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Who’s Old?– April 8, 2012
So what’s wrong/funny/odd about a professor who skateboards? Oh, he’s sixty-eight years old, you say! Well, then, that must be the problem. He’s not a very dignified old man is he? I fail to see why his photo went viral the other day. I fail to see why people notice, let alone care, let alone forward the photo, comment on it, laugh at it, or make “funny” videos about it. This sort of photo or article surfaces quite often – a story about someone over sixty – or ninety – living their lives. Teaching yoga like she’s always done, running marathons like he’s been doing for decades, dancing, long distance swimming, finishing high school, writing a first book, Leonard Cohen going on yet another world tour…..

In an ageist society, these reminders that older people (like me) are still living and learning, still fit and healthy, are important. (Just as important are articles about kids who are achieving great things and challenging assumptions about what’s possible at a certain age.) But how many such reminders do we need before the stereotypes are broken down, before we lose the amazement…and the sniggers...and the assumptions about what is age-appropriate? Please don’t pat me on the head or turn me into an Internet meme when my, oh, thirtieth book is published when I turn ninety. I’ll just write another curmudgeonly blog post about it. (If there even are books, the Internet, and blogs then.)
2012/04/08 9:24 AM


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