Lessons Learned

It was a typical day at Sam’s Club and there I was with my army-sized supply of toilet paper and a five-quart jug of peanut butter, waiting in line.  I was standing behind a group of elderly ladies and trying not to be nosy, but since two of the three were wearing hearing aids that appeared to be off, it was hard not to listen.

The first thing that hit me is that when you get older, your give-a-damns just disappear.  Nothing is off-limits.  I. Cannot. Wait.  I love these women. I want to be these women. I thought I had a snarky attitude, but I could learn a thing or two from these lovely seniors. They are my heroes.

Emily:  Yeah, I am so happy I found the value pack of these Depends. The Grateful Dead tribute band tickets go on sale next week and I want to be ready to stand in line.

Margaret:  Did you see the gallon sized Preparation H?  I didn’t see the gallon size of the Preparation H.

Joan:  What?

The next thing I realized is that these ladies, easily in their 90’s, get lucky way more often than I do.

Emily:  I’ve got a date with George tonight.

Margaret:  Didn’t you break your hip last time you saw George?

Emily (with a faraway smile):  Why yes, yes, I did.

Joan:  What?

And that being older doesn’t necessarily mean being nice. My Grandma Mooney taught me this lesson. These women just solidified the idea.

Emily:  Did you see Ethel’s bathrobe last night at the buffet?  I can’t believe she’d wear that!  It shows everything she’s got, the wrinkled old bitty.

Margaret (stage whisper):  I heard that she’s sleeping with Frank.

Emily:  Frank has the clap.

Joan:  What?

They didn’t quite get the whole concept of social media – though, really, this was to be expected. These ladies were obviously out and about and active, and no doubt spending their free time with tribute bands, and seriously, who wouldn’t?… with no time for idly sitting in front of a computer.

Emily:  I saw my youngest great-granddaughter, Jessica, today. She was busy on her cellular phone, putting on posts to Snaptalk.

Margaret (with a not-so-slight tone of ‘I know better than you’):  It’s Facechat, dearie.

Emily:  What?

Joan:  What?

I had a little déjà vu when we got closer to the check-out … I swear, I’ve had this same conversation with my mother. I won’t tell you which one of us is which in this scenario.

Emily:  Margaret, hand me my checkbook.  I think I have one check left in there.

Margaret (busily counting quarters and pennies): No, Emily, you used that in the dollar store.

Emily:  Are you sure?  Hand me my pocket-book.  Are you sure?

Margaret:  One hundred thirteen, one hundred fourteen… damn it, Emily, you made me lose count!

Emily:  Found it!  Now where is my license? 

Joan:  What?

I felt bad for listening in and was trying to read a magazine to drown them out, but they just wouldn’t stop.  These ladies never met an ailment they didn’t like and enjoyed the challenge of topping each other’s illnesses:

Emily:  My knees are really acting up today.

Margaret:  Oh?  My blood pressure is up.

Emily:  My heart feels funny…

Margaret:  I died last night, but I feel better now.

Joan:  What?

At this point, I felt like I knew them personally, so I made sure to wish them a great day.  Emily and Margaret nodded and smiled, heading out the door, but Joan looked at me blankly.  I repeated, “Have a nice day” in my outside voice and she leaned towards me.

“You know, I can hear perfectly well. I just find it more fun if it appears that I can’t. I’m seeing George on the side, Ethel’s my sister, I gave Frank the clap, and honestly, I can’t stand those two.”  Then she smiled and toddled after her friends to the door.

One last lesson I learned about the elderly today?  I cannot wait until I’m old enough to be Joan!

 

 

Geriatric Fight Club

Spoilers!  I am about to break the first rule of Fight Club.  I would apologize, but I just can’t help myself.

Costco is an oasis of peace (okay, okay, just give me a minute, it will make sense) with affordable groceries, and samples around every corner.  It is the store of choice for many value-minded customers, including those with huge families, restaurant owners, and senior citizens who like to hoard canned goods and toilet paper like there’s no tomorrow.

When our beloved seniors aren’t shopping for pants with waistlines that reach their chins or a detergent bucket the size of a cement truck, they are checking out the free samples.  I mean, Costco is known for their samples. You can have a free lunch just on samples if you time it right. And a damn fine lunch too!

Well, what happens in this world of huge quantity packaged food and delicious free samples when seniors attack?

Here, we see the fallout when one senior felt he was more entitled to a free cheeseburger sample than the other seniors in the line.  He had already cut in front of his opponent earlier in a line awaiting a free cheese sample.  The love of cheese and cheesy products makes people do crazy things, of that there is no doubt … and as to be expected, there was a smack down of antique proportions involving slow motion, arthritis-riddled violence.  The authorities were asking to see the surveillance video, and I confess that I’d eat a free popcorn sample and watch it, too.

How in the world did the responding police department keep a straight face writing this report?

It could be that the gentleman who started the assault felt, at age 72, that he earned his rightful place at the front of the cheeseburger sample line in front of the young 70-year-old upstart already waiting there.  Words were exchanged, hats flew, and glasses were shattered as the overly aggressive 72-year-old delivered the final slap to his opponent.  Safe to say, no cheeseburger samples were had by either party this day.

I’ve always known one simple fact in life:  do NOT mess with the elderly.  They have raised kids and grandkids, they have lived through a time when the US added two states to the Union, many have witnessed The Depression and several wars, lived through an era of dial telephones, had to change TV channels by hand, and they possibly smoked pot at Woodstock.  Rest assured, a fight over a cheeseburger sample is a walk in the park for these folks.

The worst part of the Great Cheese Fight of 2018 is knowing that both of the participants probably had to leave their homes hours before to make it to the Costco, given the guess that the Costco is 10 miles from home and an assumed driving rate of 2 to 3 miles per hour.  To make it worse, once inside the Costco there were hours of meandering aimlessly with their cart up and down the aisles.  They probably had worked up quite an appetite.

One good thing to come of it: this fight can be the basis for new advertising campaigns.

  • Klondike Bar: What would you do for a Klondike bar?  Hit my elderly neighbor in the face.
  • Cheetos: Dangerously cheesy.
  • Wheaties: The breakfast of elderly fight club champions.
  • Pringles: Once you pop, you can’t stop.
  • Centrum Silver: Always complete from “K” to “O.”

Now don’t misunderstand me, I love and respect the older members of society.  Hell, I’m on track to becoming one myself.  I can only hope that when I’m 72, I have the strength and spunk to butt in front of people in line and deliver a smackdown to anyone who opposes me.  There are many perks of being older, but to me, the best one is a complete lack of f**ks to give anymore.

If you have a hard time believing that anyone would go this far to get a free sample you have never had Costco samples, and if you don’t think anyone who is elderly would smack down someone over a sample, you never met my Grandma Mooney.

For me, I will live in the dreams of slapping people for silly reasons as I age.  I am making the list now and if you have ever wronged me, rest assured, I will find you when I am 70, even if I have to search every Costco in the United States.