Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Magical Moment 475, "Senior-ity Rules"


Well, today I discovered where every senior citizen in northern New Jersey is at 11:00 am on a Wednesday. The grocery store. I've always connected really well with older people. Probably because we have the same taste in music and movies. And bedtime. I used to play piano for nursing homes and retirement communities in college (something I would really like to get back into), and always felt very at home and grateful to be there.

So it really, really bothers me when I see people make rude comments to, or about seniors. Today I saw several instances of honking, eye rolling, and general impatience and disrespect at the Food Lion, and began to think about society's relationship with senior citizens. And well, this is how I think it should be.

Let me put it this way. In the military, whenever I was in the presence of a high-ranking officer or NCO, I pretty much made sure I had my act together. Not that I knew anything about them. I didn't know if they were a good leader or not. But the one thing I did know from their visibly worn rank, was that they've been here waaaaay longer than me. And that deserves a little respect, regardless of who they are personally. So if a Colonel was taking her sweet time in the check out line in front of me, I wouldn't make a snide comment like, "Hurry up!" I'd stand there quietly and wait. And if it looked like she was having trouble carrying everything, I might even offer a, "Can I help you with that Ma'am?"

That's how we should treat senior citizens. Like Colonels and Generals. And senior citizens should treat the rest of us like they outrank us. If I say or do something disrespectful to Vern Goldenblatt from the Bingo Hall, he ought to have the right to hem me up at attention and give me the chewing out that I deserve. 

See those wrinkles and white hair? They might as well be a polished silver star on a starched uniform. Straighten up. Keep your mouth shut. Treat them with respect. They outrank you.


5 comments:

Robin Malherbe said...

I don't know if it's the same in the States as it is here in South Africa, but I think it goes beyond a disrespect for senior citizens, it's about utter selfishness. People don't care about others anymore, they are way too concerned with their own comfort and rights and and and ... Madagascar - one of the most impoverished places I've ever lived was different - people cared about their neighbours, about other road users, about people. Thanks for writing about the real issues...

Linda said...

You've outdone yourself with this post, Elizabeth. I saw those looks and rolling eyes directed at my dad after he'd had a minor stroke. It's sad to see the value placed on a life diminish because that life has been lived longer than some arbitrarily fixed standard. Indeed, the value placed on that life should increase proportionately to the years lived. I love the way you tied it in with the respect a soldier would show a senior officer. Very well done.

Birdie said...

I do love the elderly. So much so I care for them for a living. I love my job as it is an honour to spend time with people who know so much more than I do.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Great post. I agree...they deserve our respect and patience!!!! Hopefully we will ALL be there one day too...and we will expect patience as well.

texwisgirl said...

great post and perfect message. :)

thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment on Texas wildflowers. :)