November 25, 2011
6. THEY STILL USE BUSINESS CARDS
Every time you meet with boomers they jump up at the end and hand everyone their card. I don’t want your card. We were all CC’d when setting up this meeting, so if I have a question, I’ll check my “From…Contains” box. Every time an old person gives me his card I smile, apologize for not having my own, and then chuck it in the wastebasket when I get back to the office. Business cards belong in Japan and in 80s movies about wealthy serial killers. Another annoying trait about fifty- and sixty-somethings is how excited they get about what’s on the card. Boomers are the only people who feel proud when the boss gives them more hours at the same pay but elevates their title to “Chief Head Executive Officer of Development.” When people ask me what I do for a living I just say, “Whatever needs to be done.” (I stole that line from legendary old dude Martin Puris, but don’t tell anyone.)
7. THEY HAVE NO ASS
I understand that they don’t have balls anymore. I’d be scared of driving at night, too, if I was virtually blind. I’m not bothered that old men no longer have beautiful bottoms, but why does every woman over 60 have a backside that looks like a frontside? Is that my wife’s fate? Am I going to be looking at the Bonneville Salt Flats every time she lies on her stomach for the last two decades of our marriage? I don’t demand a woman retain an hourglass figure her whole life, but neither do I like the idea of seeing my wife’s ass as sands through the hourglass.
8. THEY CHECK THEIR STOCKS TWICE A DAY AND THEN PANIC
Present catastrophes notwithstanding, if you look at the stock market from when it began until today, you tend to see a line that is going diagonally up. Sure, there are some brutal dips but for the most part, waiting five years gets you back up to your original balance. The only way to lose money is to panic during these dips and start moving shit around. This is what boomers do. They eat moldy cheese because it’s “still perfectly good.” They break their toes and fall down stairs to save pennies on electricity. They drink wine out of a bag. Then, after saving a total of $127, they blow $50,000 in mutual funds because they got spooked one afternoon. Hey, guys, Google “calculator.” It’s free.
9. THEY THINK NOT REACTING IS AN ACCEPTABLE REACTION
After arriving at my father-in-law’s home I caught him carrying our heavy suitcase up the steps. “I’ll take that,” I said, taking it off his hands, “I’m way stronger than you.” This quip got nothing but silence so instead of copping out with a “just kidding—that was a joke,” I added, “I’m probably twice as strong as you, actually.” I’m not saying this should have induced seizures of laughter, but how about a sympathy chortle or maybe a casual, “We’ll have to see about that”? Anything. I don’t know if old people can’t hear or they don’t care, but I’ll never get used to a question or comment occasionally garnering a catatonic stare. Hello-o-O-O-O-O! (waving hand in front of face)
10. THEY CAN’T TELL STORIES
If they tell stories at all, they’re always depressing. As Bill Hicks said, “Mom, do you know anybody that DOESN’T have a fucking tumor?” And if it’s not cancer, it’s D-Day. I realize the Holocaust was bad and I am well aware how many young men died in WWII, but can we lighten the conversation load over here? I’ve been through these stories so many times, I’m going to need chemotherapy to treat my posttraumatic stress disorder. Oh, and when you finally bring us a funny anecdote or even a joke, can you take a few seconds to get the names and places right first? It’s hard to find something amusing when you turn it into a game of charades where “What’s that thing again?” and “Who’s that guy with the hair?” are our only clues.
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Thanksgiving can be fun and it makes you feel closer to humanity to reconnect with your family but man, are they a strange animal. Please share your observations in the comments below so we can better understand them and eventually learn to love them again.