For the love of God, is there no end to this elder abuse? Every day, I’m victimized again by some media outlet that decides they have nothing better to do than to shame me.
I wake up every morning (so far) with a sore arm or back or leg or toenail and there’s nothing to do but ease into the day with the latest news and my social media feeds. By the time I’m done with my third cup of coffee, the aching has receded and my vision is finally clearing up, but there’s a new pain that will envelop me for the rest of the day.
That’s because my morning read invariably includes a story about some young snot who’s achieved more at 17 than I’ll ever achieve in my life. And I’m not even talking about Greta and Malala here. There’s also the kid who invented a portable dialysis machine for his middle-school science fair and the pre-teen who turned her lemonade stand into a multinational restaurant chain.
Even worse, my feed is overrun with really old people, people much older than I am, who are doing things I can’t do already. In the latest installment of “People Who Are Both Older And Better Than You,” some 104-year-old woman set a new record as the oldest person to parachute out of an airplane. Even worse, she's a Chicagoan like me. Well, clearly not like me, and vice versa.
The abusers in the media say these are “feel-good stories” that encourage the rest of us to think of age as just a number, but they’re really gaslighting us with tales that make us feel less accomplished, less capable, and much more ready to die now. Because nothing gives me hope for my future like another person’s achievements and the certain knowledge that those achievements will never be mine.
You wanna know what gives me the will to live? I love reading about the Chicago Cubs blowing their playoff slot in September and the Chicago Bears losing so many games in a row that they’ve set up a suicide hotline for their players and coaches. I want to learn about some dope who won the lottery and invested all her winnings into cryptocurrency or the fools who got convicted of sedition on the basis of their own selfies.
I draw the line at the Darwin Awards, because stupidity shouldn’t be a capital offense, but I’m almost invariably inspired by the wrong turns and dumb choices that other people make. Those are my feel-good stories, the sagas that let me know I’m not the feeblest failure of the day. I might be a loser, but at least I’m not a Chicago Bear.
And I’m not alone in this, either. My social media feed is filled with posts that mock the Bears and the Cubs, but nobody is celebrating the 104-year-old woman who thought it was a good idea to jump out of a perfectly functional airplane. My friends only share uplifting stories, and that is definitely not one of them.
It’s time to stop the gaslighting of all us seniors, to demand an end to the abusive shaming, and it's absolutely the perfect moment to donate large amounts to my crowdfunding account. I promise not to invest the proceeds in crypto or to take skydiving lessons.
Will I become a paratrooper when I’m 104? The only way to know is to click here to subscribe and keep reading for the next 34 years. It will be so worth it.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.