Elderly People Are Our Greatest Treasure

Strangely, I am not being as sarcastic as most of you must believe by reading just the title alone. “What?” I hear you cry. “What person below the age of 65 can possibly say that they cherish the elderly and actually MEAN it?!” Well, you’re looking at the text written by one right here. And before you ask, no I’m not suddenly in favor of the elderly because I am growing ever closer to that age — I have championed the elderly for many, many years now, if only to be contrary at first.

I have heard time and again you youngsters complaining of elderly people in the marketplace, making nuisances of themselves by not understanding technological advancements in the form of credit card machines and self-service checkout. Whose fault is that? Certainly not theirs! Perhaps you can turn an accusing eye upon yourself for being so impatient with these living fossils, these amazing withered prunes of doddering history.

Rather than condemning the elderly as useless husks of wheezing organs, why not pull one up and ask them to tell stories of yesteryear. Times gone by are fascinating, and you can learn a lot from firsthand accounts instead of a dry textbook. But this article isn’t just about why you should be interested in history. No! This is an article about the many uses and endearing qualities surrounding our grandparents and great-grandparents, and honestly — our mothers and fathers. And also soon, even our own selves.

This is an illustration of Amandoll in the foreground, looking cross and at her watch, also looking back at a group of party people. She scowls. The caption within the image says "you aren't terrible, just older."
I repeat this to myself every day.

Sugar and Spice and $20 Every Time They See You

Grandparents are known to have raised their own kids with a cruel steel rod and strict house rules that were enforced with a whipping belt. They wouldn’t take lip from their own children, who were born in order to help take care of the farm and to go off to work by age five so that they could afford to eat. All grandparents lived their prime in a time that looked like the 1830s and I won’t accept any proof that says otherwise!

Our grandparents were so mean to their own offspring specifically because they knew that they needed to get all of that vinegar and rage out of their systems so that they could dote on their inevitable grandchildren. It is not uncommon to see a five foot tall grandmother sucker punch her own near-elderly son for some imaginary reason and then turn and pinch the cheek of her grandchild while slipping it a twenty dollar bill, all in one swift, fluid movement! Unless that is a precious and unique aspect of my own childhood discoloring my perception. Who can say!

In fact, that is the dual use of most grandparents in this day and age, if used properly. If you keep them out of the Home and inside your own home, as other generations used to do and other cultures still do today, you would see your beloved, gift-bearing grandparents constantly keeping your own parents in line. Anytime you get lectured about the sins of youth, your grandparents will likely show up, drawn to the yelling and strife like paper thin, dusty moths to a flame. Your grandparents will intervene, if kept in proper condition. They will undermine your parents by tattling to you on their own teenage shames of years gone by. Or, they will just take your side with a twinkle in their eye, gaining energy from turmoil and conflict.

This is a drawing based on the Spirited Away Yubaba character -- the big mean old woman. She is holding up her hand as if to strike. Her cloak is wrapped around her. The words say:

"This character is from Spirited Away but modified to look like my grandma. Make her 4'9" and have her descending in rage towards my dad, and that's her exactly."
It’s based on the Spirited Away character, but it was obviously based on Grandma Wood.

Shut Your Mouths, Whippersnappers! It’s Time for Another Story!

The elderly are excellent story-tellers. Perhaps TV Shows have swayed public opinion into thinking that they go on endlessly with pointless words. The younger folk on these shows are seen rolling their eyes and disrespecting granddad and grandmama. People just don’t know a good thing when they’ve got it. Sourpuss Jane will see her grandpa prattling on about the Great War, and she will see an instant nap on the horizon — and she doesn’t even want a nap! So she will make a lame excuse and beat a hasty retreat, leaving Grandpa alone and sighing, destined to spend another rest of the day in his rocking chair facing the window, shedding a silent tear or two for times gone by.

However, Pollyanna Smartypants, the bright girl who knows how to make the best of any situation, will see Grandma taking a shaky deep wheezing breath, readying herself to launch into half hour long story that may or may not have been from her past. Sure, a large percent of the story might be made up, but there will surely be at least one single grain of true story in there. At the very least, you can take away the fact that your grandparent has a fantastic imagination, or a serious case of senility.

Another benefit of the grandparent ramble is the fact that you can use it as a distraction or a way to procrastinate. Our parents are always harping on us to spend more time with our grandparents, basically so that they don’t have to. They are ALSO harping on us to do chores, pay rent, help with the bills, and spend more time with THEM. So, say “sorry mom and/or dad, but I am spending time with my grandparent(s) today!” They will be thwarted.

You don’t even have to pay attention while your grandparents go on and on. That’s the glory of it all. They never quiz you afterward as they rarely remember what they’ve just said themselves. Grandparents really are like puppets who automatically tell stories and provide endless amusement for those people who are not phobic of them.

This is a drawing of a puppet of an elderly man, dummy jaw unhinged wide. Around him are the words, "I killed some twenty Nazis that day and that's how I met your grandma. We only ate pole beans for some three odd years, tain't you forget" and then they run out of room.
How I imagine a good grandpa to be.

When the Cataclysm Comes, I Want A Grandparent There With Me

Actually, the joke’s on me because I have zero grandparents left, but Grandma Wood would have been ideal. She was so old and bitter that the only thing we could have used her for when we become the few remaining survivors after:

  • the super volcano blows
  • the polar ice cap shift takes us all by surprise
  • the Last War happens and sets off Bomb after Bomb after Bomb
  • the Pandemic strengthens and intensifies
  • global warming goes haywire
  • a comet strikes the earth’s surface
  • the rogue and dread PLANET X comes by and knocks earth out of orbit

WHATEVER is surely bound to happen from that list (no need to pick just one!) — after it happens, the only thing Grandma Wood would have been good for would have been to act like some sort of living black magic voodoo doll that would steal the souls of any thieves who will be trying to steal our paltry vegetables from our radioactive vegetable patch.

While I am roasting my dad’s deceased mother like a coward, I would like to take an additional dark turn. Because if the Time ever comes, we will dig up her corpse to be used as a scarecrow. But we will discover that it hasn’t decayed at all in the past fifteen years. Thanks to her, my family and I will be feared and regarded as dangerous sorcerer kings on that stark new land of pain and sorrow. Enough about Grandma Wood and my family’s Issues about her in this article, however. That can wait for my tell-all book: Grandma Wood and the Prince of Darkness, contractually obligated best friends — a biography of two.

The old woman from the movie the Last Unicorn, made to resemble Grandma Wood slightly more. She is saying, "I'll siphon your youth and inhabit your dreams."
Grandma Wood modified from her role in the Last Unicorn.

According to the stories of the old which I have listened to and taken to heart, the End Times are still upon us. They learned this from their grandparents who learned it from their grandparents and so on for the past 1500 years — or more! Probably loads more. It stands to reason that with each passing generation, the odds continue to grow in their favor. Some day, the Cataclysm will come, and we will be left defenseless, in the bad kind of anarchy, hunted by wolves and aliens and alien wolves and zombies, all hungering for our tender fatty flesh. This will prove to be our grandparents’ GREATEST use, during this eventual scenario‚Ķ

You know how adages control the lives of the very old. They firmly believe that you are what you eat, and an apple a day keeps the doctor away. They also believe in an eye for an eye, in not sparing the rod because it will spoil the child, and in the overall belief of survival of the fittest and that nature will, indeed, take its course. Now, we have all seen those nature shows. When there are herds of terrified prey animals, who are the first to go? That’s right, the old and enfeebled elderly animals.

Tenderly start thanking your grandparents in advance now. Tell them that you love them very much. You know that they will be sacrificing themselves to the Dire Wolves which are scheduled to break out of melting glaciers by the end of this decade, or to the packs of mutant cannibals, or rabid infected clowns. Don’t make me make a list again!

Our grandparents someday will be fleeing from some horrifying predator with the rest of us, when he or she will “accidentally” trip. There will be carnage, the grinding of powdery bones between enormous teeth. Our grandparents will allow us to live another day. And so will the babies that get tossed behind to lighten the load of running away. Really, I hope the babies go first because you can always make more of them, but it takes a whole lifetime to make an old person.

Just a bad drawing of a badly made shirt that has the text "you can always make more babies but it takes a whole lifetime to make an old person"

Alongside it it says "welcome new million dollar shirt idea!"
Soon to be sold in tshirts of many sizes and infant onesies!

So let us hold our elderly people close and dear. Let us make their lives more pleasant in gratitude for the eventual ultimate sacrifice they will make that will enable the rest of us to make it to safety. It seems like a far more likely end scenario than the humdrum expectation of some kind of inheritance, especially since they probably won’t be able to leave them. Too many of these aged eventual-martyrs are skin and bones due to failing social security systems, rising costs of everything, and not eating due to depression caused by loneliness.

Let’s visit them, feed them, make them strong and healthy. All of that extra meat will surely afford us a few minutes more of time in the long run. I think I’d prefer that over a few thousand dollars that by then will be worthless anyway.

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