Growing OldNobody ever asks an old man’s opinion. Probably because most people just don’t care what he thinks. “What can an old fool like that tell us about the world anyway?!” One of these people might shout to you over the wind as he grins and jerks the wheel of his convertible towards a raccoon in the road.

Frankly, if people like this would just take the time to learn about the elderly instead of deliberately running down helpless animals in the street, perhaps this world would be a better place. So, for the sake of education: Here is a Q&A in which I answer most (if not all) of the questions you might have about the elderly and growing old.

Q. What happens when we grow old?

A. Too many things to count. Your muscles will ache constantly and your bones become fragile as glass. You may take pain relievers to help with the muscle problems, but be very cautious about your bones. If you were to allow someone to playfully knock you on the head with a length of pipe, your skull would likely shatter like piece of stale peanut brittle.

Swim GirlThere are some positives to aging though. If you’re male, getting old also means you're less likely to be distracted by things like:

  • Teeth-clenching pangs of sexual lust
  • The urge to gun the engine of a car every time you’re at a stoplight
  • Unexplained flashes of wallpunching rage
  • Hair

So look forward to that I guess.

Q. My grandfather constantly says things like “Well, I guess I had better go out and get the mail now…” and then trails off, glancing hopefully towards me. It’s obvious he’s just hinting that he wants me to do it for him. How should I react in this situation?

A. Well a good person wouldn’t even need to ask, they would just go and get the man’s mail for him. But if you feel like having some fun with the guy, just shrug and say something like “Yeah, I guess you’d better get right on that pops.” while absentmindedly flipping through channels on the television. Give him a few minutes to stew over it, and then you might get up and offer to get it. Or not. Whatever.

Arrested Old ManQ. I hear a lot of stories about old people shoplifting, what gives?

A. Ah yes! Believe it or not, many senior citizens (or seasoned citizens as I like to call them) will take to a life of crime out of sheer boredom. Who can blame them? Which would you rather be doing when you’re 96:

1. Slouching in a mushy burnt orange chair in a darkened room while a Golden Girls rerun flickers on the TV and glancing up every hopefully each time the glow of headlights fills the room only to have your hopes dashed when you find that it's simply someone using your driveway to turn around.

2. Pilfering unneeded sundries from a local shop
The answer is clear. You can’t possibly imagine the thrill an old woman gets from just sort of wandering around a drugstore for half an hour, then going into an empty aisle at the back of the store and using her arm to knock an entire shelf of Children’s Motrin into her purse.

Does she even need Children’s Motrin? Certainly not; she’ll likely just hoard it away in a cupboard when she gets home. It’s about the rush. The feel of nearly congealed blood oozing somewhat faster through her crinkled veins. The cryptic smile she gives the cashier as she shuffles past the register and out the door. The idea that soon there are going to be countless children in the area with headaches, and that their parents may be slightly inconvenienced by having to drive down the street to a different drugstore when they attempt to purchase medication for them. That’s living. That’s freedom.

Q. I’ve heard a lot of talk about how really old people are a lot like babies, is this true?

A. Yeah it is. Many comedians make jokes about this, but I feel it is a serious issue and should be looked into in greater depth. Here is a list of things you do while very young, and then again once you’ve become very old.  

  • ComboverEating Liquefied Foods
  • Babbling Incoherently Just to Hear Self Talk
  • Wearing Diapers
  • Being “Taken for a Walk” or “Taken for a Drive”
  • Moaning
  • Petting Animals
  • Enjoying Television Simply Because of Noise, Colors, and Motion it Produces
  • Lying in Bed; Staring at Ceiling in Daze

Q. Someone told me black people “age” better than white people, is this true?

A. Usually you shouldn’t believe anything some old Klan member off the street tells you about black people, but in this case it's actually true. If you think about it, you’ve probably never seen a black person who looks older than 60 years old. This is because the pigmentation of their skin absorbs more sunlight, which they use for energy (instead of calories). Because of this, it takes black people approximately 90 years to reach the age of 60. They might also stay alive (at this same age) for 30-40 more years, and then one day they'll be walking down the street and simply disintegrate into a cloud of purplish dust and be carried away on the wind.  

Q. That sounds ridiculous! I’d like to see some proof of this.

A. Don’t believe me eh? You white people are all the same with your small government and sweatpants and logic and three cornered hats. I guess I can’t blame you for asking though; it’s just the way you were raised. Here are some pictures of black people at different ages:

Kid 6 Guy 25 Guy 40 Guy 75 Guy 120 Age 6 Age 25 Age 40 Age 75 Age 120

Q. My grandmother talks constantly about anything and everything that enters her head. I’ve noticed a lot of other elderly people do this as well. Why is this?

A. A few of them are senile (or simply insane), but the vast majority of old people just like to talk. Whether it’s reading the name of each billboard out loud as you pass in the car, listing the side-effects they’ve experienced while on certain medications, or simply narrating their actions before they perform them, old people just enjoy hearing their own voice. Honestly it doesn’t matter if you pay attention or not, they don’t mind. But if you’d like to know if the prescription drug Lipitor causes drymouth or oily rectal discharge, don’t be afraid to open your ears (and your heart) to an elderly relative.