I have never thought of myself as old. Sure, when I hurt, I say it loudly and proudly. But I always have felt that I would get up tomorrow and feel good again. But, lately, reality strikes me in the face. Perhaps I am too smart to ever lack for something useful to contribute to society. But, as I age, I begin to see that society has little use for me.
Because of my skill set, I have always been able to find enough work to survive. But, my skill set depends upon those who both desire my services and can afford them. As music becomes more about listening to guys talking over a beat box, the need for musical instruments has diminished. As digital keyboards have become cheap and not bad, the need for piano tuners has plummeted. Maybe soon, especially if we take another economic swoon as expected, business will dry up. Then I will find myself in the same position as so many people my age–old enough that no one wants to hire me unless I get new skills, and not possessing either the time or the money to get new skills. Sure, I could get student loans, maybe. But, by the time I’d actually get a job to start paying them back, I’d have to work until I’m 80 to pay them back. No one wants to hire a 60 year old college grad when there is already an eternal pool of smart, young and energetic grads who will take less and live in the parents’ basement.
The entire prospect of working at McDonald’s is, I am sure, quite depressing for the laid-off middle ager who has seen his job sent to India or has seen technology obviate him. Such is the reason I never put the books down. I’m always looking for more information and new skills. However, the world is certifiably crazy, and, while the ability to program a small piece of plastic to be the new secretary or human interaction device is in high demand, most real-world skills, especially anything approaching wisdom and perspective, are quite laughed at. Who needs that when we all have sound bites? And, after all, us old people, so I was told the year before Barack Obama, my contemporary, became president, have had our chance, and our input is no longer desired or required. No, the young people have all the answers now. After all, most of us old fogeys don’t even tweet!
Oh, you younguns are going to have some problems with us old farts now. We couldn’t make it to retirement with our pensions intact and affordable health care to keep us ticking. Now it’s going to be up to you to support us as we all give up and go on welfare. But wait a minute! That’s what all you young folks are doing! Hmm. I suppose you will have to round up all the old people and shoot them. Or, maybe, if you just deny us health care, we will just die already. I mean, we already lived, but now we’re just old. So what do we have to live for any more? Might as well just kick off and save the planet the CO2.
Well, I’m sure that old people still DO count, even if we can’t get work or afford to keep our homes. I’m sure we WILL make huge contributions to this lawless society that it will never even realize or appreciate. Only after we are gone and the texting, tweeting nation must find leadership will our thankless efforts be missed. But too late then. Good thing societies of old didn’t have such disdain for their elders. One wonders how the Israelites would have ever gotten to the promised land without Moses. He started his job at 80 and was still on the job at 120. Grandma Moses, on the other hand, started painting in her 80’s–not leading a people but still respected for her art. Senior citizen Diana Nyad should certainly be an inspiration to all Cubans trying to get asylum here as she became the first person to ever swim to Florida by herself, something no virile young person has managed to do. Seems like us old people should be worthy of a higher calling than Walmart greeter.
I can’t really blame Obama or any other president for the plight of the too old but too young. No, I blame the college ejumacated kinda youngsters so full of knowledge and so devoid of understanding. Not your fault that your guides were blind. But, if you had had any sense, you would have figured this out and would have awakened from your over-sexed, drunken stupors long enough to not let yourselves be brainwashed. Now, all of a sudden, you’re struggling to pay off your student loans while you let the same crap that got you into financial hot water continue, in fact you even promote it. Too bad you’re too short-sighted to see that, in a few short decades (yes, decades are SHORT), you will be me. And there will be no safety net of funds. And the young people who replace you will speak Spanish and Farsi and will not have any problem with exterminating you. I hardly find any joy in the prospect of your future. After all, for me, the future is now, and it’s already not very pretty.