Which will most definitely be something cool. Like, BBS, (Butt, Boob Sag) With some great medication to tighten it all up.  Or perhaps, CFS, (Crooked Finger Syndrome) from all those fist bumps, or bird flipping, we did in our rebellious youth. Oh, and don’t forget about the PF(Purple Flurp) My son use this to describe the purple hue of bruising on our hands. All the years, of slapping our hands in ‘high fives.’ All the wear and tear, especially on those true sports jocks. How painful.

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We will not be able to hear each other, since we’re part of that, “Teenage Wasteland,” which has now become an ‘Old Fart Dumping Ground.’ I’m already beginning to see the future. When I watched the Stones the other day, I was scared. Why haven’t I ever noticed that even Keith Richards looks ancient? Okay, he has always been scary. But for some reason, he was the one person I thought I could always count on, as just having the crazy look. How could he possible become old, when he was using the medicines, long before he needed them? That was a real dose of reality. No more denying.

I’ve made up my mind; I’m signing off and filling out my AARP, before I forget what it is!

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Donald Dump and a Dog Named Bill


This kid is looking for trouble!

I took my mom, my son and my daughter out to dinner somewhere tonight. It was just a way of getting my mom out of the house. There are very few things we can do, which don’t require a lot of energy.

Today, my crazy cousin called. I can only handle him in small doses. But he does make me laugh. At one point, he said, “I’m bored and I really want to go somewhere. How deep is your pool?” Oh great, now he thinks he’s coming down here. “It’s way over your head!” I tell him.”Oh, and don’t even think you’re going to do what your mom did years ago.” I said. “She came for a visit, and I realized she had moved in,when her mail started coming to my house.!

My mom was sitting on the sofa,listening to my conversation and just laughing so hard. I love to see her laugh. This little anecdote, was about her sister, who has just passed away, and this made it all the more hilarious, to my mom. Not one to dwell on the sadness, we learned many years ago, to add humor to all of our suffering. This is what makes it bearable.

“Yes, I continued. Your mom really didn’t think I would know she was living with me.” I think it was about a month later, that Rick took her to the mall, so your sister could come and pick her up.” Now my mom was laughing even harder. This particular aunt, was always pretty crazy. So none of this was meant in any way to be cruel. We were joking about her, and her antics, the same way we did when she was alive.

Now, I listened to my cousin debating whether he should come down to Florida or go to see his brother in Texas. As he was thinking out loud, he said, “Well, I could go down by Terri’s wife. She lives in Florida too. But she only takes me out to fancy dinners, like old people do.” At this I began to laugh so hard, and repeated it to my mom. “He doesn’t want to go to his friend Cheryl’s house, because she just takes him to fancy dinners, like old people.” Then he started to explain, “Yea, you know, old people always say, “Hey, what do you want to do tonight? Why don’t we go to this place for dinner? Because they don’t do anything else.”

Oh, my gosh! If my cousin could see me this very minute. I’m officially an old person. Except for the fact that I am not taking my mother to a fancy dinner. Hey I thought old people, clipped coupons, and went for the Early Bird Special’s. Well, now I remembered, to my cousin, anything besides, McDonald’s, is fancy.

So, here I am. My brother went to his basketball game. And I thought,”You know, this might be something I can do with my mom and kids. Then again, perhaps my cousin subliminally, planted this in my old persons, head.

At any rate, my son, is always hilarious, so dinner has no boundaries. I don’t think I could possibly take him to any fancy dinner.So it’s not going to be part of my old person, repertoire. I have serious concerns when I watch him eat. Not to mention, the conversation. Oh, Lord, I say a silent prayer. for his future mate. His cute factor, can only carry him for so long. I can say, with all honesty, He did not develop these terrible manners, because of me. As much as I hope for him to change, no prodding or nagging, is going to change him. Even my daughter, tries in vain to advise him, and he seems to get a charge out of making us cringe.

But my mother? She loves everything he does and says. I admit, he gets her to do things she would never do. It is so funny that I am trying to capture them on video most of the time.

Now we are sitting at the table, and he says, “Grandma, I saw you on The Jersey Shore, in a hot tub, fist-pumping, with The Situation.” Of course my mother, had no idea, what he was talking about, but we all started laughing so hard. My daughter, who happens to love watching that show, was just cracking up. Then my son continues, “You remember, you were swimming in your bloomers! And pumping your fist in the air, like this; as he raises his fist and gives his best Jersey Shore, fist-pump.

Just the visual was making us laugh, and my daughter says, “Yea, and you had your purse hanging from your shoulder.” As we know, my mom, never leaves that purse anywhere.

Now, we were listening to my son again, as he changes the subject. He begins to talk about Donald Trump. At this I said his signature phrase; “You’re fired!” Now my son says, “Oh, you know what that sounds like? You farted!”

He continues, “They should have him named, Donald Dump, and he says, “You farted!” “Hey,that’s actually a good SNL skit.” I said. “You could have, a Donald Trump, lookalike, and his name is Donald Dump. He sits at a huge conference table, with a number of people and looks at one of them and says, “You farted!” As the person tries in vain to blame the other person.Donald asks his token, questions, just as he does on The Apprentice.He  looks to the person, who was paired with the violator and asks them, “What did he/she do, or not do, which could have prevented this flatulence? Do you think, they made wise choices?” They nervously look at each other, “Well, I didn’t want to say anything, Mr. Dump, but that, trip to the buffet table, was a Big mistake. When I saw him reaching for another plate of that broccoli, I knew it was all over!”

Now the look, which they all dread; Mr Dump,  looks at the offender, and speaks the two words, which illicit s pure terror, You farted! Please exit immediately.” At this the person, humiliated, slinks out of the room. The escort, parts company, as no one will share the elevator with him.

Now, my daughter reminded me of our trip to the doctor, this morning. I took my mom to the Behavioral Health Specialist. She cannot hear a word, psychiatrist, because she thinks that denotes, a label of crazy. Although, I wouldn’t argue against that belief, in my family. Now my daughter said, “Hey, do you remember that dog?””Oh, yes!” I said. “That was funny.” A woman was sitting with a little lap dog, in the lobby. They called her and name, and then looked at her dog and said, “Oh, look at Bill! She’s so cute!”

Wait a minute. I looked at my daughter, and my mom. When both the woman and her dog  entered into the office, I said, “Didn’t she refer to her dog as she? And it’s name is, Bill?” “Yes, my daughter said, and did you see, what Bill was wearing? She had on one of those things that Jewish people wear! The woman wrapped him in it.And said, she’s cold.” “Wait a minute!” I said. “So Bill, is not a male dog, but a female? He’s not rabid, but a Rabbi?” “It must have been the dog, that was going for therapy, not the woman!” Just when you think you have it bad, you find a dog, who has it worse! I shook my head.

Now we are all laughing as we discuss these this little episodes, together. It’s a team effort. And it’s all the makings of a hilarious skit, yet we are at dinner. I’m thinking, what kind of a family does this? As I watch my mom, laughing so hard, she’s almost crying, I think….who cares? These are the memories, which life is made of. I look at each day as an opportunity to write another skit. There’s a wealth of material!