Old Coots, UNITE!

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I’ve been meaning to write about aging for several months. I’ve hesitated because I didn’t want to write a standard-fare piece portraying the wonderful beauty and wisdom of age and all that barf. Then, a couple of days ago, someone posted an article about a 75-year-old woman who “accidentally” crashed through a liquor storefront. I’m posting it here so we’ll all be on the same wavelength for the rest of this piece. Of course, this unleashed the usual plethora of comments in support of testing “seniors” annually to make sure they’re competent to drive. The age at which this testing should begin, however, varied greatly depending responders’ ages and definition of “senior.” So, first I’ll lay out some subjective thoughts I have about age. They’re subjective, so your mileage may vary. And, that’s fine with me. I’ll finish this piece with what I think of those willing to mandate a yearly competency test for old coots. It won’t be subjective, either. The numbers tell it all! I want everyone to understand that I have no problems with the terms, “senior,” “senior citizen,” or “elderly” when people use them in a logistical sense. All of these are legitimate demographics. This notwithstanding, I view old age as a club with ONE simple standard for admission. All you have to do is live long enough! I don’t remember the name, but several years ago, an interviewer asked the late Katherine Hepburn if she thought old people were more interesting than young people were. Essentially, she told the interviewer that she didn’t think there was anything particularly interesting about old age; “either you’re interesting at any age or you’re not.” For me, this sums it up nicely. The telltale signs of advancing age are not particularly inte... ... middle of paper ... ...I’ll do it right AFTER all of you 25 to 54-year olds take YOUR tests. Jointly, you folks are far more of a road hazard than is MY 70-year-old ass. The reason that we read about 70-year-olds crashing into storefronts is that it serves to increase the level of national emotional tenor. It sells more newspapers and TV/radio advertising than say a headline showing that out of every one hundred 70-year old or older drivers, 96 of them did NOT crash into any storefronts during any specific period under question. People with 3-digit IQs understand that not a single, legitimate, empirically based inferential statistic justifies singling out ONLY “old” people relative to re-qualification for the retention of driving privileges. This is a fact, but the problem is that facts always confuse the hell out of the stupid—including the crowd that thinks “40” is almost dead.

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