Friday, February 28, 2014

I'm Cute

There is a tendency of the not old to think that old  people doing things they've done all their lives are hilarious or "cute." I recently saw on Facebook a video of an old woman dancing to a contemporary rock and role tune. I don't know how old she was, but rock's been around for about 60 years and is probably the music the woman enjoys the most now as she loved it when she was in her teens. She was a good dancer, moving well and enjoying the rhythm.I This video was classified as "hilarious." Imagine that, an old lady dancing to "our" music! Shouldn't she be doing a minuet or a waltz?

Another comment that people not yet on Social Security or a pension make about an old person is that the geezer is somehow doing something "cute." This can be something that would not be considered cute if the old one was a young one. I was considered very cute last fall when I was in the hospital off and on, dealing with problems connected with my pancreatic cysts. To keep from going nuts, I had my IPad in use a lot. This was considered very cute by nurses. And when I started watching "Breaking Bad"  on my IPad, my cuteness increased tremendously. When a new nurse came on, she was told about the old lady who knew how to turn on her IPad. Amazing! Unbelievable! Cure!
 I inadvertently left my charger when I left the hospital and when I went back to pick it up, the nurse at the desk exclaimed, "We knew this was yours! " as she handed it over to me with a condescending smile. "You're just amazing."
"Well, " I said, "usually if you have a brain when you're young, you still have a brain when you're old and can figure things out." (I didn't want to suggest that she didn't currently have a brain herself. )

I have many friends who are old, who are hip, who enjoy contemporary music, films, computers, fast cars, sex, and rock'n'roll and are not at all "cute." One of these days one of us is going to deck the next person who thinks we're cute or  or somehow hilarious if we can walk across a room without falling down.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Modern Language

Every December I go into movie overload. Distributors seem to hold off the good ones until the end of the year, counting on the amnesia that seems to affect those who choose the best picture nominations. For months there are hardly any movies that I want to see. Theaters are full of exploding buildings, half- wit comedies for 13 year old boys and sci-fi teen flicks. A few ones escape but are soon forgotten.
This year's crop of potential winners, all of which have come out since Thanksgiving, showed up in northeast Ohio one after another in a few weeks. A couple came out here in late December and early January. Sometimes I was seeing two movies a week. I must say that I have enjoyed every one, in spite of the fact that most of them featured protagonists who were mostly despicable characters, unsavory types, people I wouldn't want to know or even sit next to on a park bench. (I have to wonder if the popularity of the ultimate anti-hero, Walter White of "Breaking Bad" might have influenced producers to flood the movies this year with scumbags.) But the acting was so good, the stories interesting, the soundtracks fun, and in some cases, great cinematography that I  accepted the sleazy actions of the protagonists.
What was unique, however, was the unremitting presence of the F word. Good grief! The "Wall Street Wolf" flick contained something like 506 F- words, according to some Aspergerish critic, who must have had one of those clicker counters to accomplish that feat. Even Meryl Streep-Meryl Streep!!!- barked out an uncounted, but persistent expressions of F**ks, along with many other bad words not usually heard from women. "The Dallas Buyers Club" seemed to have equalled "Wall Street,"but I didn't have a clicker with me. "American Hustle" had a large contingent of potty mouth characters whose very other word was, of course, the curse word du jour. "Her," probably the best of the lot, probably had a few, but I was so blown away by Joacquin Phoenix and the cinematography that I  didn't?t notice.
People keep telling me that this is the way people talk these days. What people? Who?
Well, I know that if you walk past a group of high school or college students you'll hear it a lot, in the way the movies use it, every other word, every part of speech, until very few words in the sentence are NOT f** k. I do know people who use it when under duress, mainly having to do with computer malfunctions, or when confronted with terminal stupidity by politicians of the Tea Party persuasion, or when  a labor intensive recipe goes wrong, or when the cat grabs a tuna fish sandwich off a plate, you know. I mean even a person of lady like demeanor may, on occasion, need the stress reducing epithet.
It is the constant unrelenting repetition that is, somehow, cheapening the word, robbing it of its special power to underline one's complete dismay, distress, or anger at situations or people. It just becomes like "a" or "the." It becomes boring. One of my favorite stories, a true one, about power of the word came from a friend of Polly's. His parents were out of town, and his Nana was in charge of him and his younger brothers. One night at dinner, he became annoyed about something and exploded with the F word.
Nana threw up.
The word meant something in those days.
And I'm in the mood for a f**king Jane Austen movie.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ancient History

As Lillian Carter said, "Old age is not for sissies."  Amen to that. Your body betrays you at very turn. You're lucky if your mind does not. I remember my father saying, "If I'd have known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." I think Groucho said it first, but it's how one feels upon reaching beyond three score and ten.
My sister claims that 85 is when you actually realize that, "Good God, I'm OLD!" She's right. That's when things start to fall apart, when things you could do without even thinking about no longer work quite so well. Before, you could run up and down stairs without thinking of holding on to a rail; when you could hop in and out of  the car; when you could rise from a chair without using the arms to hoist your self upright; when you could carry two full grocery bags or more into the house without losing your breath; when you could read the whole newspaper and finish the NYTimes Saturday crossword puzzle in less than an an hour; when you could walk through ice and snow without fear of falling, because if you did fall, you could get up unaided without having injured anything.  The list goes on.
Sometimes it's just hard to do things, like opening plastic lids on yogurt, pull tabs on cans, turning door knobs even. These problems seem to sneak up on you suddenly.
Then there's your appearance. I used to have small ears, but now the've grown longer. I look as if I'm wearing a wrinkled body suit all over, the result of age and also of heedless sun bathing  and smoking. Once in a while a clear crystalline drip appears on the end of my nose. I shuffle. ( My friend Mixie said that she misses the way she used to just glide along instead of hobbling.) Flatulence occasionally and involuntarily  occurs, fortunately not publicly. Yet. If I have to answer the phone early in the day, my froggy voice makes me sound like a crone living in a cave. I have whiskers on my chin, like that cave crone.
All these things are just a part of living long. It could be worse. I'm not complaining, just describing. In my head I'm about 35 or so, and it just surprises me when reality hits as I'm trying to get up out of a chair in one smooth movement.