I guess we might be talking about a double-edged sword — I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
If I do complain, I run the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man. If I don’t complain, then I won’t be able to bring to light this ridiculous, ludicrous, preposterous, all-the-other-ouses notion that people fifty years old and older are SENIOR CITIZENS.
That latest example of this outrageous assertion: A National Public Radio piece on how there’s been a remarkable spike in the past few years in participation in online social networking (i.e., Facebook) by seniors AGE FIFTY AND OLDER.
You know what I have to say about that?
NO. FRIGGIN’. WAY.
My mother is 78 years old. She is a senior citizen.
Is this the face of a senior citizen? (and you’d better give the correct answer)
OK? Are we clear on this?
The blame, of course, can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which made a really smart decision when it decided that it couldn’t focus all its attention on true senior citizens, who can be expected to die off at the usual semi-rapid senior-citizen pace. So AARP wisely decided to focus on pre-senior citizens and trying to cultivate interest among those still young and vibrant folks an interest in issues they would face when they someday became senior citizens — in, say, about thirty years.
Somehow, though, that smart marketing notion was mutated horribly into the notion that people AGE 50 AND OLDER are defined as senior citizens.
OK, here’s the rule of thumb we are all going to follow from now on. Age 65, technically you’re a senior citizen because you can collect Social Security. The reality, thanks to the still vibrant vibe of the baby boomer generation just now settling into their ergonomic-design rocking chairs, is that old fogie-ness probably begins at about age 75 — reach that age and beyond, then you just have to face facts: You’re old!
In these modern times, someone who reaches the age of fifty is NOT anywhere near being a senior citizen.
So here’s one last warning: Anyone who disagrees had better not come anywhere near me — or run the risk of having me whack you in the kneecap with my goddamned cane.