At my age, it’s too late for a mid-life crisis. So it must be a “late-life crisis” coupled with occasional “senior interludes”.
This is normally recognized in two ways. First, I’m getting more daily offers of assistance. For awhile, I figured it was just living in Oregon where nice people look out for each other.
“Great,” I said. “Beats ol’ big city life any time”.
But then I noticed some of the people offering assistance appeared to be older than me! That brought on pangs of guilt and a rush to the nearest mirror for assurance. Well, so much for assurance.
The other form of this affliction comes when suddenly realizing you are dealing with so many younger people . Children it seems. Even worse, a lot of them are people in whom you must trust your life.
Take airline travel for instance. Time was you felt comfortable with a gray haired crew up front. That meant thousands of hours in the air, experience with lots of emergencies, calm assurance of command.
Well, look around now. The pilots are Skippy and Ginger and some guy in a uniform running up and down the aisle is named Randy. Wait a minute. I’m as much for equality and advancement as the next guy. But some of these kids haven’t started shaving and such gray hair as may be on the flight is all in the passenger cabin! I’ve got more pilot-in-command time in a Cessna 150.
We recently needed some legal assistance. Since I’ve managed to stay out of trouble during our current residency, I hadn’t needed an attorney so I relied on a referral. At the office, I filled out the obligatory “how-are-you-going-to-pay” form and was ushered to the inner sanctum. I thought the young fella behind the desk was an intern who’d do pre-meeting legal screening.
No way! This prepubescent kid in a golf shirt was going to get me through the local county legal briar patch? He should’ve been home cramming for a chemistry exam.
Don’t even ask me about my barber. Every time he jumps up on his little chair-side stool I repeatedly tell him playtime is over and I’m here to see his father.
My medical, flight safety, hair care and legal concerns are being handled by kids who’ve never lived without computers, have no concept of 45RPM records, never saw Ed Sullivan, Jack Parr or Huntley-Brinkley or a black and white TV set. Ask them about fender skirts and they get a blank look. Same thing for 25-cent-a-gallon gas, party line telephones and transistors. They don’t know life before credit or debit cards, microwave ovens or radio before talk radio. Or FM!
Oh, I’m sure they have all the proper credentials and accompanying education and training. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be where they are. But two things they haven’t got are miles on the odometer of life and realtime experiences that make us who we are. They’re just beginning the professional evolution process that will make them into what the rest of us have become. Older. Much older.
Oh well, I guess it’s up to me to relax and get used to it. But I’d like to be around the day pilot Skippy gets on a flight as a gray-haired passenger and is told on the intercom “Good morning. Your captain today is computer 2-4-3-7. And, effective immediately, we are no longer using co-pilots.”
Yep. Love to see that.
Over the last two years, many topics have been subjects for “Second Thoughts.” Over a couple hundred commentaries. Some could likely qualify as profound or informational; some probably more rambling and a bit disjointed. There have been many reactions; some printed; some face-to-face; some accompanied by finger-wagging of one or more digits. Most feedback I ‘ve enjoyed.
But I’m troubled. Why is it the most reactions I’ve gotten to a single column was when I wrote about wild turkeys trashing up our property? What is it about those damned birds? Common ground, I guess. Most responders had their own complaints. Well, if that’s what binds us together, so be it.
Some suggested solutions that couldn’t be reprinted in a family blog. But the most pointed and … you’ll excuse the expression … on target, came from a lady who’ll remain anonymous. For obvious reasons.
Her advice: “Shoot, shovel, shut up”.
Some advice you just know in your heart is right.