Wednesday, March 24, 2010
America ain't got no use for old people...
While walking by the White House recently, I was thrilled to see Helen Thomas, famed journalist who has covered 10 presidents (and got some good laughs on the Colbert Report, too). She was being helped towards the WH security entrance by an aide (Helen is 89, after all) and I told her to keep up the good work. She responded with a smile and said thank you, which made my day.
Now Helen Thomas is certainly not a household name, and I don't know I could have recognized her more than 4 years ago when the internet made her semi-famous.
And I thought about her and the things she's seen and the people she's talked to. I thought, "This woman is living history." And I looked around and saw a woman being pushed in a wheelchair, and a veteran with a WWII cap on, and I thought how much more interesting these people are then all the history books put together.
And yet most of the time, they are seen as just old and slow. They are bad drivers. Their TV is up is too loud. They take too long in the grocery aisle. They are a hindrance, used-up, in the way, a nuisance. How terrible....
But it is. And I should know - up until I was in my early 20's I disliked adults in general, and felt completely divorced from senior citizens. Their needs and desires seemed unfathomable. It seemed like they were over, their life behind them, and they were just buying time until the end.
So my childhood was basically spent without realizing how cool old people can be. And I'm sure I'm not alone, which sucks.