I guess I am old. I don’t feel old, or feel like I even look that old, but I might be considered old by some of you young whippersnappers. Tonight, my wife and I are taking her uncle out for dinner. Now, he is old, by almost any standard, other than that of a Galapagos tortoise or maybe a redwood tree.
While I was in the shower… hey, don’t judge me, I do some of my best thinking in there… I came up with a plan. And I am going to share it with you. Because that is what I do here: share stuff.
Whatever age you are, you have to interact with old people, at least occasionally. Whether they are a relative or an acquaintance or even a stranger, here is what I suggest you try doing:
Ask them about themselves… but not in that vapid, annoying way that we talk to each other at most gatherings. Don’t ask what they are up to now, or have been up to recently. Don’t ask what they did for work, or about their kids. (And for heaven’s sake, don’t ask them about their friends… most of them are dead now)!!!
Ask them about what they were like, and what they were doing, when they were YOUR AGE! (Okay, this might be specifically aimed at teenagers, and there might not be any of them here, so ask them about themselves when they were teenagers.)
Ask about the music they listened to.
Ask about what they were rebelling against.
Ask them about the coolest car they ever owned, and about the haircut they had that drove their parents crazy, and the fashions that were in… uh… fashion.
Ask them about the times they got into trouble.
This is a good idea, even though I had it. Not only will you learn some interesting things about the old person you are talking to, but it will be stuff you can relate to. Maybe Grandma got caught once, making out with some hooligan in the back seat of a stolen car. Hey, you don’t know. I bet you never asked. Maybe that old guy next door used to run with a biker gang. Maybe your uncle once streaked naked through his high school graduation.
Hey, I’m not saying that all old people are interesting. Most of them probably aren’t. But I am. If you asked me that stuff, your head would melt with the stories I could tell you… which I don’t share here, because… you know… family-friendly blog and all that.
Give it a try. Who knows what you might learn… because we, the old people, were all young once… and some of us used to do some crazy shit.