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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Happy Hair Loss Restoration Month!”


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What in the world is going on in this country? Does everyone who has a product to promote, get a month or day, set aside for their ailment,so we can all spend money for the cause? Today, I saw a guy on some show, claiming that it is, Hair Loss Restoration Month. Gee, I didn’t know. Perhaps I should be sending cards to my friends, who are slowly losing their locks. The “hair challenged.” I suppose it’s an offensive remark now, to call someone ‘bald.’

I know this ailment. My father was completely bald, and he seemed proud of it. “Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street!” He always used to tell us. Over the years, we had seen him receive gifts, of ‘The bald comb,’ a coonskin cap, etc. He loved it. The time I saw his picture in his navy uniform, on my grandmother’s dresser, I exclaimed, Wow! Dad, you had hair!” I thought how handsome he looked. Only a boy. He’d lost his hair quite young.

Then there’s my mom. She had always had very thin hair. And even now, she refuses me to curl it, or fix it in any way. I get frustrated. I had pulled it into a cute pony tail, and she told me, “she didn’t want me to do it again.” I laughed, at the fact that her and I are completely different in this area. I always enjoyed fixing my hair and doing makeup. At a very young age. I would take her makeup out of her bedroom and put it on. I would study magazines and learn all the techniques. I took a charm book she had from her, when I was about 10, and studied it, as if it was my bible. I then took some of her dresses, and hand tailored them to fit me. She just laughed. I learned how to stitch them to fit my body. I would turn them inside out, and pin them all the way down each side and stitch them. I’d hem them to ‘mini-dress,’ length, and voila! I had the best dress around.

Now as I listen to this guy ramble on about ‘hair loss,’ I remembered the joke. I used to say, between my mom and my dad, I don’t stand a chance. Sure enough, I had suffered trauma, and I noticed in the shower; little gobs of hair. Then it seemed to be shedding like crazy. I started to panic.  As I looked into the mirror, I could see the thinnest hair, and swore I could see my scalp. Well,of course, I had lost a great deal of weight, and that was probably contributing to the hair loss. But I didn’t care about the weight as much as the hair. Well, I began to buy the shampoos, which claimed to stop hair loss. I went to get cortisone shots in my scalp. Although, I don’t really believe they gave me anything in that needle, as I never received a bill, and I sure never noticed any results.

At any rate, I can sympathize, and if I would have known, it was “Hair Loss Restoration Month, I would have been so appreciative of a card, when it happened to me.  But no. Nothing. Just pats on the back from friends, telling me, “Oh, you’re not losing any hair. That’s normal.”

Now I also heard an advertisement for people suffering from; Work Shift Disorder. Oh yes, I can definitely relate to this one. It’s for people who have a difficult time,waking up in the morning, or falling asleep, at night,  because of their work shift?Hey, it’s called, work, for a reason!  I wonder what kind of medicine, we’re  supposed to take for that?  I always thought, the antidote was, vacation or retirement. And which company is responsible for promoting this ailment? I’m curious. It sure isn’t the corporations which hire all of us, with the screwed up schedules. But they may be  unwittingly investing in the drug manufacturers, which are trying hard to convince all of us, that it is a deadly disease. It certainly would seem to be a conflict of interest to a corporation, to go along with this.  It’s an excuse for ‘nonproductivity.  Not just something called, ‘Life.’

Now let’s not forget about ‘Restless Leg Syndrome.’I love this one. I have restless legs a lot. Am I beginning to sound like a hypochondriac? Or is it that this world, is constantly trying to convince me that all of this is abnormal?

My mother has complained for quite a while about, ringing and buzzing, in her ears. I said, “you know what? I actually saw ear drops, for that. We went to Walgreens, and bought some. It’s supposed to relieve the ringing. I laughed as she was reading the label. She’s squinting and reading the small print and said, “Place in the ear channel.” I laughed at this, and said, “Mom, did you say, channel?” “Yes,” she said, “that’s what it says.” Ok, I knew the word was canal, but I told her, if you have a channel, you might be tuning in to the local radio station. Why don’t you change the channel?” She was cracking up, as I said, “what channel is it on? I hope it’s not talk radio, cause then you definitely need those drops!”

Then there’s the intense desire for women to have long eyelashes. Never mind that they also shed. I have been blessed with long lashes, so I have never had ‘lash envy.’ However, when I see the advertisement for this potion, and listen to the side effects, “may develop brown spots, on eyes, which are irreversible?” Well, that’s wonderful. You have the most beautiful lashes, on your liver-spotted eyes.” Hmmm, that’s the tradeoff?

Well, I tend to believe, it is just a whole lot of ridiculous manipulation going on, in the advertisement industry; Now.I’m convinced.  As I just turned on the television to hear some friends complaining about how lame their buddy is, for having a “naked toilet paper roll.” Oh how sad, for this guy. He invites his friends over, and all they can do is complain about the fact that they can actually see his toilet paper! What kind of people are these? In my house you’re lucky to be able to find the spare roll. If I can keep on top of the ‘supply and demand issue.’ That’s the priority. If a person doesn’t like the way my toilet paper looks, I’d just as easily shove it into a coffee can. I believe in repurposing, when possible. So what better way to do this? Then you can also infuse the air with a scent of coffee. Hey, it works on the airplane. Yes, that’s right. When you see those bags, hanging on the door, or setting on a counter, in the lav, don’t be tempted to take those. We use them to eliminate odors.

One day, I had a female celebrity on my flight. This woman is one of the icon’s in Hollywood. I’ll just call her, May Funaway.    She refused to take her seat,when the pilots came out. The captain, asked, why she was standing by the near the galley, when he came out. The purser explained, that she told her, “I don’t have to sit.” She believed that those security rules, did not apply to her. After all, she is a diva. Coincidentally, I had Eunice Shriver on the same flight, and she couldn’t have been more gracious. Not one bit pretentious. But Ms. Funaway, said, “It doesn’t matter, I have to use the bathroom.

After, she had completed her duty, I joked with my flying partner’s that I should sell that coffee bag on Ebay. If I told everyone that it was the same bag which hung in that bathroom, that May Funaway,  “toileted,” in? Wow, Eu De Toilet Funaway. Hmmm, on second thought, I told them, it wouldn’t fetch very much, as  her’s, clearly doesn’t stink.

So, back to reality. All these marketing ploys. It’s not bad enough to tell you that if you’re feeling depressed, you can take that pill. Oh, but the side effect might make you suicidal! What? I think I’ll just take the plate of depression, thanks. I don’t want the pill that’s going to send me over the edge.

Let’s not forget  to mention the people who have a ‘weak stream,’ when they urinate. This is not to be confused, with those, who must stop at the bathroom, every few minutes. That’s a different problem. And yes, there’s a medicine for that.

Since when did this a weak stream, become a problem? How do they diagnose this? Does the doctor come into the room and say, “Well, Doug, we’ve received your test results, and I’m afraid I must tell you, “You have what’s called,  A weak stream.” Now, don’t worry, it’s not fatal. We do have a drug to control this.

I told my girlfriends, that this would certainly be a question to ask a man, if you’re considering a mate. “By the way, I need to ask you, Do you have a weak stream? What would you say your ‘rate of flow,’ is?  How would anyone even gauge this? Do guys stand at the urinals and compare. “Hey, did you see that guy in there? What a “weak stream!” Laughing they all point at him when he walks out. The man shrinks down into his seat and hopes the embarrassment will pass. “Yea, and I bet he has a totally naked toilet roll! You can just tell by looking at him.”

Ahhh, Mick Jagger sure had it right, when he sang, “I’m drivin down the road, and a man comes on the radio. With some useless, information, tryin to drive my imagination…., I can’t get no, Satisfaction!”