Friday, October 1, 2010

Seniorhood: Such a Pleasant Surprise

“The Senior Guide Contains a Lot of Truth”

Dear George,

I’ve gone through some psychic pain making this transition from being a junior to being a senior. I should have worked it all out years ago, but I’ve resisted because of all the goofy age stereotypes in TV sitcoms and Geritol ads. Just this week, though, I’ve had quite a breakthrough. What I’ve discovered, believe it or not, is that being a senior is a big step up from being a junior.

“Seniors play all sorts of racket sports” [Note: All photos from the 2010 Senior Guide]

Yesterday, coming out of the drugstore, I happened to glance at a rack of free magazines and noticed one called “Greater Cincinnati SENIOR GUIDE.” I’d never paid attention to publications of this sort, figuring they were designed for my grandparents. This time, though, I took a copy home to see if there was anything I should know about if I were to get old. Holy moly, was I surprised! Here I’d been deliberately not thinking of myself as a senior citizen. Now I find that it’s one of the best things one can be. Just paging through the Senior Guide, it’s clear that seniors’ lives are filled with wonder and joy. The first thing that struck my eye is how good-looking seniors are. If you were to go to Florence Mall and look at a bunch of juniors, you’d see a lot of plain-looking or even ugly people. However, you can’t help but conclude from the photos in Senior Guide that virtually every senior in Greater Cincinnati is good-looking, slim, stylish, and has a perfect complexion. I never realized it before, but it seems that people get more and more attractive as they age.

Some Typical Seniors.”

Being an empirically-minded social scientist, I did a content analysis of the photographs in the Senior Guide, e.g., counting the number of instances that people were smiling vs. not smiling. The results are given in the table below:

Table: Content of Photos in the Senior Guide

People together(vs. people alone)..76%

Male-male pairs.....................0%

Female-female pairs.................8%

Female-male pairs..................92%

People smiling (vs. not smiling)...97%

Physically touching (vs. not)......64%

Disabilities (e.g., walker).........3%

In apparent physical pain...........0%

Looks physically ill................0%

Looks confused, disoriented.........0%

Appears depressed...................0%

What the data show is that our everyday fears about aging are a bunch of hooey. One clearly wrong idea is that old people are socially isolated. As these real-life pictures of actual people in real places prove, elderly people are together with others the vast majority of the time (76%). Moreover, while older women occasionally spend time with one another (8%), they are nearly always in the company of their handsome male partners (92%).

“Seniors are giddy and joyful”

The most significant fact from the Senior Guide is that seniors are deliriously happy. As noted, they smile 97% of the time, and you’ll never see one frowning. Also they spend much of their time (64%) exchanging affection through physical touch. Further, the supposed idea that seniors are prone to ill health has no support. There isn’t a single senior in this Greater Cincinnati sample who shows any sign of pain, sickness, mental decay, or depression. True, one person used a walker; another, a wheelchair. But you would find that in any really big group of teenagers too.

“Seniors communicate mainly through physical touch”

The upshot of all this is that I’ve become much more enthusiastic about my chronological age. I had no idea of the swell times I was missing out on. The main thing I need to do is learn to smile a lot more so that I’m more in tune with my age group. As soon as I’m done posting this link I think I’ll walk down Ludlow Avenue and let passersby know that I’ve decided to become a senior. They will probably treat me politely, but secretly, I think, they will be a little envious.



G-Mail Comments

-Linda C (10-2): Absolutly one of the best. I am going to look in mirror and practice smiling love Linda

-Anon (10-1): This is really funny. I think the picture with the group playing cards might be the opening scene of a porn film. They have their hands all over each other. The one woman is pretending to touch her female friend's hand while making a stealth play for the guy too! The bad news seems to be that when you're a senior guy, there are lots of women around, but you have to keep your hands to yourself!

-Gayle CL (10-1): Very amusing.... You are certainly looking at the bright side of aging. ;))) just don't stand on the corner w a group of Seniors wearing a red hat.... I ll explain if u don't know what that. Means :))))) get back to me on that ;)). X

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