As we age it is natural to think about our youth and the treatment we are receiving based upon the age we have reached. Here are the thoughts I expressed last summer on this topic. Nothing has changed since then, except for that part about being a year older and a tiny bit more sensitive to “Old” jokes.
On You Tube I subscribe to a number of channels. Most of them are music channels. You can see that list down the left side of my channel by hitting the link in the header above. Some of my subscriptions are video bloggers. Their efforts are vlogs. I have an eclectic group of those. One young vlogger (does anyone say “vlogger”?) came up on my You Tube home page with a topic on ageism. The older I get the more I do not want to hear about that, even though I feel and think about it more than ever. This is because we basically live in a world where youth is the target audience. Everyone over 35 is…well, OLD.
If you think I jest, pick up any magazine, turn on your television, look at your computer and tell me what sort of ads you see. Unless the ad has Betty White in it, you are probably looking at the young and the beautiful. That is a perfectly understandable strategy. Young people want to see how good they can look, and old people want to see what they wished they could still be.
The young vlogger was mentioning the prejudice felt by an older man. This showed up in the comments to one of his videos. It’s true we do not think of this when we are “wild and young” and may even make remarks that hurt an older person. We sure know the difference when we are older, however. While we may learn to laugh along with the “old jokes,” we may find it hard to brush aside some of the cutting remarks tossed our way. It is hard to impart this information on others. I guess it is like any other experience in life. You do not really know what it is like, until you feel it for yourself.
In the comments on another video, the young vlogger was asked if he did not find it creepy that his audience was mostly in the 45 to 64 age range. He says he was surprised by that, because he thought he would have an audience about his own age. He did not draw any creepy assumptions. In the last 30 days my You Tube audience is 67 percent male and 78 percent in the 55-64 age range. Of course, I have uploaded Beach Boys concert videos and let’s face it, that group is an older demographic. I just wonder about the views I got in that age range from Japan. Ah, the internet!
A couple of my friends of the same age have taken to big events for our “milestone birthdays.” Last year it was a giant picnic event. I said to one of my young friends, “I suppose you think I am one of the old guys now.” “Well, yeah!” he laughed back in my direction. I should have known not to ask such a stupid question. There were plenty of old jokes to spread around, mostly good-natured I suppose. Outside of our family and friends, members of the older generation may no longer feel welcome in social circles and without immediate family, perhaps even more so. I think I now understand Ernest Hemingway’s later years.
Recently Dick Van Dyke, now 86, made an appearance on the television show “The Doctors.” He discussed exercise with them as he jumped up and down on a trampoline. When asked how he stays young, he said that he hangs out with young friends. I suppose we could dig up some classic George Burns jokes for response to that. If you do not know George Burns, search You Tube for Burns and Bob Hope on some old age comedy routines they did when they were older than Van Dyke is now.
I have always liked the Van Dyke strategy, hang out with younger people who are fun to be around. In recent years I have been off on adventures with young friends. From new concerts and sports bars to trips around this country and Europe. I have kept moving, and by association (at least in my mind), kept young. When I am 86, I plan to take up the trampoline.