Posts Tagged ‘old’

The Debate, Yeah, I Know

Sunday, June 30th, 2024

Americans Across The Nation Watch The First Presidential Debate Between Joe Biden And Donald Trump
By Bob Gaydos

Note to readers:

Yeah, I know about the debate and how Joe squinted his eyes, could barely walk and had plenty to brag about, but had trouble putting words together. And how the other guy lied every time he opened his mouth, as usual. And how everybody now wants Joe to quit, even though they like him, because he’s old and we can’t make the other old guy, a convicted felon and rapist, go away.

So I’m going to write about gooseberries very soon. Will probably eat some. I may have some sushi. I will then return to worrying about the future of the free world.

Enjoy your day.
Bob

rjgaydos@gmail.com

‘Old Joe’ Tells It Like It Is

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

President Biden is applauded by his back bench, Vice President Kamala Harris.

President Biden is applauded by his back bench, Vice President Kamala Harris. RJ Photography Photo Illustration

   Speaking, if I may, for the legions of octogenarians who have had it up to our cataract-surgery-repaired eyes with all the nonsense that Joe Biden is too old to be president, thank you, Mr. President, for that wonderfully direct and forceful takedown of Mr. MAGA and all the little MAGATTS in Congress the other night. The State of the Union will be just fine in your hands.

     And that’s really the point, people. Not how old Biden is, but how capable and competent he is compared to the other guy, “my predecessor” as Biden cleverly put it.

     Heck, Donald Trump himself is a sloppy, flabby, slow-moving, memory-challenged 77-year-old, who looks like even making 80 would be an upset. And he doesn’t know or care one whit about what it means to be the leader of the free world, the spokesperson for democracy and champion of liberty. 

    Biden knows. He’s lived it. He understands it. He can articulate it. Maybe the words come out a little softer and slower, although the other night there was no problem hearing the message or noticing that Biden was in total control of the event, to the ultimate frustration of the juveniles in the Republican section who had nothing to offer but shouts and eventual surrender.

    Yup, Joe, Mr. President, you demonstrated that age and experience and wisdom and caring and compassion and a sense of duty and moral purpose can all coexist in the same somewhat worn but still functioning body. And mind. 

       And you demonstrated that passion and perhaps some anger can still be expressed by a uniquely experienced gentleman who’s tired of being told he’s too old for the job when the only other guy up for it is an old, twice-impeached, out-of-shape adjudged rapist and pathological liar currently facing 91 felony charges in four separate courts, who has been convicted of massive business fraud charges and who recently told Vladimir Putin to go ahead and attack some NATO countries, no big deal. 

     This is the story, folks. Thanks for reminding the world about that, Joe. 

      As someone also privileged to reach the 90th decade of my life, I have written that I would prefer that the presidential candidate for both Democratic and Republican parties be younger than either Biden or Trump. I still do. Maybe it was my own mental fatigue from the last eight years showing, but, in general, I would prefer a somewhat younger president. 

      However, the reality is that neither party has come up with a younger candidate to seriously challenge these two men. That’s something both parties need to address. Given the current choice, and still having most of my wits about me, I prefer the man who comforts the families of mass shooting victims and promotes sensible gun control laws over the guy who flippantly tells them to “get over it.” Disgusting.

     People age differently. Some (the current president) do it gracefully, demonstrating confidence, patience, wisdom and experience, even though their gait and words may be sometimes halting. It can be deceptive.

    Some (the predecessor) just get older, nastier and more selfish. And they don’t walk or talk so great either. What you see is what you get.

     Take your time getting to the podium, Joe. Then give ‘em hell.    

rjgaydos@gmail.com

      

      

Marianne or RFK Jr.? Not over ‘Old Joe’

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. … challenging Joe Biden

Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. … challenging Joe Biden

  Be careful what you wish for, they say. They were on to something.

     A while back, I wrote a column expressing my desire (hope, wish) that the 2024 presidential election not be a rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. America needs to move on, I said.

      Trump is a totally incompetent, lying fascist who has seriously damaged American democracy, I said, and Biden is a competent, concerned, experienced public servant, who saved America from four more years of Trump. I still stand by all that.

      But I also noted that Biden would be 82 should he decide to run for president again in 2024, which he has now said he plans to do. That would make him 86 in the last year of his term. America’s oldest president.

        Seeing no relief from the Republican Party save for younger, nouveau fascist versions of Trump (no spring chicken either, he will be 77 next month), I said Democrats needed some new, younger, more vibrant candidates for president. Thanks, Joe, but America needs it, I said.

       I meant maybe an experienced governor or senator or a re-energized version of Vice President Kamala Harris.

       I did not mean Marianne Williamson or Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. So far, that’s what we’ve got.

       Yes, both are younger than Biden, but both do qualify for Social Security benefits. Williamson, although she is 70, possesses considerable energy and appeals to a segment of younger voters. They know her on TikTok. An author, she also is not shy about challenging more mainstream Democrats, like Biden, about what she sees as their lack of urgent commitment to progressive goals.

    She has a point. She also has zero chance of winning the Democratic nomination, never mind the presidency.

     Kennedy, 69, is a different matter. His strongest weapon is his family name and history. But RFK Jr. does not stir the masses the way RFK Sr. did and he’s definitely no JFK. Time has also dimmed some of the vote-getting power of the Kennedy name.

     Son of the assassinated New York senator and U.S. attorney general and nephew of the assassinated president, this Kennedy is basing his campaign for the Democratic nomination primarily on the reputation he has gained as the most aggressive, best-known, anti-vaxxer in the country.

    That sounds like a terrific issue for a Republican. In fact, it probably will be. Fortunately for the country, but unfortunately for Kennedy, most Americans do not share his vigorous, scientifically discredited opposition to vaccines.

    Still, some recent polls put Kennedy drawing almost 20 percent among Democrats and Williamson up to 9 percent. While a bit surprising, since neither can be considered a mainstream candidate, that support is not a serious threat to Biden. And some Democratic voters may not know much about Kennedy beyond his lineage. Time will tell.

    Significantly, those same polls also show a solid majority of Democrats saying they would prefer that Biden not run again (too old), but that runs up against the overwhelming sentiment among Democrats (and many independents) that, if Trump is again the Republican presidential candidate (too scary), they would run barefoot over hot coals to vote for Biden again if he’s the Democratic candidate.

     That’s apparently what he’s banking on.  Vote for steady, experienced, moderate, sensible Joe over erratic, clueless, power-hungry, dangerous Trump — or any other Republican promoting fascism. The Biden campaign message is that he will save democracy now for the younger, more energetic Democrats who follow him to improve on a little later. Be patient.

     In certain context, it makes a lot of sense. Like it did in 2020. It’s Yogi Berra’s “deja vu all over again.”

     Such is the unfortunate state of politics in this democratic republic three years shy of its 250th birthday.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

On Being Old vs. Being ‘Elderly’

Sunday, February 20th, 2022

 

From “ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,”by T.S. Eliot.

From “ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T.S. Eliot.

By Bob Gaydos

 I was born in 1941. I am chronologically old. However, in my opinion at least, I am not “an old man.” And I am definitely not “elderly.”

       I’m also a little annoyed at having to once again explain to the under-50 crowd the nuances of referring to the over-50 crowd. But obviously someone has to do it.

       A while back, I wrote a column headlined “I am not an old coot.“ Pretty self-explanatory. A health professional, apparently trying to be cute, had referred to me in that less-than-complimentary manner. I had apparently displayed an ability to think and speak for myself. I was not amused. In the vast spectrum of ways one can refer to persons who have lived a certain number of years, old coot is down near the bottom of the list. I have occasionally been referred to as a curmudgeon and I will accept that, even with a bit of pride. But in all humility, I figure I fit in someplace between old coot and village elder.

     That does not mean I feel that I am “elderly.“ This issue arose in a recent social media posting, the headline of which referred to an “elderly couple.”

      He was 64 and she was 61. That’s not even Social Security old. Someone left a comment that pointed this out. The poster defended the description by saying the male had referred to himself as “an old man,“ (See above. Like this younger gentleman, I may accurately call myself old, especially in comparison to others. It’s a fact. But “elderly” is another dimension.)

      The thing is, “elderly” is a loaded word and none of the images it suggests, even when accurate, is especially flattering to the older person being described. Some can be hurtful. And that ought to matter.

       I asked a few people what came to mind when I said the word “elderly.” I got back: feeble, infirm, doddering, technically challenged, sick, cranky, slow, boring, out of touch.

        I did not get back: experienced, knowledgeable, reliable, funny, comforting, competent, patient, concerned, aware, talented, smart or tech savvy.  

        Now, with those responses in mind, if you just went by the numbers to define elderly just think of all the actors, musicians, artists, writers, scientists, teachers, business, civic and political leaders who would be dismissed.

        Elton John, 74, is holding a farewell tour because he is a well-respected, talented, legendary musician who has contributed significantly to society for many years and wants to do other things. Does anyone think he is elderly?

        Whether you like her politics or not, there isn’t a sharper, more energetic,  more dedicated political leader in this country than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 81, a wise senior member of Congress.

        I recently watched a YouTube interview with linguist Noam Chomsky, who looked every bit of the 93 years he has lived. But elderly? A village elder, I submit.

       It’s simple. Numbers don’t always tell the story. Old age isn’t what it used to be, at least not for everybody. They say 60 is the new 40, 80 is the new 60. I don’t know.

        I do know those equations don’t hold up in the job market. It’s called ageism. I also think that seniors should show respect for younger people in general, remembering what it was like having to learn so much. And I think younger people should respect seniors for having put in the time to do all that learning. Of course, there are always exceptions.  

        Anyway, if you’re under 50, maybe think a little bit about how you refer to those over 60. About how you would like to be referred to when you are, say, 64 or 84. 

          As Shakespeare suggested, methinks some of thee may think I doth protest too much. Well, that’s the curmudgeon in me. Get over it. Someone has to speak out for the seniors in our society, so why not this old man?

* * *

”I grow old … I grow old …

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.”
From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
By T.S. Eliot

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

The Bobs Get Philosophical over Coffee

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

By Bob Gaydos

“Do you think there are a lot of dumb people in the world?” Ketchup Bob asked Writer Bob.

“Wow, good question.”

The two friends were having some oatmeal (Writer Bob) and coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, ruing the fact that neither had bought stock in the company since this store was swamped with people desperate for coffee and no electric power at home, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

There was a follow-up question: “Would you rather be smart and worry about all the things there are to worry about in this world — war, bigotry, hatred, disease — or would you rather be dumb and happy in your ignorance?”

This one was easy for Writer Bob. “Smart, any day,” he said, hoping to sound humble, “because, to me at any rate, it means being aware of yourself and the world you live in. Being aware that you always have choices and they can ultimately produce either conflict or contentment. It also means you can recognize opportunities when they present themselves and choose to follow where they lead. Knowing that is an empowering feeling. It also can produce what we call happiness, I think. End of philosophical answer to down-to-earth question.”

“That awareness,” Ketchup Bob added, “can also be vital in deciding how you fit into society, what you can do to contribute to the world, what your gifts are, music or science or art, for example, and how to best use them.”

This conversation was already getting too deep for morning coffee and Writer Bob, so he changed the subject.

“How come some people act so much older than they are?” he asked. “They seem to relish just being old. They act like it’s all over and they’re just waiting for the inevitable. I was with a group of people the other day and someone remarked, as a joke, that at least he wasn’t as old as the guy sitting next to me. The guy was someone most people probably would describe as an old man, but I had a hunch. As we were leaving, I asked him how old he was. I was right. He was several years younger than me — and you. I’m not bragging, just wondering.”

“I don’t know,” said the youngish-looking Ketchup Bob, “maybe it’s a mindset, a lack of motivation. Some people just seem to give up, like they have nothing to live for, nothing to contribute, so they don‘t care about their health or how they look. People tell them that they‘re old, so they act how they think old should act.”

“Are we back to smart or dumb again?”

“I don’t know. It may be more about faith and hope.”

“And awareness. I think in order to carry on with a purpose in life you need to be aware that faith and hope aren’t just high-minded words. I’m not talking about a blind, follow-the-leader kind of faith, but something inside that tells you there is a reason for your being here and it’s not just to be miserable and use up the oxygen. That there is hope, as well as life, after 50.” (Give me a break; I’m not telling.)

“Well, if you believe that, then you will have motivation to live, to enjoy life each day you have and to be as vigorous and productive as you can for as long as possible.”

“So is that smart or dumb?”

“I’d say damn fortunate. See you next week.”

bob@zestoforange.com