I cruised by the post office this morning to empty out the PO Box for work, and as I click-click-clicked my way inside on my noisy but super cool Ziggy Stardust boots, it occurred to me that 8:45 is a very old person time to be at the post office. Seriously, there were scads of old people, and there always are. But then I wondered: is the post office perhaps an old person place in general? You don’t see a lot of hip young kids picking out stamps (though that’s regrettable considering they have options like the new Simpsons ones I picked up) or filling out priority forms. Why is that? Is it universally considered uncool to mail parcels? Why didn’t anyone tell me??

Going anywhere (with the exception of Caribou) first thing in the morning or even at midday is like walking onto the set of Cocoon. Young bloods such as me are completely outnumbered by octogenarians slowly shuffling by in slacks and loafers. Old people likewise clutter Main Street with their Lincolns and Mercurys, apparently unable to exert enough pressure on the gas pedal to get going over 20 miles an hour. Watch out—slight curve in the road ahead! Better start breaking now!

Every time I indulge my annoyance with the elderly, I’m reminded of a fairly awful but fascinating 60s film called Wild in the Streets in which the youth take over politics and stick all the old fogies in retirement camps, where they’re pumped full of calming psychotropic drugs. At the end of the film, the main character has an epiphany spurred on by an encounter with some even younger kids: he’s going to get old. One day soon he’ll be shuffled off to a camp, too.

Whenever I read about scientific breakthroughs geared toward making us live longer, I usually think “Why would you want to?” The last couple decades of your life are downhill anyway, so why prolong the decay? It’d be different if such breakthroughs allowed us to remain sharp and physically active longer, but if all they’re doing is extending the average life expectancy, I’d prefer to leave a young and sturdy corpse, thank you very much.

Perhaps my dread of growing old has something to do with the fact that most of the old people I encounter are miserable. They’re lonely, terrified of running out of money, and damn near falling apart. Wow, I can’t wait to grow up! This is where someone kinder than I would point out the wealth of wisdom waiting to be harvested from the elderly. I might buy this argument if more old people had useful wisdom to impart, and maybe they do, but all I usually get are rants about the way teenagers dress and how the whole world is going to pot because mothers are working outside the home. You’d think all those years of living would have clued them in to the fact that the world has always been going to hell in a hand basket and it will continue doing so until the planet stops spinning. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my elders, it’s that I should be grateful all my limbs work and I’m able to go to the bathroom without assistance. When that stops being true, it’s time to pump me full of LSD and send me on my way.

T

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