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The Tube-Sock Syndicate

By Tom “where the hell are my glasses? Oh, on my head” Waters
02/16/02
I have a solution to the welfare problem, the black hole of social security, and the mess that Medicare has become. It's one simple, straight forward resolution for all three, and it's a wonder that no one else has thought of it before. Maybe it's drastic, but drastic times call for drastic tablespoons. The solution is this: anyone who is over 60 should be jettisoned to a remote, isolated location or, barring that, just segregated and 'involuntarily seceded' to Florida. They've got most of the state as it stands, so it wouldn't be that big a change. There's plenty of room in the other neighboring states for the younger families to move laterally so that they could receive similar or greater wrestling and Nascar reception. This may sound shocking, but it beats my first proposition, consisting of a new strain of pesticide. Oh boy. I've said too much, and endangered your personal safety. So aside from the fascist viewpoint, which is purely fantasy and a bit extreme for most.

I think a tropical or sunny retirement state as an absolute is a perfect compromise for everyone considered. Because old people are a pain in the ass. Well, nine out of ten old people. Let me amend that and say forty nine out of fifty. Actually, after an exhausting census, my final nice senior citizen to miserable old crone ratio would have to be one to four hundred and seventy two. With a one person margin of error. Since I don't have grandparents any longer, I can say this in good conscience.

The elderly are wicked, crotchety, incessantly whiney leeches on the change purse of the system, and I for one am jealous and tired of it. In a day and age where longevity is upheld and revered mere decades after a financial loophole was created to give the retired and useless a meaty allowance with no strings attached, something has to give. Namely, the retirement program. I keep hearing on the news that I'm not going to have any social security if, and when, I make it to 55. I say we head those shenanigans off at the pass and just Priority Mail every available old person to the Sunshine State. Every time I wait in a grocery line, or get stuck behind some tank of a Lincoln Town Car that looks like it's being driven by a two foot blue bee hive, I'm reminded of two things. One is that my taxes are sluicing out of this person's pocketbook or money clip at the speed of sound. The other is that senior citizens are irrationally rude to everyone but themselves.

Back in their day! When they were younger, in their time, in simpler times.......ad infinitum. You've heard all of the stories and I'm sure you have a few of your own. When dinosaurs roamed the earth and for some strange reason the world was paradoxically slanted so that every walk was somehow uphill, be it to school, work, or church.... Back in a given sarcophagus's day, people could drop out of school after the fifth grade and get a steady job with benefits, security and a pension for the rest of their lives. I'm almost vicariously nostalgic because in their time, you could look forward to letting the state carry and support your wrinkled and liver-spotted ass for the last twenty plus years of your life. Granted, some elderly actually did put money and hard labor into the system of retirement. But how many women from the forties and fifties never worked a day in their life? How many senior citizens go the doctor three hundred times a week just so they can talk to another human being and use up my benefits at the same time? I don't understand how old people have the right to complain about the obscene rate of inflation (which may seem obscene if you've watched the cost of living shoot up over the course of ninety years) when it's not even their money that they're spending!! The federal government has a big community chest that the country dumps their taxes into, and all of the rudimentary doctor visits and placebo medications are draining it faster than a headlining stripper with a body shot of Jim Beam. Is it any wonder that I feel like I've been jail-raped by a gang of Aryan bikers? Not only do I get to watch the elderly spend my money, but I get to hear them complain about it! My generation, and every one after that, is getting it from both inputs, without lubrication. I've been violated!

Why are they so incorrigible? Maybe it's because their time in the lime light is over. They no longer count as a demographic, and no one pays attention to them for the most part, so they feel like they have to kick and scream to get attention. If I had a nickel (or what a nickel was worth when these people were my age, as they're so fond of pointing out) for every time I've had to sit idly in public and listen to some parchment corpse whine and lament at length to some helpless service person who stopped listening after about two minutes, I wouldn't have to worry about squirreling cash away for a retirement account. Nobody cares what some anonymous ancient wretch has to complain about, because they always complain! It's not so much 'boy who cried wolf' as 'the old lady who bitched about the inflated cost of tooth paste.' If I had half of a penny for every time I wanted to bludgeon one of these people over the head with the nearest blunt and/or rusty instrument, I'd never have to work for the rest of my life.

There's a sort of a reverse-vulture effect with old people. After a certain age, relatives and total strangers, uncomfortable with illnesses and the reminder of their own mortality, steer clear of septagenarions, octogenarians, and the rest of the Al Roker jet-set like rats off of a sinking Frenchman. After being isolated socially, they go out into the world and cause a ruccus to synthesize what passes for a connection with a world they no longer have any control over. The isolation drives them mad! Well, that, and a pharmaceutical regimen that would put Hunter S. Thompson into cardiac arrest. A regimen that everyone my age pays for.

After being separated, old people enter into a Howard Hughes-type symbiosis with their radios and televisions, hard wired to the news and the weather stations in some futile attempt to keep track of what's going on around them. Other than current events, they don't watch or listen to anything that's been recorded for the last thirty years because they have no connection to the culture being represented. Young people (better known as any one under 300 yrs old) are seen as threatening because of their different value systems, style of dress, and slang, and thus young people are scowled at. It's pretty fun and cheap to aggravate old people, due to the fact that it's really easy. Whenever some cane-weilding ghost gives me the 100 yard stare, I just smile back and it sends them scrambling for a pill. If it seems like I'm making grand, sweeping generalizations, it's because I've lived in a neighborhood infested with old people for most of my life, and because most of them are true. So there.

The elderly have a strong bond with adolescents, since they're both on the outskirts of the workaday world. Old people see non-threatening innocence, and the chance to mold an impressionable child into something that resembles a decent human being, whereas children see someone who's loose with money and takes a proportionate amount of naps. It's sort of nice to see two sections of outsiders who find comfort in each other. Neither group is responsible for much insofar as participating with what's lies beyond their doorsteps, and they have a penchant for sweets and long-winded, self-invested monologues that most people aren't remotely interested in. The writer will now take a breather to surgically shove both feet in his mouth. Oomphgurgbleg...........

I'll go to bat for those one or two nice old people hobbling around on the face of the earth, or the wizened Nobel laureates, physicists and composers. But as for the rest of them, what good are they? They have no jobs, they're unconscionably rude, and they're spending my money! They can't function behind the wheel, they can't do anything at a faster pace than say, a snail with a morphine drip, and for as bad as I come off, they hate me just as much as I hate them. I hope their pacemakers go haywire at the turn of the century and we get a couple who drop like so many seagulls over Love Canal. We have to save Ben-Gay as a natural resource for the born-again toothless of tomorrow.

What would be so bad about Florida? The bitter and crippled love hot weather, as they have bad circulation and the humidity is good for their leathery complexions, so it isn't as if they'd suffer. When you think about it, the state is designed like a big retirement home. Bingo, shuffleboard, wading pools, and a gold mine of antique crap. Everybody dresses like they're color-blind, Cuban, or time travelers from the Hoover administration, so assimilation isn't an issue. And as far as I'm concerned, they can have Disney World, part and parcel; I don't give a suspender-wearing, circle-eared rat's ass! The rest of America could chalk it up as spoils of war and build an additional evil amusement empire somewhere else. So it isn't like old people would suffer if they got farmed out to Florida at 60. Washington could treat it like a commune, or a non-profit organization; separate, but part of the nation nonetheless. Senior citizens could have the fat of the land, and what drug cartel or immigrant boat would have the courage to face down a platoon of lobster-burned, topless hairy men in checkered shorts and ankle high socks? It's an ideal solution! I'd never go south (geographically, anyway), but if I play my cards right, perhaps I'll get banished or have to flee to another country by the time I'm in my sixties. This is known as 'pulling a Polanski'. Or was that what they said about George Michael? I can never remember.

The main reason I abhor the ancient isn't about the money, though, or that I'm going to have to work my tail off to grow old gracefully (if that's an option); I'm angry with them because they're allowed to act the way I wish I could act most of the time. An old person can get away with screaming at a total stranger in the face for twenty minutes without any fear of reprisal. If I had varicose veins and a walker, or one of those funky shopping wheelchair hybrids, I could coast around town, go up to a person, spit in their face for no apparent reason, and not get the mortal crap kicked out of me. Life just isn't fair. I came into this world an asshole, and sadly, I have to wait for the better part of my expectancy before I can act like one. In the mean time, I'll just have to tolerate the tired, the weak, and the aged, and they'll have to do the same with me. Mexican standoffs aren't so bad. When they're not in the seven items or less lane, that is.


 

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