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What Happened? I Use to Take Acid… Now I’m taking Antacid!

I was watching CBS, “Betty White’s ‘Off Their Rockers,” and was getting angry. The show is a new spin on candid camera pranks, where older improv actors say and do outrageous things in from of unsuspecting younger people. There’s Betty White, saying nasty things and swearing and it’s like, ‘Ohh…so funny, she’s old and has a foul mouth! Ha Ha!’

There’s an older woman who wants to go to a strip club. And cut to the reaction of an 18 year old laughing as if to say, “Oh, how weird, she’s old and wants some action!

Yeah. Hilarious.

Although it’s refreshing to see older improv actors on TV without Botox, the one-note premise of the stereotyping of older people is scary. Especially when I realized that I was one of those older people.

Hey, do you really think that there will come an age when you won’t be who you are now? Really?

Let me explain it to my younger friends. There I am doing what I have always done in my life, having sex, going to Burning Man, and snowboarding -- except now people have opinions about it because I’m over 50. So, that’s kind of weird.

I tend to forget how old I am, and it sometimes hurts my feelings. Early this spring, I was on a chairlift at Mammoth, and some 15 year old snowboarder dudes joined me on my chair. They were really cool. On the ride up we discussed different approaches to jumps, how to catch more air, and just how awesome the day was. When we got to the top, they waved, “Later!” as they boarded off. Watching them board away, I felt the sadness of rejection. I realized that I had actually thought that we would do some runs together. Perhaps, we’d share some tunes, and they would turn me on to music I didn’t know about. And maybe they’d even invite me to drop by their condo and play Guitar Hero. But, watching them go off, I realized that I they saw something I couldn’t see – my age. They didn’t see a potential friend; they just saw an old person. And hanging with them would be considered weird, or even creepy.

Wow… when did this happen to me? Damn the day that AARP mailers started showing up in my mailbox. Damn the day I found that white wadded up Kleenex in my left hand, just like my grandma always seem to have. How did it get there?

Yes, there have been changes due to age. This year at Burning Man, I felt like going to where the techno music was blasting at 4am and screaming in my Jewish Grandma’s voice, “Turn that damn music down!

But, actually, it was at Burning Man where people didn’t really look at me as different. Age didn’t matter there. One night, I hung out for hours with a 21-year-old guy who just thought I was cool. He said he felt like he could talk to me, and wished that he could talk to his own mom like that.

So here’s the thing: no matter what your age, there’s one thing that everyone wants and everyone can offer to others. It taking the time to really listen -- and to hear what someone else has to share. That’s one thing that doesn’t go away with age.

26 comments:

Sheri Zampelli AKA Gal VanIZed said...

I'm almost 50 and I love it that I'm hot but I don't have anyone noticing it. So great. No droolers, ooglers or "I love you baby". Freedom. Finally.

Business Presentations said...

Love your headlines, Judy.
I knew I crossed a threshold when I could walk in front of construction workers and they remained quiet.

Mr. Ed The person... said...

Back in the 70's I use to celebrate my birthday by doing drugs or getting drunk. This March I will turn 60 and on my birthday I will celebrate by doing 1001 sit ups. I have nothing to prove except that age is just a number. A number that comes with a lot of experience that makes you a much wiser person.

Kelechi Jaavaid said...

Hey I turn 50 earlier this year, and I play basketball with a 28 year old semi-pro football who trains with me because we don't see age in our workouts just results. And yes the younger women are hitting on me at the gym, it's all ageless fun!

Dr. Audrey Levy said...

I'm going to be 60 in December. People tell me I look like 40. I'm even a few pounds below my goal weight - I think I look damn good! So I pissed off the woman giving me ice cream at Carvel a couple of weeks ago. She was wearing braces, and she said, "Get the fuck out of here, you old hag! I was stunned into speechlessness for what seemed like an eternity - did I look like an old hag? Did I look old at all? Who was this bitch from hell, and how dare she say this to a customer, even if I looked like a zombie. My unoriginal response was to yell "Fuck You" at the top of my lungs, and walk out of the store, but I was shaking, and it took a while for me to calm down. When I got into the car, the first thing I did was check myself in the mirror - did I look like an old hag? Only the mirror knows for sure!

Molly McCormick said...

Great little story and so true! I have something you can appreciate. My partner and I were having some clogged up problems from too much rich food and vacations. I offered her one of these chocolate laxatives and we each took one. A half-hour later, she asked me "are you feeling anything?"
We laughed so hard knowing that 30 years ago, we asked the same question but it was for some hallucinogenic that we had taken!

Unknown said...

Hey Judy. Burning Man, Mammoth? You have been so close to my little town of Gardnerville, NV. I might see you in the Playa next year? Great story, and we are all as old as our fears, and as young as our hopes. Just returned from a gig in Robinson, Illinois, for the Crawford Memorial Hospital. They said you had been there too. Great folks out in the land of corn.

Anonymous said...

Love this Judy! I actually have been using some cartoons about aging in my workshops with some senior groups and the response is usually pretty good. I think when you can laugh about getting older---you are able to cope with whatever comes. AND I enjoyed the play on words and the wonderful stories. Great article! Thank you!

Kim Myers said...

As usual, you make me laugh. I suppose it is because we have that same sense of humor. I love the sense of surprise when you an express so clearly what frustrates me! I am almost 55 (just around the corner). I hated those AARP notices and when I logged in to do my yearly benefits just after my 49th birthday and the system asked me if I wanted to do catch up contributions to my 401k. What? I wasn't even 50. I am a retirement specialist, but it still rattled me.

I love being older - except the jowls that seemed to come from nowhere - I can outwalk women half my age in heels! I don't bitch because my joints ache when I wake in the morning. In fact, I am still a huge bitch until after my first cup of coffee. But I have no problem telling those 'yung 'uns' that the music they listen to was my music. I figure I am not older until start calling everyone 'those kids', and spend a conversation talking about my aches, pains, etc., or living in the past. Guess i am still pretty darned young! Not as thin as I was, not quite as tall as I was, and the men I love now are bald instead of having hair in a pintail. I haven't changed - styles have.

Greg Haskins said...

Dittos across the board - I saw the Betty White show and also thought it was very one-note. The whole “it’s funny because they’re old” theme (for me) lasts a joke or two, not for an hour show. Now that I’m 51 and age 65 is far closer than 30, I’m already seeing the “divide” between old and young. I’m in spectacular shape for my age, but the fact that I have to say “for my age” already puts me in a category. Yes, I feel and live every word of your blog entry.

Randy Broad said...

Hi Judy,

Great blog and a better reminder to slow down, take the time to tune in, and LISTEN!...I believe I shared with you when we met I'm a member of Toastmasters. Most people typically think the reason to be in Toastmasters is to speak (me included). And much of TM is focused upon speaking and having various roles throughout the meeting in order to maximize the speaking experience...But, that's not the key role of attending a TM meeting. Nope, it's to listen. Yep widely overlooked by many but in order to be an effective communicator/speaker, you have to be an even better listener. Listening often requires greater mental effort than speaking and in order to be a better listener, focus on who is speaking, open your mind to hear what they're saying, listen for key ideas, ask questions, and finally do a mental evaluation...you'll then be better prepared to open YOUR mouth and say something intelligent vs. the alternative...and it took me till I was in my 50's to really get this.

Katya said...

Love this post, Judy! So well put and such a good message (of you)!

Michael D. Nye said...

Hey Judy - your latest post hit home for sure! I'm a boomer who stills wears what I've always worn (jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes), listens to the same music (with the addition of some new stuff), and believes "I didn't ask to be born" is still a good excuse for acting immature. Like you, I often forget that I'm not twenty. I'll find myself checking out an inappropriately-aged female (in her 20s), who's reaction is either "eeewww," or "you're cute - you remind me of my granddad."

One of the things I hate most is how youngish people will say things like "How's it going young man?" Or when newscasters refer to someone as "eighty years young." Are they really so dense as to think that's clever or complimentary?

I'm thankful that as an actor and improv teacher, I usually get along very well with people in their 20s and 30s. It should be about the art, not the age.

www.ElaineWilliamsLive.com said...

Love it! Boy can I relate! I told my college kids about you last night. I did 4 talks in less than 36 hours....it was amazing.
My stories are getting more and more vulnerable!

Thank you!
And stay cool, we have to re-define hip, cool, and "young".
I just watched the film: Miss Representation....scarey but enlightening.....

Charles Harrison said...

Hi Judy
I celebrated my 69th birthday at the Toastmasters Convention in Cincinnati. On the night of my birthday I met a 40 year old woman from San Deigo and for some strange reason we connected.
It was the most enlightening experience - we hung out together for 2 days till the end of the conference. It was just 2 buddies spending time together and sharing ideas - each about our future.
One of our discussion topics was your session and the way you handled that situation.
What I concluded is that we are all destined to meet the people who can influecne our life if we are open to it.
Young people can be the catalyst to re awaken our drive when our peers are telling us to slow down.
This together with the reading of your book teased out the message of me "Dont Quit"
See you in October in LA

Shelley Whizin said...

Beautifully said, Judy...and oh so true. I feel the same. I look forward to seeing you at your event in October. Mimi Donaldson referred you to me and I love her, so I know I'm going to love YOU. See you soon!

wetpaint1971 said...

The antacid line is one of those jokes you hear and think "That bit has been in front of my face the whole time and I missed it!! I wish I had written it! Oh well, you win. Very clever!!"

Karen Robertson said...

So far, it looks like I'm the oldest. Turned 70 last Christmas and I'm gearing up for my 5th triathlon (reverse sprint). If I weren't this old, I wouldn't have an act because my whole bit is about me thinking I'm a Smokin' Hot 35 year Old. It is what made me a comedian.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post - so true! I'm a 64-year-old woman who just did some shopping in a leather shop (they sell jackets, purses, etc.). The associate (half my age) called me "dear." Calling me "dear" does not "endear" you to me ... it makes me feel old and patronized (whereas any woman buying something leather wants to feel hot and vibrant). Not a smart move on the associate's part. #fail

Elaine White said...

I have experienced your being present. I will always cherish our walk with Sammy on the boardwalk. You LIVE what you joke about...and it's lovely.

Micheline said...

Get over yourself Judy. Declare to yourself that you are an ageless spirit. Age is just a number. Look at George Burns...kept on working until he couldn't...heck he was booked at the London Palladium for his 100th...couldn't make it because he didn't make it. Relish in your eternal youth.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Judy, I just wish you hadn't put two mistakes, ("use" instead of "USED") and ("in from of" instead of "in front of") Looks like you really need that new assistant.
I personally wonder why you would want to hang out with a bunch of 15 year old snowboarders, not my thing, but then again, I don't go to the slopes. I think as women, we are made to feel our age more than men, but the good news is we get to live longer.

Marty Dusig said...

At 76 the best part of performing standup, taking classes and performing in comedy videos is all the young peeps I get to hang and converse with.. Keeps me thinking "young". My "Alta Kocker" friends don't understand my going out at night to some club at 9-10 PM to do 10 minutes when they are just getting out of bed to take their first leak of the night.

Billy Strean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Billy Strean said...

Hey Judy (and friends)

You have to read this blog (under the title: “Are you okay, sir?” Magic!")

http://billystrean.com/blog/page/5/

about my adventures with age and snowboarding ... and one of the best quotations ever.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post Judy, reminded of joining a new class halfway thru a fitness instructors course and as soon as I walked in the door someone yelled you’re in the wrong room. Or while on stage back when I was only 70 doing stand up I remarked that I was having more sex in my sixties than I did in the sixties and a young man yelled out ‘that’s disgusting’. surprised, all I had was was ‘get fuked’ but the audience agreed, and I came right back. It caused me to take a deeper look and found such disgust for older women having sex with someone younger that it’s considered a fetish. As my partner of the last 6 years is 33 years younger than me we thought at first age might be a problem but it was culture: he’s Australian but like a lot of the US electorate he thought black people had a gene in their dna for cleaning up after white folk. And he’s not allowed to bring home Australia’s favourite cheese, well, unless it’s on sale. It’s called Coon. Maybe it’s that Australia is an easy country for us, cause we don’t get any noticeable flack. Btw new years eve I had the first acid I’ve had in 20 years. Sydney fireworks are the best!