|Aging: Just A State Of Mind
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
Just got home from the airport. Tired and
behind schedule on writing my column.
Spent a long weekend in Florida. Went down
there with Lil and Allison to celebrate moms 85th birthday. My sister,
brother-in-law and niece Carole, Gil and Debbie joined us for the October
8th family celebration.
A three-day trip to Florida is lots of
work. Youre flying the first and the third and relaxing and celebrating in between.
Saturday morning we left the house at 5:30 A.M., not my idea of fun.
But for moms birthday, it was worth
Eighty-five is something else. It is sure
deserves celebrating. And mom, in spite of her complaining, is doing very well. We had a
great birthday celebration and no, they didnt put 85 candles on the cake. They only
do that when youre young.
When youre a kid, aging is so
important, you do it in fractions: "Im five and a half."
For Allison, 11, each year is a badge of
honor plus a party and presents.
It goes that way through your teens. You
cant wait for the next birthday. "Im 15, going on 16." Yeah, you
were 15 last week.
Or, "Im going to be 18."
Sure, in three years!
This entire frenzy is aimed at becoming,
first 18 and then 21. Liberation! You can make your own choices. Youre legal. You
can drink. Then it happens, you become 21. Is it all over?
You start heading for 30. Our editor,
Tamara Hartman, turned 30 the same day mom celebrated 85. Tamara found it much more
painful. For me, thirty wasnt bad; 29 was awful. I had a whole year to grieve. I
keep telling Tamara, that its really better on this side of 30 my side.
Then why, do you "turn 30",
"push 40", "reach 50", "make it to 60", and "hit
As the old joke goes, after that, its
a big deal when you hit Thursday.
Somewhere, after 85, everything starts to
revert to childhood. Each year becomes a badge of honor plus a party and presents.
Who knows, maybe well all fly down
for moms 85th and a half on April 8th.
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
One of the popular internet emails that has
been circulating for awhile suggests that mom might not be the only one feeling old at the
moment. I share it with you.
In case you werent feeling old
today, this will certainly change things.
Each year, the staff at Beloit College in
Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of that
years incoming freshmen.
Here is this years list:
Everyone who is starting college this fall
across the nation was born in 1982.
They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and probably do not know that he
had ever been shot.
They were pre-pubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.
There has been only one Pope.
They were eleven years old when the Soviet Union broke apart, and do not remember the Cold
They have never feared a nuclear war.
They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums.
The expression "You sound like a broken record" means nothing to them. They have
never owned a record player.
They have likely never played Pac Man, have never heard of Pong and may never have heard
of an eight track.
The compact disc was introduced when they were one year old.
As far as they know, stamps have always cost about 33 cents.
They have always had an answering machine.
Most have never seen a television set with only thirteen channels, nor seen a
black-and-white TV, but have always had cable.
There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what Beta is.
They cant fathom not having a remote control.
They were born the year that SONY introduced the walkman.
Roller-skating has always meant in-line for them.
Jay Leno has always been on The Tonight Show.
They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
They have never seen Larry Bird play.
They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as World War I, World War II and the Civil
They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
They cant imagine what hard contact lenses are.
They dont know who Mork was or where he was from.
They never heard "Wheres the beef?" or "Id walk a mile for a
Camel" or "De plane, de plane."
They have no idea who J. R. is and dont care who shot him.
The Titanic was found? They thought we always knew where it was.
Michael Jackson has always been white.
Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America and Alabama are places, not groups.
McDonalds never came in styrofoam containers.
There has always been MTV.
They dont have a clue about how to use a typewriter.
Most of the readers of this column
probably reacted to the above very much like I did. Community newspaper readers are
usually, lets say, over thirty.
Well, welcome to the other side!
Happy Birthday, mom and Tamara!
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com
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