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The Computer Buzz October 9th, 2008

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


Pity the Young

Most of the time this column is about computers. This week it's about people. For the past thirteen years we've met life head on, six days a week right here at The Computer Factory. As Nome and I have grown older we've learned a few important things about aging and people. Age changes our appearance to a far greater degree than our substance. On the inside, most of us are pretty much the same people we were when we were twenty. Oh sure some things don't work quite as well when you're 65 as they did when you're 20, but nature has ways to compensate. We're a lot smarter now.

Having been young once, we know how young people think. More to the point, we know how young people perceive themselves and how they perceive us. The young folks however, haven't a clue how we think or how we perceive them. It gives us the edge. As a 30 year old, I can recall being amazed that my 40 year old neighbor could ride a bike like a pre-teen, that a 55 year old employee could carry a 185 pin bowling average and that a 65 year old grandmother could do the "mashed potato".

Such is the arrogance of youth. They assume that whatever age they happen to be is the "perfect age" and every year after is an accelerating spiral into decay. Of course the "perfect age" moves along with them as each year passes. The young tend to regard seniors with benign tolerance. Though recognizably human, we are somewhat defective. A twenty five year old can't really understand how a 65-year-old man or woman could possibly be regarded as physically attractive to anyone, yet we can. It's because we're smarter.

No matter how smart, sensitive, caring or understanding a young person may be, it is not possible for them to see us as we see ourselves or to see themselves as we see them. It is impossible because such insight comes only from experience and they don't have it. The universal patronizing attitude of younger people toward seniors may irritate some of us at times, but it shouldn't. We are old enough and smart enough to understand that this attitude is embedded in the young. It is an affliction they will inevitably outgrow. It is up to us to take advantage of it while we can.

We get discounts and preferential treatment wherever we go. The assumption by youthful opponents that we are age-impaired can be useful in pool, poker, golf and other situations where the overconfidence of youth can lead to a handsome profit for the crafty senior. The important thing is to stay cool and enjoy the benefits, privileges and insights of a lifelong education. Don't let the cat out of the bag. If the young ever figured things out, we might lose our senior discounts.





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