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Mistaken Identity

(Image of a granny, but the one I look like is copyrighted by someone else.)

Dear Sis,

You won’t believe what happened to me last week. I was approaching the door of a doctor’s office when one of their staff walked up to me. “I just have to say this,” she said. “You look just like the lady who takes care of Tweety Bird on the Bugs Bunny Cartoons!” I told the receptionist about it, and we had a good laugh.

The best part was what happened next. The receptionist looked up Granny from Bugs Bunny cartoons and called me over to look at her computer screen. You know what? She was right! I do look a little like Granny in the cartoons. Maybe it’s the hairdo.

That led me to think about how younger people see us older ones. (They can refer to us as “older” but not “old,” thank you very much.) A recent incident showed me that our kids’ generation think winter’s chilly winds are breathing down the genetic necks of their parents, rendering us useless.

Let me explain. Recently, we met with someone who used to be a childhood friend of our kids. At mealtime, our kids, their old friend, and spouse had a lively discussion about what a chore it was to “raise their parents.”  (A rare treat: we got to hear what they usually say behind our backs.)

We listened with amusement until the visitor made a comment that made us sit bolt upright and say, “What?!”

This approaching-middle-age guy looked at us and told us in so many words that we are past the age of usefulness; we no longer know how to relate to the culture around us, and we are past our era of worth.

You could have bowled us over with a pin feather. Just because we ask their generation how to compose Facebook ads…or how to navigate around clickbait items, when we don’t know how they got there in the first place. The little whippersnappers!

So, it seems some middle-aged people think we’ve outlived our usefulness. Poor things. Maybe they could explain how their dad, in his 70s, still works circles around the 20-something-year-olds at his fulltime job. The younger crowd sits around scrolling on their phones when they’re supposed to be working, while this “old guy” runs up and down stairs. But of course, I didn’t think of it; we were still recovering from the shock of the whippersnapper’s statement.

If we had it to do over again, I would tell them that Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken with his first retirement check. And President Ronald Reagan faced down a world leader when he was 76 years old, in his famous Berlin Wall speech.

I like to think we didn’t consider our parents outdated. But looking back, I think we probably adopted that kind of thinking during the “Sandwich Era” (sandwiched between caring for small children and aging parents). We gave in to the thinking that we knew more than our parents.

I now repent. Our parents probably had a lot more to teach us if we had listened. But they were smart enough to know we had to learn for ourselves.

Then I had an alarming thought. We all know what happens to useless junk. People toss it into a dumpster and get rid of it. Is that why so many still-useful older folks get herded into nursing homes by their middle-age offspring?  It’s a convenient way for adult children to make their own mistakes without their parents saying, “I told you so.” Just wondering.

A lot of people learn lessons by bashing their head against a brick wall. Looks like our generation may have hatched another brood of head-bashers.

It would be tempting to live on a remote island someplace and spend our time reading good books and living a peaceful lifestyle. But that would deprive us of the privilege of saying (only to ourselves) “We told ‘em so.” I hope we live that long.

I will step off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening to this “Granny.”


Your little sister

What about you? Any thoughts on aging? Use the comment box below to tell us.

1 Comment

DanielandJoan Stetler
DanielandJoan Stetler
May 06

Love the cartoon, so cute! I agree that older people have a lot of wisdom to share! I ran onto this verse recently and was reminded of this very idea! "Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations; Ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee, Thine elders, and they will tell thee." Deuteronomy 32:7 My grandkids love to hear Grandpa tell stories! - Joan

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