Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Do I really have to respect ALL my elders?!

Hello loyal blog readers! It's been a disgustingly long time since I've blogged. I know when it's been too long since I've blogged by a few signs: 1. When my offline friends start reminding me persistently that I haven't posted anything new and are clamoring for another entry (special shout-out to Erica and Lisa who like to read my blog sometimes: Hey girls, sup yo?!), 2. When I haven't signed in to blogger for so long that I can't remember my username and password, and 3. When I feel super rusty EVEN AS I AM TYPING THIS.

Today's topic? Old people. (This is for you, Erica!)

In our society it is blatantly emphasized that we should revere old people and treat them with the utmost respect, seemingly just because they are, in fact, old. I guess this is because of the general assumption that their advanced years must have made them very wise and knowledgeable. Come to think of it, the only old people I've noticed who aren't given the automatic "Respect the Elderly Code of Conduct" treatment are those who are homeless drunks. Every other type of old person has free reign in the department of etiquette, decorum, and respect. What is not so often conceded is the fact that some of those old people, in their younger years, had to have been--quite frankly--complete idiots. My logic is as follows:

I see absolute morons around me somewhat frequently--in fact, I daresay on a daily basis. I'd be willing to bet that something like 30% of the people my age are idiots. And guess what: one day those idiots are going to be old, and some poor future generation is going to be forced to treat them as wise sages of infinite knowledge and ability, despite their continued immaturity and stupidity.

That's right--that idiot that just cut you off in traffic is going to be treated as if he were Confucius in a mere fifty years or so. And that teenager who just keyed someone's car in the parking lot for fun? Yep. The children of the future are going to be expected to look up to him as they would Atticus Finch or Mr. Miyagi, were they non-fictional. And that girl that just fervently prayed during her history test that she was right--that Benjamin Franklin was indeed the first president of the United States?! Well, she'll be seen as a regular Grandmother Willow as soon as she crosses over into senior citizen land.

I've known plenty of peers in my day who I simply can't imagine being revered by a later generation. Take for example the case of Dummy McIdiotpants* who attended high school with me: Dummy McIdiotpants thought he was all that and a bag of potato chips. Dummy McIdiotpants rarely, if ever, attended classes--and when he did, he was a massive disruption to everyone around him. Dummy McIdiotpants was evidently operating under the delusion that every time he said a swear word, made an inappropriate comment, refused to participate in class, talked back to the teacher, told a fart joke, or was sent to the principal's office/in-school suspension, he would be rewarded with a one hundred dollar bill. I say this because Dummy McIdiotpants did these things and more with so much fervor and persistence that it was almost as if he were being bribed to act out. And yet, someday I just know some child's parent is going to say, "Billy, you need to show respect to Mr. McIdiotpants. He's a very wise old man and has experienced many things in his life. You could learn a lot from him." Yeah. Like how to make meth in the comfort of your very own garage without getting caught!

Now, I'm not saying that all old people are idiots who don't deserve our respect. I'm not saying that AT ALL. I'm just saying we shouldn't completely rule out the possibility that someone much older than ourselves could be every bit as much of a screwball as Dummy McIdiotpants...or Dingbat Stupidsen, your delinquent next door neighbor. Likewise, lots of really great teenagers get short changed; they don't get nearly as much trust or credit as they deserve merely because they belong to a category of individuals seen as being out-of-hand and destructive. I've come to the conclusion that we should take each person we come into contact with as being exactly that: a person; a person who should be given respect, merit, and reverence based on his behavior, character, and action--not his age and the not-so-accurate stereotypes that accompany it.

*Names have been changed to protect the inescapably idiotic.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:

porphyrophobia (n): A persistent, abnormal, unwarranted fear of the color purple.

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"How long have you been seventeen?"
"A while."
--Bella Swan and Edward Cullen in Twilight.


  1. Almost started to forget this blog existed ;-)

    What's even more of a shame is those older folks who would actually be wise, but then get demensia or alzheimers. But good point about respecting everyone, not just our elders.

  2. Oh my, seeing that you finally got to this blog made my day! Yeah! I completely agree! Wonderful blog!