Power to the old people

I read an article yesterday in the Huffington Post promoting senior empowerment. The writer argued that we torpedo ourselves by living up to senior stereotypes. She further claimed that self-deprecating senior humor causes our self-esteem to recede faster than our hairlines. Phhht!

Seriously, ageism is a crappy deal. A lot of seniors struggle against discrimination in the workplace – and I’m talking about the newly old. I’ve seen the system fail people that I love, but anger and righteous indignation (while frequently justified) polarizes us.

I just don’t think that schooling ourselves to be politically correct about aging is going to empower us. Trying to avoid stereotypes is like ignoring the elephant in the room. We’re all getting older, and it’s scary. I believe that fear is what really robs us of our power, and humor helps to combat the fear.

If you go to the “About Me” page on this blog, you’ll find my mission statement:

“As a humor writer, my goal is to use laughter to diffuse the anxiety of aging; challenge others to bring humor into their daily lives; and prove that there is joy and laughter to be found at every stage of life’s journey.”

When I’m going through shit, finding others who have been through it is very healing. When we relate to each other, we accept our human condition and find that we’re not so very different, regardless of our age.

I may exaggerate and look for the ridiculous in life, but my goal is always to embrace the underlying truth. Facing our fears takes away their power and gives it back to us.

Still stupid after all these years

You’d think at my age I would have seen every trick in the book. I look at people who give away their life savings to some shyster and think, that would save a lot of baby moose from rifle-toting Alaskan governors. Give early, give often.

Yesterday, I received a yellow post card in the mail that said “important notice,” so I knew that it must have some Earth-shattering significance. I immediately called the toll free number and gave my credit card information to the nice woman who claimed to be from my college alumni association. Never mind that the return address was in Virginia, and my alma mater is in Seattle.

I never received the email link from them, and when I tried to call them back, they wanted me to oprime numero dos para Español, then cheerily announced that they were closed for the day, contrary to the hours of operation printed on the card. I sooo did not want to cancel my credit card and make up some story to the bank about huffing too much glue while watching reruns of Survivor. I’m sure they get that all the time.

Actually, the man at the bank was very nice and didn’t give me a hard time for parking my brains in a red zone. Mom promised me that one day I would be older and wiser. At least she got one of them right.

Today I’m putting all the scammers out there on notice. All you’re going to get out of me is my name, rank, and social security number.