The real fear of getting old is not having our skin sag, our joints ache or our teeth fall out – it’s the fear of being treated like crap.
Such has largely become the case for the older generation these days, with a litany of society’s rude behavior towards them to prove it.
Let’s start with the Facebook page entitled “I Hate Old People” – that’s right. It’s a page with more than 2,300 members and a captivating photo of an elderly woman giving viewers the bird.
The page description, along with a number of other online rants, complain about everything from old people hair nets to their aroma.
“Old people smell funny,” complained one of my friends who wished to remain anonymous.
“When I was a kid all the old people had their pants pulled up to their armpits, wore suspenders, and treated me like a slave,” he none too fondly recalls.
While my pal cannot explain what he has against suspenders, he does admit that he’s softened his view a bit after meeting a few older folks that he actually likes. We also have to wonder if his turning 54 years old had anything to do with it.
Others remain rude, crude and downright disrespectful to the elderly.
Lois Speelman, a 100-year-old Wal-Mart greeter in Milwaukee learned this firsthand when she was shoved to the ground by an irate shopper. All Speelman was trying to do was determine if the woman had paid for the items in the bottom of her cart.
The shove landed Speelman in the hospital but, although she was bruised she was not broken, and she was back at the Wal-Mart door in four days.
No further information was readily available on the incident but we can bet the shopper probably had not paid for those items in the bottom of her cart.
We can also bet the shopper did not give a dang that Speelman was 100 years old.
In addition to pushes and shoves, older people make great crime targets.
A big, bad purse snatcher in Florida – a burly dude around age 30 – recently grabbed the purse of an 87-year-old woman so violently that she splattered to the sidewalk.
Her fall broke her arm and injured her face while big, bad, burly purse snatcher got away.
Being a crime target is just one of the woes suffered by older folks. They often lose their freedoms, with their houses exchanged for a retirement community cubicle. Their jobs are sometimes axed by penny-pinching employers or they face hardships getting hired at all.
Another one of my friends, a woman in her early 60s who also preferred not to be identified, is youthful, experienced and extremely talented. She secured a pretty good job a few years back, but noted the job hunt was not easy.
“It’s so much harder once you hit a certain age,” she noted. “A lot of employers just want to hire the young chickies.”
Her place of business, actually, is peppered with young-chickie types who spend most of their day snapping gum and yakking on the phone.
When hardworking, life-laboring, loyal yet older people get laid off, like one of my parents’ neighbors did, it can be more than just a hiccup in their careers – it can be the end of it.
Experienced workers deserve pay that matches their level of experience. It’s much easier and cheaper to go the young chickie route, even it means a workplace packed with yakky gum crackers.
And it’s much easier for some to hate and shun older folks rather than facing the true reason behind their hatred: their own brand of blind, narrow fear.
The fear that one day – goodness gracious – they may be one of them.
What do you think?
Is the older generation typically treated like crap or are the above examples anomalies?
Have you witnessed or experienced particularly rude or gracious behavior towards older folks? Please explain.
Do you hate suspenders?