Category Archives: Green Mountain Grit

Press Seven for “Older Than Jesus.”

I just got polled for the 2016 election, thus entering the endless stream of statistics from which current campaigns will attempt to divine the future.

I suppose I should be flattered that anyone even cares what I think, but after I hung up the phone all I could think about was that, when they asked for my age, I had to wait patiently through six younger options before choosing the last, number seven, which was depressingly simple: I am now “over 65.”

Like some cliff to the abyss, “over 65” seems to imply that I’m just waiting for the undertaker.

Well, excuse me, but I still have my teeth, my full faculties and an undiminished appetite to see the future.

My husband (also “over 65”) and I carry a mortgage, insurance, a car loan, and our fair share of debt. We shop for groceries, replace clothing and shoes from time to time, and even appliances, as necessary. We’ve even been known to spring for a little entertainment, when the budget allows.

But we are simply shelved as the generic ‘old’ by marketing mavens. Our individual habits and opinions are of little concern to them, so we routinely receive automated calls concerning chairlifts and back braces in which we have supposedly expressed interest.

We haven’t. In the course of just attempting to continue our meager income stream, I routinely carry twenty-two pound barrels of material up a flight of stairs and through the house. My husband carries the heavier loads. We get by because we have no other choice. We’re not ready to throw in the towel. We do eye those chairlifts a little enviously, though. One would sure come in handy when we occasionally have to move a forty-pound barrel of material up that flight of stairs!

I remember when Baby Boomers drove the market like a mighty machine. Blue jeans, Beatles, “Europe on $5. a Day,” Mustangs & Beetles, Pop Art, Coca Cola, best-sellers, ‘starter’ homes, Jazzercise, “having it all,” pre-nups, ticking clocks, Montessori pre-school, Botox, mid-life crisis…Madison Avenue couldn’t get enough of us.

But that was then and this is now. Twitter, Instagram, i-Phone, Pokemon, kraft beer and exotic sliders, Uber, AirB&B, game night, technical apparel, youtube; we Boomers don’t have much impact on the market anymore.

At most, we are welcome on the perimeter of where it all happens, but we risk appearing as pathetic as Donald Trump’s comb-over.

Generational relevance passes in the blink of an eye; but if you believe the news, many of us irrelevancies may live into our hundreds. How very inconvenient.

We are reminded endlessly of how little will be our contribution to society from now on; and what a burden we will be for younger generations.

That’s unvarnished ageism.

If many will likely live to be a hundred, doesn’t it follow to some extent that we have to be reasonably healthy in order to do so? And if we are reasonably well at seventy in an era when people live to be a hundred, isn’t it possible that we might be as valuable a member of society at seventy-five as a 50-year old was when, not too long ago, the average age of death was seventy-five?

Why aren’t we giving more thought to how a healthy population of mobile and experienced “senior citizens” might contribute as much to the economic and social well-being of their communities as do much younger citizens. It doesn’t all have to be about chair-lifts and Depends.

Next time some robocalling pollster wants to know my age, how about letting me hear an eighth option: ”Are you over 85?”

Legislature moves State House under cover of night

Senator McAllister (R-Franklin): “Where’d everybody go?”

Under cover of darkness last week, the Vermont Legislature had the Statehouse dismantled and moved (via flatbed trucks and National Guard helicopters) to an undisclosed location. According to insiders, the action was taken the day before embattled Senator Norm McAllister (R-Franklin County) was due to arrive for a committee hearing. McAllister was not informed that the Statehouse had been moved, or where it had been moved to.

There were a handful of reports of sightings of the golden dome, mostly in out-of-the-way or hard to reach locales. One Representative (who asked not to be identified) indicated that the moves would continue.

“We hear that Norm might’ve gotten wind of where we are, so we’ll probably be moving the building again tonight. WIth any luck, he’ll get lost trying to find us, which could buy us a few more days and save the taxpayers some of the relocation expenses. It aint cheap.”

State House spotted by hikers.

When asked why the legislature doesn’t simply vote to expel the scandalized Franklin County Senator rather than continue to resort to such extraordinary means to insure he gets nowhere near the legislative spotlight, one anonymous Senator scoffed.

“Oh, please. Dealing with Norm is the last thing any of us want to do.

A few million dollars here and there to avoid it is a small price to pay.”