Off the Line: Wearing the senior jacket with pride

Do you remember being a kid and knowing without a doubt that you and your generation was the only generation that counted?

Karen Haviland

Do you remember being a kid and knowing, just absolutely knowing, without a doubt that you and your generation was the only generation that counted? That anyone over 30 was washed up and most assuredly did not know what he/she was talking about?

It seems those times were just yesterday and now I realize that I am one of those people over 30 who time and some people have discarded simply because of my age.

When I was growing up mom and dad had a rotating crop of “persuadaders” which would help us see the way – their way, in fact. There was the belt. Yes, *gasp* I had my skinny little butt paddled if I chose to go against what I was taught. That was a given. They also had a bar of soap they would keep nearby and scrape on our teeth just in case a naughty word popped unexpectedly from our mouth or if our sass level was more than they cared to put up with.

Of course mom also had her trusty wooden spoon and then, of course, there was the old standby, good old fashioned grounding.

Through threats and actual punishment, mom and dad molded their children into what they hoped would end up being thoughtful, caring, productive and well-mannered contributing members of society.

That, coupled with societal mores was more than enough to shape and mold us into something that most human beings wouldn’t mind sitting beside in the worst of times.

We knew there was things you said and did and then there were things which, no matter what, no matter how tempting, just wasn’t said or done.

One of those unspoken moral lines in the sand had to do with how we treated our elders. Respect, respect, respect. Not much more so say there. It was drummed into our heads at every opportunity that presented itself. By simply being old, that senior citizen deserved our respect, even if we didn’t feel it.

That why an incident which happened to me a couple of weeks ago shocked me beyond reason.

I follow the A&W page. I will admit I adore A&W food. Everything in moderation, they say.

Because I love A&W and follow their page, a news feed came across my computer extolling their Chubby Chicken burger. I had never had one before and so I budgeted my sodium allowance and splurged it all on that chicken burger.

I was in heaven because it was pure meat ‑ no fillers, no pressed meat. The only problem I had was with the amount of salt I could taste when I bit into it. I love salt, and it has been a real kick in the teeth for me to limit my sodium intake. But, given that I have kidney disease, I guess it’s a reasonable request that I keep my sodium levels well within limits.

So, below that post many of us commented about the sandwich. I praised them for the amount of real meat they used but gently told them that I found the salt level a tad high. No big deal. I thought they might want to look at that and being the corporate presence they are which cares about what they feed their customers, might actually welcome the constructive criticism.

I was right. They never said a word.

What utterly shocked me, however, was the person who commented after me.

I posted, “I tried one for the first time the other day. The meat was as real as it gets – not pressed or anything. But I was sadly disappointed at how salty it was. I love salt, so for me to say there was too much salt……..”

It utterly blew me away when a young man, likely only about 14 or 15 years old posted, “What grandma? Do you think they are going to change their recipe just for you?”

I was blown away that he would choose to respond in such a way in such a public venue. But what shocked me even more was that he felt totally comfortable in verbally abusing a senior. Not a blink, just pure disdain and disregard.

Quite honestly, it gave me the chills because when I read his comment, I realized that he has no regard whatsoever for the seniors in the world. We are nothing more than an inconvenience. His disdain was palpable.

It made me wonder how he was raised to have such contempt for those who came before him and what kind of life he might have endured up until now.

I will admit that my first urge was to bite back. Trust me you never want to have a Karen bite. I have been told it isn’t pleasant.

Instead, I took the path of least resistance and simply blocked him. Sometimes it’s the simple solutions which work the best.

I suppose I will occasionally think about this young man for the rest of my life. His actions are disturbing. But I won’t let his behaviour stay with me. The best I can do, I suppose, is take that senior citizen jacket and firmly pull it around me, wearing it with pride and dignity.

 

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