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.