Due to popular demand, the interests of fair play and in order not to disappoint my legion of fan (Hi Elliot), I guess I’d better finish the Annoying Series with us middle-aged folks.
Obviously, this is my category and the category that most of my friends fall into. Since the 30-Something group seems to have encompassed people from their late 20s through to their early 40s; the middle-aged category must then cover anyone from their mid-to-late 40’s to their mid-to-late 60s.
So, this is not only a big age range, but also the most annoying. Which is why I couldn’t stop at just 6 things:
- They’re know-it-alls. There is no experience, event, disaster, situation, occurrence, happenstance, incident or occasion for which every middle-aged person does not have an opinion, idea and/or sage advice . This is why blogging is so successful for this age group. They love sharing their infinite wisdom with all and sundry and then commenting on, adding to or maligning someone else’s obviously finite wisdom. They are insufferably supercilious.
- The parables. The advice never comes in the form of “why don’t you try such and such”. No, there is always a true story from the middle-ager’s life to accompany the situation. They’ve lived a long time and done a lot of stuff and have, unfortunately, not yet forgotten any of it. They have a true-life anecdote for every situation. And the story always ends with: “let that be a lesson to you”, or “I hope you will learn from my mistakes”, or “you’d better not let that happen to you”, or “follow my example, my young friend and you won’t go wrong”.
- The cynical parenting. Their kids are more or less grown which usually means they’ve been through hell and back so now they will not allow the younger generation to enjoy their kids while they’re still enjoyable. They say stuff like, “Oh sure, it’s real cute when little Dakota smothers the kitty with hugs. Wait until she graduates to stringing the kitty up from the cherry tree out back or performs a vivisection on the neighbour’s poodle or starts locking small children in the root cellar. “
- They try too hard. They don’t get that they’re middle-aged. They think they’re still smooth hipsters. In fact, they delude themselves into believing they’re smoother and hipper than the younger generation. They are on a constant quest to be “groovy” “cool” even if they were never groovy cool when they were young, because accepting they’re not groovy cool now also means accepting they are old. So they dress in bizarre combinations of their 1970s/1980s retro old clothes mixed with things they see young people wearing. They try desperately to keep up with technology to prove their hipness, cluttering up their middle-aged homes with stuff they have very little hope of mastering. They have love/hate relationships with cars and either stubbornly cling to their 20-year old exhaust-spewing clunker or buy a really flashy, mid-life crisis car and then drive it slowly around the suburbs. They frantically try to fill their schedules with cool-sounding stuff that they can’t even stay awake late enough to enjoy. Sometimes they get divorced and search desperately for a new partner who will bring some spark and passion back into their lives which they then can’t stay awake long enough to enjoy.
- They’re the worst employees. They were the wildly enthusiastic career go-getters in their 30s and now find themselves settled into a rut. They’re burned-out from working 60-hour weeks trying in vain to scramble up the corporate ladder. They never achieved half of what they thought they would and are tired and bitter. They just want to be left alone to get on with doing the bare minimum they need to do to collect their pay-cheques so they can finally pay off that damned mortgage. They’re counting the days until retirement. They’re not good for workplace morale.
- The bodily functions lectures. Middle-agers can’t seem to get past the fact that even though in their minds they’re still young and vital, in reality, their bodies are well on the steady decline toward death. They talk about their alien bodies constantly. Women relentlessly and graphically hold forth about their menopausal symptoms and every monthly aberration leading up to this never- before-heard-of-event. They wail in disbelief about the veins popping out all over their legs; their sagging chins, their wattley necks, their bunions; their boobs which can now be tucked into their jeans (Hi Alison). They can carry on for days about the odd pockets of fat settling around their middles and hips that they can’t seem to shift no matter how many plans and diets and programs they undertake. Men, of course, are in complete denial about their aging bodies. All their pains, flaws, bulk and malfunctions are attributed to “old sports injuries”. Can’t bend over any more? It’s not because they’re out of shape or because of the beer belly, it’s a back problem dating back to a football tackle back in high school. No hair left on their heads? It’s from having to wear ball caps for years out on the golf course. Cardiac arrest? It’s from running too hard in track that day back in college.
- They were around for all the “important” events in history. Who has not experience two or more middle-agers waxing nostalgic about the day The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show? Or where they were on November 22nd, 1963. Or the awesome wonder of watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon? Or Woodstock? ‘Nam? Watergate? The British Invasion? Betty Friedan? Kent State? Martin Luther King? Nevermind that most of them were infants when most of this happened. They were in the same world at the time and so have a god-given right to lord this over the younger generation who know nothing about anything. Everything important that ever happened in the world happened in the 1960s and 1970s and only the middle-aged were there. No one has ever been, nor will ever be that special again.
- They can’t imagine how the younger or older generation could survive without them. After everything the middle-aged have been through and all the wisdom they’ve accumulated, it is now their sad lot to have to take care of everyone else who is far less capable than they are. Kids today obviously know nothing at all and are totally incompetent to run their own lives, so the middle-agers have to do it for them. The old folks no longer know anything and have become totally incompetent to run their own lives, so the middle-agers have to do it for them. In the workplace, at home, on the roads, out in public, the middle-aged bully, intimidate, arrange, organize, push, manage, control, fix, coordinate everything and everyone.
- They are the Boomers. Watch out. There are more of them than anyone else. They have all the money. They rule. The planet as we know it exists because of them. They invented feminism, civil rights, the environment, science, outer space, art, literature, peace, love and rock ‘n roll. They are afraid of what will happen to the world and to them when they get really old.
Despite it all, I enjoy being middle-aged (sort of). I’m wise and superior and I can laugh at everyone else (for now). And that’s something no amount of money can buy.