Thursday, September 29, 2022

Mock of ages


I thought "Mock of ages" would be a clever title for a post about aging. I then Googled it and found out it is the name of a Def Leppard Tribute Band in Atlanta. Go figure.  It does illustrate one of the challenges of aging: you discover there are no new ideas.

Since re-engaging with Medium again, I've seen lots of posts from people in their early 20s bemoaning how much of their lives have passed without them feeling like they have accomplished enough. Most of them have 60 or more years ahead of them but they are oblivious. Try being in your 60s and realizing you have maybe 20 years left.

Twenty years. It's not a lot of time, and adding insult to injury, much of my time left is going to be dealing with the inevitable impacts of aging. I will continue to slow down while time speeds up. 

But no one wants to read about the grim future of aging. Though I am bombarded daily with the grim headlines about nuclear holocaust, plagues, global warming, economic downturns and the end of democracy. So don't point fingers at me for being a Debbie Downer when it comes to growing old. It's something you don't think about...until you do. 

Some people like to point out examples of people who accomplished relatively great things after they turned 70. They cite people like Ronald Reagan and Joe Biden. But Reagan lost it all to Altzheimer's and Biden is ridiculed in social media for displaying his age.

There is something about seeing old people that brings out a visceral reaction in young people. Hell it brings out a visceral reaction in not so young people. Maybe seeing old people makes them have to face the inevitable reality that they will be old eventually, too. And then there is the other eventuality they have to face as well.

It's why for the most part people look right through you when you are old. You fade into the scenery. You stand in lines at the grocery store or Starbucks and are ignored. 

So maybe I understand why some aging musicians would get together to form a tribute band called "Mock of Ages." I just don't get why it would be a tribute to Def Leppard.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Pulling your head out


Definition of head-in-the-sand

unwilling to recognize or acknowledge a problem or situation

--Merriam Webster 

It is hard to believe we still live in a time where some people believe the world is flat, racism doesn't exist, COVID is just the flu, global warming is a myth and government should regulate people's bodies and sexual orientation. It is also hard to believe that people believe an ex-president is still above the law and can threaten democracy without consequences. 

I will leave it to your imagination to guess who that ex-president is (it is not Obama and his name rhymes with "take a dump."

I had high hopes for the Internet when it first appeared. Who wouldn't like a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips with a few key strokes. I have a degree in Journalism. And at the time they taught us the importance of verifying the truth of everything you write unless it was your opinion and then you at least had to admit it was just your opinion. Who would have dreamed that at some point there was so much garbage being spewed in cloud that you'd have to prospect every bit of data for a rare glimmer of truth. There is no such thing as a trustworthy source any more.

Tik Tok is a perfect example of lie after lie in a medium we were taught at one time should be proof -- video. After all, you have to trust what you can see with your own eyes, right? But swipe through the never ending clips on Tik Tok and you are overwhelmed by the "truth." Big Foot and UFO's thrive on Tik Tok as do ghosts and endless tales of narcissists and heartbreak. One could come away believing every conspiracy theory ever concocted.

But I remember looking at Tik Tok before the pandemic and there were all of these videos from China predicting the spread of COVID. It sounded like conspiracy BS. And then boom we were on lock down and two and a half years went by. 

So what is real and what is just crap? And why do people spread the fertilizer of fake news? To become Tik Tok famous? Are their lives so insignificant that they need to set their farts on fire on video to get followers and fleeting fame?

The first step towards truth is pulling your head out of the sand and paying attention. And it is important not to allow yourself to become so polarized in your beliefs that you are only receptive to truths that match your own. Objective articles attempt to show both sides of the story and stick to facts, not conjecture. 

 It isn't easy to focus on the truth. All of the social media algorithms are designed to feed you what you want to hear, not what you should hear. And even if you pull your head out of the sand, it is important to clean the sand out of your ears and eyes. 

The truth should be taken with a grain of salt, not a grain of sand. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Medium Rare


I've been dabbling with posts on again despite being dropped from their associate program  where you earn cash if people actually read your stuff (generally in five to 10 cent per month chunks). I was dropped because I didn't have the minimum 100 followers.

Putting my bruised ego aside I have set out to try and get 100 followers. The easiest way to do this apparently is to follow other Medium writers who post articles that urge you to follow them and they will follow you. It's kind of like the early days of Twitter where there were lots of Ponzi schemes to get followers by following random people.

I have my doubts about the platform in general. The average age of the content contributors seems to be about 24.  And there is quite a bit of content about writing tips. So being 40 years older than the average contributor and having been a professional writer for about 40 years, there is a bit of a generation gap. I have a hard time relating to 20 something's identity crisis' and I don't really need to know the top ten words not to use while I blog. 

Conversely, the 20 somethings really aren't interested in the foibles of being an aging creative and the crisis' I encounter just by looking in the mirror and discovering my body is shrinking while my ears and nose grow grotesquely.  

So the question is is there any way to to bridge the gap and is there any point?  I'm an old dog who doesn't think he has any gray matter left to learn new tricks and most of the young dogs seem to be more interested in humping legs than listening to the mutterings of a gray dog. And being the father of two teenagers, I am well aware that being old is not perceived by them as being wise. Nothing makes them glaze over like a sentence that begin with, "I remember when...."

I was the same way when I was young. I was confident that I knew everything and I resented anyone who suggested I didn't. Took me years to realize that they were right. Now I am confident that I basically don't know anything. But this creates a paradox. Why should anyone listen to anything I say if I admit I don't know anything, especially if I am telling a young person they don't know what they are talking about.

The thing is that I've earned the right to admit I don't know everything through a a wealth of mistakes and experience.

So there.