From Vegas to Ageism (What a Segue!)

April 19 9:15 a.m.

I’ve been a “green eyed monster” the last couple of days because my husband just left for a week’s vacation with one of his buddies and I had to stay home. I suppose I’m more envious than jealous because they went to Vegas and I love to gamble. Las Vegas would not be my first choice as a vacation destination, but I wouldn’t mind an all-nighter (or two) of playing blackjack and the slots and then sitting by the pool the next day, soaking in the rays. Well, at least the weather’s nice here and I always have my online casino.

My husband Mitch cracks me up. He brought swim flippers and snorkels to Las Vegas and he said that they are going to play Marco Polo in the Mirage’s pool. Visualize this scene if you dare: two older men (my husband almost 60 and his buddy 70), wearing flippers and snorkels in the Mirage pool (full of bikini-clad babes), yelling “Marco . . . Polo!” If they drink enough alcohol, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do it!

Speaking of elderly people (nice segue), I read some of my previous posts and wasn’t happy with what I wrote in my post “TV Potpourri” as follows:

“I can’t help but laugh at the scooter chair commercial where the two old bats are in their scooter chairs at the edge of the Grand Canyon. I always think about them going off the edge.”

The premise isn’t really that funny and I don’t like that I used the term “old bats.” Now I’m thinking – why bats? Anyway, I am fast approaching old batdom, so I have become a lot more aware of ageism.

It’s sad that unfavorable stereotypes about the elderly continue to dominate our society. Our culture worships youth and resists getting old (rampant plastic surgery, Botox, etc.). I succumbed to dying my hair up until six months ago when I decided to let the gray take over and start aging gracefully (well physically anyway – I’m still kind of a wild and crazy gal – wow, that sounds like something an old person would say!). I will never have plastic surgery for age-related cosmetic reasons and forget injecting botulism into my face in order to paralyze wrinkles (and then end up looking like a mannequin — God forbid!).

After losing my father a little over six months ago and having a good friend (in her early 60s) die of cancer last month, I began to realize that I should embrace the fact that I am an active, healthy 57-year old woman (58 in a few months). Although I am somewhat vain, I am making a conscious effort to stop dwelling on non-serious aging conditions like “turkey neck,” wrinkles and skin tags.

I have become more interactive with senior citizens as of late and more empathetic (probably because I am a senior too – duh!). I’ve always respected my elders (I learned that as a child) but now I have more sympathy for their plight in today’s society. I used to dread the arrival of the “retirement home” bus at the local supermarket and silently cursed the “old farts blocking the aisles,” but now I smile and say hello to them (there are a few of them who look at me like I’m out of my mind). I hope someone will do the same for me when I start riding that bus.

I think the following graphic (in a local TV commercial for a medical research company) says a lot about ageism:

elderly

The two silhouettes of young people are looking upward in a positive manner, their faces beautiful and optimistic. In comparison, the two silhouettes of old people are facing downward in a negative manner, their faces unattractive and pessimistic (not all elderly people look like crones!).

I believe that ageism is just as disdainful as racism. We should all make it a point to treat our elderly with more respect and kindness. Remember — the “golden years” will be upon you sooner than you think.

P.S. I saw a wonderful movie that I hadn’t seen in years last week. “Harold & Maude” (1971) is a cult classic, a dark comedy about the relationship between a troubled young man (Bud Cort) and an eccentric elderly woman (Ruth Gordon). I know it doesn’t sound that great but it truly is a wonderful, inspiring movie that is one of my favorites. It was filmed in the San Francisco bay area in the late 60s and early 70s.

“The earth is my body; my head is in the stars.” – Ruth Gordon as Maude in “Harold & Maude”

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One thought on “From Vegas to Ageism (What a Segue!)

  1. edimminger

    Okay- the idea of Marco Polo was funny….and creepy! I also love Harold and Maude. Last week I went in for my quarterly head injections and the Doc walked in and said: “So Botox or Lidocaine? And I said: “Can I have both, please?”

    Reply

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