When WC was a snotty teenager, he used to go to the John Birch Society booth at the Tanana Valley State Fair and bait the old geezers that sat there. WC would ask smart-ass questions and their faces would get red, little bits of spittle would appear at the corners of their mouths. They’d sputter and, eventually, lapse into strings of obscenities, giving WC the moral victory. Tormenting those old farts was one of WC’s cherished late summer rituals.
Well, WC is older than those geezers and old farts now. Today WC turned 65.
WC, when younger, looked down at old folks. Locked in their ways, for the most part, with inflexible minds, reflexive rejection of new ideas and boring, boring stories.
Now WC is one of them.
It was Dom LaRusso who taught WC that old age didn’t have to mean fossilization of the brain. That getting old didn’t have to mean getting stale. LaRusso showed WC that old age could be worthy of respect, not just demand respect. Since then, folks like Karen Parr, who takes on more audacious tasks with every year, have underlined LaRusso’s lessons.
Still, it was old farts and geezers who led us into the trauma of the Vietnam War, sending youngsters to go fight their war. It was geezers and old farts who fought to keep the Old South’s cherished kind of apartheid against the kids who marched and worked there to defeat it. Even today, even at age 65, WC holds some bitterness, some anger, towards the elderly for that history. Irrationally or not, WC’s generation cast the young as heroes fighting the old as villains. And we weren’t entirely wrong.
But at age 65 “them” is now “us”. Doubtlessly, there are teenagers who see WC now and think as WC did then. It’s perhaps inevitable. The young self-image WC has always held of himself is getting harder to hold. As creaky as WC’s knees.
Still, age 65 is better than the alternative. And really something of a surprise, given WC’s repeated stupid decisions, some of them described in this blog.
Thanks to all who have tolerated 65 years of WC. A kind of half-hearted apology to the Birchers WC used to torment, not because they were right but because WC’s motivation was wrong. And thanks to folks like Dom LaRusso, Karen Parr and Eve Kozloski who led by example and not by lecture.
We’ll now return to the usual struggle with entropy.