Saturday, April 24, 2010


It's ANZAC day, and all around the nation and indeed the world, people are gathering to celebrate and remember. But remember what? Don't panic; far be it for me to begin deconstructing the Gallipoli legend or adding a liberal dose of truth or (god forbid!) politics to this blog. I would, however, like to point out that it's the ONE DAY of the year where we celebrate old people. Let's face it, there's no other day of the year where we do that. It's the only day where young people actively seek out the company of the old diggers and actively try to engage them in conversation. I mean, if you all are anything like my siblings and I, the second you hear Gran is coming around, you whip out the cask of chardy, a box set of "Miss Marple" and sit really still, hoping to Christ she is distracted enough not to notice you and start spitting comments in your direction. But ANZAC day, well that's the one day that old people are revered. They're applauded. They're marched down the street and people throw paper confetti at them and wave flags and buy them beer and ask to hear stories. Can you imagine?!?! Actually saying to the old mate at your local pub who you would normally step over coz he has that acrid uriney stank about him, "I bet you've got a story or two (guffaw) - what was the war actually like?".

I might add a side note that you need to make sure the person you're talking to IS actually old enough to be a vet and isn't actually a thirty year old alcoholic who is simply wearing every shot of gin they've drunk in lines on their face. Perhaps ask for ID or a concession card before engaging in conversation about D-Day. Also, I'm clearly writing from a very white Australian perspective here; there are many many cultures in Australia that insist upon lording their elderly but they aren't currently in my living room, so they don't get a say at the moment. Look at the Jedi for example - they're all about old people, particularly little green old people who say things like "begun the clone wars have". Bless. It's clear now that yoda is actually an old person with dementia and gangrene.

Anyway, I think old people are aware of the general disdain we have for them for 364 days of the year. That's why they're so angry and generally suspicious of everything that came after the 1950s. The other day I saw an old lady give a verbal lambasting to a driver who had the NERVE to stop at the traffic lights OVER the white pedestrian line, leaving her a tiny 2 meters of space through which to navigate her passage across the road. She was steaming! She waved her purse and managed to hurl a "you could have moved back you know!" at the evil young'n behind the wheel. Imagine my delight at seeing her wait to cross again only to have the traffic so thick that a car was trapped across 3/4 of the pedestrian path. She huffed and puffed all the way up to the window and then stood there knocking on the car with her fist under they managed to slowly turn the car out of her way. Lesson delivered, this white haired teacher promptly marched her trolley across the road to the vege shop. The thing is, she has the right to tell everyone what she thinks of them because she's ancient; every wrinkle is testament to her wisdom. Youthful skin is not wise skin, despite what Andie McDowell and the entire cosmetics industry will tell you.

I do feel like old people don't try much though. I mean, meet us half way in the conversation stakes. When I talk to my Gran, it's not about the latest ministry of sound release or what happened on last night's episode of Cougar Town - it's about everything SHE wants to talk about. Bingo is up there in the subject matter. As is Judy's scandalous split from Frank. And the upstairs neighbour who doesn't get around much anymore. And the family current affairs, particularly in relation to my spectacularly socially demented cousins (hi Sarah and Rachel!). I mean, I don't want to whine, but what about what I want to talk about you old crone? Sex, money and the latest pornographic movie picture on that new internet machine. I guess what I'm saying, old people, is let's not be selfish, eh?

So happy ANZAC day to all of the golden oldies out there. I hope you spend the day being spoiled with attention because God knows you'll have to wait another year before you cop a whiff of anyone under the age of 60!

disclaimer: this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of or the author or anyone, really. i mean, i love old people. especially grilled with a nicely aged red wine...

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