Thursday 24 February 2011

You're never too old to be juvenile

On October 23, 2010, #1 Nana became a senior citizen when she turned 60. "It seems like it wasn’t so long ago that I wasn’t trusting anyone over thirty…and now I’m twice that age." Ah, now doesn't that make you stop and have a look in the mirror. Time marches on and what the heck are we going to do about it? I remember hearing somebody say something to the effect that we're all going to go through life once. We can go kicking and screaming, but we're going to go through it once.

However, a little humour is necessary to ease the burden and maybe ease the pain. After all, you might as well laugh as it feels better than crying. #1 Nana writes:

The spouse and I took a cruise in September. The boat was filled with older people. It came as a shock to me when, in a brief moment of enlightenment, I realized that they weren't older people, they were my peer group. I am a senior.

A friend of mine called 60 the start of the 4th quarter. His football metaphor - Or was it a simile? - clearly pointed out that we better fit it in now as this is pretty much our last kick at the can. Okay, that sounds a little ominous - We ain't dead yet! - but he certainly meant that we better stop saying, "One of these days, I'm going to get around to doing..." That day has come. Check your bucket list then put on your parachute and jump. (see my blog Parachuting: If God had meant me to...)

What I find so utterly amusing about this age is the experience and (supposed) wisdom one has in doing the everyday things we all do. A twenty something laughs at a "new" joke while I'm thinking that joke has been around since the beginning of time; it's just recycled, rebranded and repackaged. A twenty something looks at me as being "old" not realising that once, I was twenty years old too. A twenty something may be polite with me watching his choice of language not knowing that I grew up in the era of George Carlin's Seven Words You Can't Say On Television. The twenty year thinks that because I don't use my Twitter account as much as he does that somehow I am completely out of touch with life.

#1 Nana, as a retirement project, decided, like myself, to do some blogging and share her experiences and valuable insights with the rest of the (online) world. She got me laughing about a 60 year old dealing with a teenager.

According to her posting "WTF Wednesday: Nana Gets a $1.00 and a Boner", Nana has retired but is doing some substituting at a middle school. For those not in the know, this is a junior high school, grades 6 or 7 to grades 8 or 9 depending on the locale.

I immediately knew I would like Nana because I just love an educated, experienced, up-front woman who is not afraid to drop the F bomb. Tell it like it is, baby!

Apparently, a young gentleman was setting the rest of the class all in titters by showing off a one dollar bill on which he had written in large letters the letter B preceding the word "ONE" and the letter R just after it to form BONER. What caught my eye was that I still remember with some fondness (and embarrassment?) this silly type of off-colour humour which was the stable of the pre and post-pubescent ages of both middle and high schools. We thought we were utterly brilliant while anybody over the age of 18 considered us to be absolutely "retarded". - Anybody remember George Carlin riffing on how kids would snicker at saying something like "cockroach", a non profanity which just sounds dirty?

Nana's picture of this dollar bill is just hilarious and I am thoroughly amused that she would take a photo of it and publish it along with her story in her blog. Of course, she took the bill away from the student to keep order in the class but she did promise to give it back: I told him to have his mother stop by to see me and I was perfectly happy to give it back to her, after he explained to his mother the significance of the writing on the back.

It gets better. In her next "WTF Wednesday" published a week later, she tells of how the students discovered her blog and started leaving comments. While some of the comments are supposed to deliver a certain angry condemnation of the dollar bill being confiscated, they come across as being funny in their stupidity and ineffective communication. I like how the owner of the dollar bill posts his comment anonymously then turns around and writes a message which clearly indicates who he is. Smile for the CCTV.

So cold, so deep.
It just occurred to me; I had completely forgotten about this. Some of the Canadian bills have a picture of Queen Elizabeth on them. The older bills, dating back to around 1970 had a different picture and there was a way of folding them over so you could cover up part of the Queen's face leaving her cheeks exposed in a manner that looked like bare buttocks. Maybe this is slightly more creative than BONER but I suppose I would publish it in the same book of "(Dumbass) High School Pranks I Thought Made Me Look Like A Genius".

Nevertheless, this posting is to talk about it being never too late to be juvenile. A couple of years ago, at the ripe old age of 57, I go into the men's room to find a colleague, Roger, standing at one of the urinals. I silently take my place just next to him and we both stand there staring at the wall doing our business, all without talking. After 20 seconds of silence, Roger quietly says, "Boy, is the water ever cold."

Out of context, out of the blue like that, I'm not sure I understand what he is talking about. My mind races over the company we work for, the business we do together, our projects, etc. but comes up empty. Then there is this glimmer of recognition; this vague memory which had remained untouched, dormant for how long? Thirty years? Thirty-five years? Something from high school when we guys would make not brilliant but illuminating references to our genitalia. Yes, the remarks were not necessarily brilliant but they were illuminating about our post-pubescent fixation on being a man, scoring with girls and the size of our equipment. Could it be? Could Roger be making a reference to something from high school? I wasn't sure.

As I mull all of this over, another good ten seconds passes in complete silence until Roger once again speaks as softly as he did the first time. "And it's deep too."

I realise that yes, he is making a reference to life in high school. I cracked up. I started laughing so hard I'm surprised I didn't pee down my pant leg. The juxtaposition of two fifty-seven year old grown and supposedly mature men standing at the urinals and saying some high school joke about the size of one's equipment was the height of absurdity. I honestly had not heard anybody, any man say such a thing since high school when I must have been 16 or 17 years old. It was now over forty years later.

Roger can be a very funny guy. And yes, once in a while we will break from our moulds, a pair of now fifty-seven year old supposedly mature men, to make some juvenile joke about... well, I don't think we've said "boner" but I'm sure I wouldn't put it pass us.

Final Word
Are you ever too old? I guess a little humour is always called for. And sometimes a WTF doesn't hurt either.

A few years ago, a friend and I were sitting out on a terrace having a cup of coffee as we watched various people walk by. Please picture two 53 year old men. At one moment, a rather attractive young lady of 25 walked by. I leaned over to my friend and said quietly, "Hey Dennis. Look at that woman over there. She's wants it. [a pregnant pause] Just not from us."

Yep, you're never too old to be juvenile or maybe that just means you're never too old to be silly.


Benchmark 60
Serving the Blogosphere since 1/3/2010
I retired this past year. I hadn't really thought about what to do next; I just knew it was time to do something different. I will turn 60 this coming year. Both events seem like benchmarks in my life. Shouldn't I have some insight or well-won sense of purpose by now?


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1 comment:

#1Nana said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out! I was subbing this afternoon in an AP English class at the high school. We were reading The Tempest...and the kids couldn't help snicker at words like cock, ho, and virgin. I guess high school kids, even the really smart ones, aren't any more mature than middle schoolers.