Changing Aging Blog

Can Old People Just Be People?
Date: Dec 11th, 2009 11:44am


Eric Schubert

What does age have to do with it?  Dig this column by Sy Rosen, playwright who has written for Frasier, The Bob Newhart Show, The Wonder Years and other TV shows:

Lately I've noticed a lot of news stories that seem to focus on someone's age, and I'm not sure I like it: A 90-year-old woman votes, a couple with a combined age of 181 get married, two men in their 80s get in a fistfight on a tennis court, a 92-year-old goes to the World Series and a 101-year-old man buys a new Camaro (I wonder if he got the extended warranty). I guess what's annoying me is that the only thing that seems to make these stories newsworthy is the person's age. What's next -- a 91-year-old man eats a Big Mac? Why is age a characteristic that's singled out? We don't see stories like "Man with beard bowls 250."
Are they saying that age is an obstacle we have to overcome, and therefore it's newsworthy if we're able to do anything? But being old is not an obstacle. I can do anything I was able to do when I was younger (except maybe find my car in the parking lot).

Maybe they're categorizing some of these stories as inspirational. But an old guy going to the World Series isn't an inspiration; it's just baseball. Of course, there are some inspirational stories about older people. Stories like "88-year-old woman fights off mugger with her walker." In these dangerous times, that story certainly inspired me. No, not to stand up to a mugger but to hire that feisty lady as a bodyguard.

Read Rosen's full column here.  It originated in the L.A. Times.

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