So, yeah, the world’s boiling over; entire countries going under; economies collapsing like those crappy rope-and-wood bridges Tarzan had to jam across in every remake to save white colonialists from the jungle abyss. (At the height of the Greystoke/Tarzan revival, in 1984, there was actually a NAMBLA spin-off: NAMCLA—North American Man Chimp Love Association.) But so fucking what? It’s hard times right now. We’re all whirling face-first into that screaming abyss, devoid of hope.
Or were. Until Obama came along. Even if he’s not the most progressive player in the universe, and even as Blago-gate threatens to poison the President-elect’s gumball before he loses the hyphen, this remains our moment of national hope.
And yet. Like many of my demographic, I have a secret: since Obama beat the odds and won the White House, a single thought has crowded out all the requisite visions of change and unity. It’s a thought I’m not very proud of. Maybe not a thought at all. More like an obsession. Some kind of private, festering psycho-emotional shame boil. That busloads of my like-minded Americans are plagued by the same globular inflammation makes it no less mortifying.
But fuck it, I need to share.
From the first minute it was clear that Obama won, I had one recurring thought, on a kind of panic-loop: I’m older than the president. How the fuck did that happen?
There I said it. As a citizen, Obama had me bustin’ my buttons. As a post-fifty with PCD—Persistent Chronological Denial—I had one bad moment where all I could think was, Do I kill myself now or wait and see who snags that Secretary of Transportation spot?
A great blog, for my money, is one with just enough patina of cultural relevance to make it seem like the blogger is not really some self-obsessed jim-jim eating his arms and calling it dinner. It’s not about them, it’s about the zeitgeist.
Like many of my bent, I’ve been thinking about death since before I had pubic hair. I just never thought I’d be worrying about it going gray before it happened. The curse of the aging hipster is not that they’re aging. It’s that they’re not dead. But what can you do? I was never that hip to begin with. In the immortal words of Steven Fry (b.1957), “I don’t need you to remind me of my age, I have my bladder to do that for me.”
If this were the 1949, I’d be retired already!
In an earlier incarnation, as feature magazine writer, I used to love assignments where you’d dive into some extreme-o wing of mainstream culture, slither in and slither out with the goods. Today’s greatest practitioners, Matt Taibbi, in The Great Derangement, or Chris Hedges in American Fascists, insinuate themselves into the most virulent strains of wing Red, White, and Bornagain reality, then duck back to our world and report on what they saw. Sadly, I won’t be infiltrating the post-fifty or fifty-adjacent ‘lifestyle’ industries that have cropped up around it. I won’t be infiltrating an alien reality, because I am the alien. As the vanity plate on the powder blue KIA that sideswiped me yesterday on the 101 put it so succinctly, 55NHOT! I didn’t get to see the driver up close—she took off—but even in fleeting profile, I could tell she worked out.
In a blog that will, no doubt, wring tears of boredom to the bulk of the blogaholics, I will explore the products and politics, the cultural, financial, fashion and psycho-emotional fun-fest in becoming as old as your grandfather used to be….
Now that Seniors are the new Teens, one column might focus on the piquant after-taste of sexy ‘lifestyle’ advertising intended for guys like me. Clearly, “ask your doctor if you’re healthy enough to have sex!” – is not aimed at frat boys who want a three day boner.
Dip a senior hammer-toe in the pool, and pretty soon you’re sucked in. An entire parallel universe is devoted to the Reluctant Elderly—from senior swing parties to Testosterone doctors, who’ll give you the body of a young Dolph Lungren, even if they can’t do anything about the fact that your ear lobes now hang down to your shoulders. All I’ll be doing is reporting from the front.
Somewhere a Mad Man is already coming up with copy that will make adult diapers SASSY. “Dammit, Harris, how do we snag the diapo-sexuals?”
When I grew up, back in Pittsburgh (not to brag,) people looked fifty-five when they were thirty. And when they were fifty-five—it was over. But since I live where I live, I can go to the Hollywood Y, on any given week day, and see guys in their sixties with six packs and non-saggy chins. Which is inspiring, and helps take attention away from the eighty-year-old ex-sitcom regulars with testicles hanging below their knees in the steam-room.
Statistically, the greatest rise in drug use in the US is in fifties-to-sixties. As if a lot of them are saying “Fuck it, what can happen!”—and opting to turn the rest of their lives into a long weekend, followed by Death instead of Monday.
Here, for better or worse, are a few topics we might cover here at Senior Beat, the world of the Post-Young.
1. Life Extension/The Perma-Youth Movement….
2. Yoga/Meditation/Spirit – Is Sting Made of Synthetic Material?
3. Sex Before Death
4. Politics, Lobbyists/The A.A.R.P. Mafia
5. The Heartbreak of O.I.R. (“Oldest in Room” Syndrome)
6. Magazines/Web Sites/Media
7. Role Models: Senior Rebels, Old Punks, and Not Dead Rockers
8. How To Be a Post-Fifty-Year-Old Bad-ass (Hint: Don’t even try. You will never star in Gran Torino.)
9. Fashion: A Style Guide for Pre-Seniors – Do I Look Musty?
10. Guess How Old I Am? Or How to Clear A Room By Talking About Your Age At Parties
11. Daddy Is An Aging Hipster (How kids deal with parents who won’t get old)
12. Is Death Just Another Bad Drug You Don’t Have To Take?
Big fun ahead.