Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Old is the New Young?

It used to be that 60 meant you were nearly dead.  No longer the case!

I recounted before how we were watching an old episode of Streets of San Francisco and in that episode, a group of "young punks" killed a shopkeeper.  "He was over 60 years old!" Karl Maldin said, "his life was almost over anyway!" - or something to that effect.

In an old episode of Dragnet, an "old lady" complains that she is "66 years old and not as young as I used to be!" and indeed, she looked like, dressed like, and acted like, an old biddy.

What shocked me about these scenes is that, well, I'm 63 and I don't feel "old" yet, other than everything hurts.  When people ask my age, I often say "53" without thinking, before I correct myself.  I hear people tell me I don't look that old - maybe late 40's or something.  Some young gay men call me a "hot Daddy" and yes, I even get hit on by women sometimes.  And I'm not all that attractive!

What is going on?  Is our generation aging differently than previous ones?  I suspect so, and part and parcel of this is better health care, less smoking, and a better understanding of the effects of sun on our skin.  The next generation may routinely live to 100 or more, if they lay off the opioids and meth.

When I was a kid, giving your kid sunglasses was never even a thing.  I still see some parents - rednecks, usually - who are wearing wrap-around shades at the beach while their kids squint in the searing sun.  No issues with cataracts for them, right?  Just give it 50 years.  And sun tan lotion - if we got it at all as a kid, it was "tanning butter" designed to cook your skin to a nice dark brown, and provide no protection from UV rays.  SPF?  What the heck is that?  And even when that stuff came out, we thought that SPF 15 was like the real deal.  Now they go 50 and up - and wear clothes on top of that!

Yes, chain-smoking and spending all day in the sun will make  you look old and wrinkled - and shorten your life.  And maybe this is part of the plan.  If you want a "conspiracy theory" this is it - that the "powers that be" promote unhealthy lifestyles, so that people don't live much longer than their reproductive and working lives.  Work until 65 - kick the bucket before 70!  That way Social Security is solvent!

When people started pointing out that smoking was deadly, the powers-that-be fought restrictions on smoking, tooth-and-nail.  They finally had to give in, but came up with new poisons to kill us off - an obesity epidemic fueled by cheap carbs and high-fructose corn syrup, or a drug epidemic fueled by cheap fentanyl from China.  And yea, the same powers-that-be (mostly conservatives) fight efforts to even educate people about eating right ("don't tell us what to do!") or provide NARCAN to overdosing addicts. They believe in the "right to life" but only for so long and only for the right people. Those unborn fetuses will make good workers and cannon fodder.  If only those bleeding-heart Democrats didn't keep trying to give them health care and proper nutrition so they live longer!  The world would be a perfect place, then - a few Billionaires and legions of minions!

But I digress....

It seems though, that our generation is aging more gracefully than the last.  Some folks ask me how I stay looking so young, and I reply, "the fat stretches out all the wrinkles!"

So maybe it is just that.  Martha's cheeks do look like they've been injected with something.  Probably with a pastry bag....

By the way,  she's over 80!