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When I was young and even more foolish than today (some might say), and complained about old people, my mother would admonish me that I myself would be old someday. That seemed light-years away and highly improbable, as even fifty seemed an unattainable age in those halcyon days of youth, but alas, Mum was right as usual.

I find it hard to believe that my children are all aged over fifty.

The years have rolled by, but disrespect for those of us advanced in years has increased, if anything. I am offended continually by those television ads featuring a grey-haired grandmotherly type and her spouse who is not the full quid, generally sporting a white moustache. They are portrayed as not understanding the most basic concepts of insurance or retirement and have to have it spelled out in the commercial by some patronising young voice.

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Of course, the disrespect for the old is not confined to the media but is all pervasive. What old person (I refuse to say senior citizen, as that to me is the ultimate in governmental patronising) has not been harassed by a young attendant in a supermarket while using a self-service checkout. It is as if the attendant finds it incomprehensible that an oldie is capable of understanding and using a touch screen.

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Then of course there are the so-called aged care facilities. They are by and large run by overseas companies whose main concern is to make a quid. The oldies are charged an arm and a leg, and are confined to a room with nothing to stare at but the ceiling, or if they are lucky, a television. For those who are unable to get out of bed in order to relieve themselves, they are often compelled to wait for assistance which doesn't come. 

There is in many cases little entertainment if any, and the food leaves much to be desired. Although I have no proof, I believe that in some facilities the oldies are sent to meet their Maker on the basis of a wink and a nod from a relative, usually from an overdose of morphine. There is no way that I will ever be an inmate.

 

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Whenever I am asked whether I am a senior citizen, I respond that I am not and merely appear aged because of a grossly misspent youth. That generally quietens them down.

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Not Flysa. Photo just to have a laugh. Sorry mate. 

Most recently, the idiots who introduced AstraZeneca without any trials, have now decreed that is suitable only for those over sixty. When older recipients die after vaccination, the line will be that they were going to die anyway, and the jab had nothing to do with it.

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But all of that disrespect begs the question, what do the young know that we oldies don’t? Not much I would submit. The list of things that the young no longer know, but we do, is too long to set down in full, but a few examples are:

Long division and extracting square roots by hand (given that the young even know the meanings of the words);

The names of the early Australian explorers;

How to spell without the use of a spell checker;

The basic rules of grammar, including the meaning of a split infinitive;

The requirements of common courtesy, such as opening doors for women, and vacating seats in public transport to pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly;

A general history of the world;

The names of the various capital cities of the world;

Famous poems;

And so on.

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All of that and more was drummed into us in school, but no longer, as even the teachers of today do not know the answers.

The thing that has most surprised me on becoming old, is that I do not feel old. It is only the body which has slowed down, and not the mind nor the spirit. Tennyson said it all in Ulysses, when demonstrating that even the most heroic,such as we on PR, must grow old:

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

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