Kent Bernhardt column: Too old?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When I was a child, I was constantly told I was “too young” to do a lot of things.
“Can I ride the big Ferris Wheel?” “You’re too young”, came the reply. “Here’s a ticket to the kiddie size one.”
“Can I have coffee for breakfast?” “No, you’re too young. Drink your milk.”
I came to realize that most of the pleasures of life are reserved for the people who pass an invisible boundary somewhere along the way, and are suddenly old enough to enjoy them.
And kids, don’t ask me where that boundary is. I never really figured that out, and you won’t either.
Now, much to my dismay,I’m entering another realm. I’m too old for a lot of things.
I’m not just talking about physical things. I started getting too old for some of those when I hit my mid-forties. Suddenly, a quick game of backyard basketball made my knees and joints feel differently than they used to.
There was also one eye-opening experience I endured at the age of 43.
I had ordered my lunch at a local Burger King, and as the cashier was totaling me up, she asked the piercing question, “Would you like to take advantage of our senior discount?”
My jaw dropped, and I’m certain my face turned pale. My hair had begun to gray, but for a 43-year-old … well, I was sure I didn’t look a day over 42-and-a-half.”I’m not quite ready for that”, I responded. I also told her I wasn’t hungry anymore.
But I’m also discovering I’m too old for my preferences and choices to matter anymore.
The whiz kids at NBC, the nation’s lowest rated TV network, reminded me of this when they cancelled Harry’s Law last spring. “The show appeals only to older demographics” they reasoned, just before giving it the ax.
There seems to be this thinking that older viewers should be avoided because they have less disposable income. Younger viewers are more desirable because they throw money around like congressmen.
A word to these network geniuses: They need to hang around my parents for a while. They’re spending my inheritance faster than I can beg them not to.
I’ve also watched my value diminish in the area of radio music programming. Stations playing the greatest hits of the past seldom venture past thĺe early 70s these days.
A few even want me to listen to the “great old hits of the 90s.” No thanks.
Again, they want younger listeners. They spend the money. They don’t want me.
Well, I’ve got a news bulletin for all of you. Our hair may be gray and our waistlines expanding, but we still have money to spend, probably more than our children. We’re just pickier about where we spend it, and since you refuse to talk to us, you don’t know that.
I alone am virtually keeping Wal Mart in business through my continual purchases of reading glasses. They can count on me to lose at least a pair a week. You might want to remember that while you’re ignoring older shoppers in favor of younger shoplifters.
As for you radio programmers, I too have figured out how to put music on my smartphone. It took some serious coaching from my daughter, but I have now mastered the process.
It’s the music of the 50s and 60s – the good stuff – and it sounds a lot better than the 25 songs you insist on playing over and over. So, goodbye FM.
And as for you NBC, keep the silly reality shows you spew forth instead of worthwhile dramas and comedies. We’ll continue to reward you by tuning out in greater numbers until NBC stands for “No Body Cares”!
And while I’m up on this stump, I’ll tell you something else – oh, I’m sorry – I see the nurse is here with my medication. I also need to have my lunch, because we’re going on a trip to Wal Mart later. I have to pick up more reading glasses…
When I was a child, I was constantly told I was “too young” to do a lot of things.
“Can I ride the big Ferris Wheel?” “You’re too young,” came the reply. “Here’s a ticket to the kiddie size one.”
“Can I have coffee for breakfast?” “No, you’re too young. Drink your milk.”
I came to realize that most of the pleasures of life are reserved for the people who pass an invisible boundary somewhere along the way, and are suddenly old enough to enjoy them.
And kids, don’t ask me where that boundary is. I never really figured that out, and you won’t either.
Now, much to my dismay, I’m entering another realm. I’m too old for a lot of things.
I’m not just talking about physical things. I started getting too old for some of those when I hit my mid-forties. Suddenly, a quick game of backyard basketball made my knees and joints feel differently than they used to.
There was also one eye-opening experience I endured at the age of 43.
I had ordered my lunch at a local Burger King, and as the cashier was totaling me up, she asked the piercing question, “Would you like to take advantage of our senior discount?”
My jaw dropped, and I’m certain my face turned pale. My hair had begun to gray, but for a 43-year-old … well, I was sure I didn’t look a day over 42-and-a-half.
“I’m not quite ready for that,” I responded. I also told her I wasn’t hungry anymore.
But I’m also discovering I’m too old for my preferences and choices to matter anymore.
The whiz kids at NBC, the nation’s lowest rated TV network, reminded me of this when they cancelled Harry’s Law last spring. “The show appeals only to older demographics” they reasoned, just before giving it the ax.
There seems to be this thinking that older viewers should be avoided because they have less disposable income. Younger viewers are more desirable because they throw money around like congressmen.
A word to these network geniuses: They need to hang around my parents for a while. They’re spending my inheritance faster than I can beg them not to.
I’ve also watched my value diminish in the area of radio music programming. Stations playing the greatest hits of the past seldom venture past the early 70s these days.
A few even want me to listen to the “great old hits of the 90s.” No thanks.
Again, they want younger listeners. They spend the money. They don’t want me.
Well, I’ve got a news bulletin for all of you. Our hair may be gray and our waistlines expanding, but we still have money to spend, probably more than our children. We’re just pickier about where we spend it, and since you refuse to talk to us, you don’t know that.
I alone am virtually keeping Wal Mart in business through my continual purchases of reading glasses. They can count on me to lose at least a pair a week. You might want to remember that while you’re ignoring older shoppers in favor of younger shoplifters.
As for you radio programmers, I too have figured out how to put music on my smartphone. It took some serious coaching from my daughter, but I have now mastered the process.
It’s the music of the 50s and 60s – the good stuff – and it sounds a lot better than the 25 songs you insist on playing over and over. So, goodbye FM.
And as for you NBC, keep the silly reality shows you spew forth instead of worthwhile dramas and comedies. We’ll continue to reward you by tuning out in greater numbers until NBC stands for “No Body Cares”!
And while I’m up on this stump, I’ll tell you something else – oh, I’m sorry – I see the nurse is here with my medication. I also need to have my lunch, because we’re going on a trip to Wal Mart later. I have to pick up more reading glasses…
Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

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