My students used to joke around with me, pointing out how old I was. Like, "You're so old, Jesus signed your yearbook!" And, "You're so old, your Social Security number is 1." Ha ha. I thought those were pretty funny. That might be because I didn't think I was old yet. Even though those 13-17 year-olds KNEW I was.
Well, today it's no joke. I yearn for the days when someone would tell me that my Social Security number was 1, rather than acting like I was PUBLIC ENEMY #1.
Last week, I stopped by Country Mart to pick up some Velveeta (don't be hatin') to put on some broccocaulipeppot. You remember broccocaulipeppot, don't you? My concoction of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, covered with sliced Velveeta, and topped with a face-down, split-open baked potato, then topped with sweet banana pepper rings.
Anyhoo... Country Mart was bought out by another chain in July, and has been rearranging the merchandise. I did not know where to find the Velveeta. I was on my way across the store, on the main front aisle, reading the signs hanging from the ceiling. Wondering if they were the OLD signs, or if they'd also been moved.
On the first aisle to the left, which used to lead to soda displays on the front wall, but now leads to a rack of school supplies, I saw a young man, perhaps early 20s, fiddling with a shelf. He was wearing a dark shirt with a logo, and a dark mask of the kind the employees wear, for a uniform. I didn't know if he worked there. I only recognize a few of them. But he was the only person around.
"You wouldn't know..."
YoungMan looked up at me at the same time I glanced into his cart, which held a case of energy drinks, and a large bag of chips.
"... no, you probably wouldn't."
Sheesh! Gravity did not affect those daggers he shot at me with his eyes, even though I was about 20 feet away. Ouch! Eye-daggers are pointy. I do believe he would have euthanized me on the spot, if he had suitable equipment. Rather than slap me into a nursing home, have me tested for the VIRUS, call 911 for an ambulance to the hospital, and sign papers to put me on a respirator to assure my complete death, all before he could say, "OK, BOOMER."
Whatever happened to society honoring their old folks? Treating them a beloved storytellers of unwritten history? Why can't I be Chinese, a culture which reveres their elders? I mean... except for the part about shoving them, still clinging to life though infected with the VIRUS, into incinerators in Wuhan. [The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to reveal that this might be a conspiracy theory put out as a video of a Chinese woman telling her cab driver what she witnessed.]
Anyhoo... all I did was ask this guy (not even all the way!) if he might know where the Velveeta was. People ask me where stuff is all the time, and I don't even dress like an employee! In fact, a man once asked one of my teaching colleagues HOW TO BAKE A CAKE, while holding a box mix with instructions on the back. So, such a simple interaction is not out of line.
YoungMan could have simply shook his head. Or just said no. He didn't need to react with such vitriol. I was far away, asking a simple half-question. Not sitting on his chest, hands around his throat, interrogating him until he led me to the Velveeta. Maybe he was all hopped-up on energy drinks.
You'd think I might have asked him to take my list and cart and do my shopping, while riding me around in the child seat. Or that I'd asked him to change my Depends. Or that I'd slipped, and expected him to help me up.
What's the thing with these young whippersnappers? Are they are THAT BITTER that they don't have the fancy house, the newest truck, and the big-screen TV all handed to them? That they must actually work a JOB and make payments the rest of their working lives in order to have something? Do they begrudge us our paid-off homes and vehicles and monthly income that we worked for 40 (or more) years to accrue? How DARE we enjoy our golden years!
That afternoon, I told The Pony about my encounter. He was sitting on the long couch at the time, leaning over my marred coffee table, fingering his phone, as I stood in the kitchen putting away groceries. (Including the Velveeta, which was at the far end of the store, on shelves dedicated to pizza crusts, pizza sauce, and pizza toppings like pepperoni and mushrooms and grated parmesan powder.)
As I was getting to the end of my story, The Pony turned and leaned on the arm of the couch, smirking.
"WHAT? What's that LOOK all about?"
"I was just going to tell you, 'Okay, Boomer.' Right before you got to that part."
I'm tellin' you, mark my words, these young whippersnappers are a blemish upon society. We might as well counter their impertinence with, "Okay, Tumor."