I blogged about this earlier, but at the request of a couple of emailers, here’s the first of 10 ‘clues’ you need to ‘get’ if you want to engage meaningfully with curmudgeons like me.
Firstly, some background…
Curmudgeons my age don’t think of ourselves as ‘old’ — as in all of life, ‘old’ is relative (I have some old relatives) and is usually 20 years more than one currently is.
But irrespective of whether we ‘think’ we are old or not, we quite often ‘enjoy’ the following:
- Onset of illness or health worries
- Frustration with new technology and our seeming inability to ‘pick it up’ like dem’ dangnabbit young whipper-snappers seem to
- Feeling obsolete or irrelevant as far as the mainstream (aka youth-oriented) culture appears
- Lack of energy
- Insomnia (or unable to ‘bounce out of bed and greet the dawn’)
- Weight gain (not me, of course, but OTHER curmudgeons, of course!)
- Hair loss or turning into a replica of Santa Claus
- Teeth looking old and raggedy, or just plain falling apart
- Eyesight fading
- Loss of hearing.
- I said, LOSS OF HEARING you old fart
- Enlarged prostate (I won’t bore you with the details)
- Worries about having enough dollars in the bank in retirement
- Lack of relevance as the family moves out and ‘Grumpa’ makes the grandchildren cry when he looks at them
YES, yes, yes… we have more free time, a sense of achievement in our career or life (hopefully), and a retirement to look forward to (no having to deal with rush hour traffic, nor that inane new boss, for starters).
But the many drawbacks of getting ‘old’ make us more likely to be curmudgeonly than saintly, and the targets of our complaints are the usual suspects: the banks, the pharmaceutical companies, the health system, why policemen look so flamin’ young, the government (federal, state and local), taxes, the media, politicians, and teenagers.
So, Tip One: if you can identify what irks the particular GOM you wish to talk to, and empathise with their antipathy for their particular enemy of choice, you can bond on a deeper level than if you just came wading in to a conversation like a used car salesman.