If you know me, it's understood that old people and I don't get along - we're like oil and Metamucil.
My distaste for the elderly stems from three major arguments.
First, I've carried a grudge against them for their irresponsible use of recreation centers and grocery stores. I've even gone so far as to petition local and state politicians to ban the retired from these facilities during the hours of 6-8 a.m. and 5-9 p.m. during the week. They can work out and buy groceries all they want from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. That's when I'm working. But, before and after I'm done working, I expect to not have to wait for a treadmill or hear about Lou's bowel obstruction from across the room. And, I shouldn't have to be subject to a grocery store check out line filled with old women who feel it's necessary to pay in cash using exact change. Getting the money out of the pocketbook takes almost as long as putting everything back in place after they're done. It's mind-numbing.
My second major issue with old people is in how they've hostily taken over all McDonald's dining rooms in this country. Sure, many McDonald's now have indoor play areas for small children, but even then you have to pass through a maze of intimidating and awkward stares as the geriatics take a pause from their pointless conversations about prescription dosages or hearing aid battery life to see what young family has infringed upon their domain. You don't think McDonald's built all these fancy drive-thrus to make ordering more convenient do you? They built them because anyone under 55 is afraid to walk into the restaurant to order food.
Finally, I can't stand it when old people feel it's important to tell you every last detail of their doctor visit or a recent ailment. I've never been compelled to tell anyone about the time I got food poisoning and spent two straight days on the toilet while previously digested things came rocketing out of both ends of me. I'm convinced that the first thing to go isn't your memory, it's your empathy. Old people have no ability to filter their thoughts when it comes to sickness - and, it's directly connected to not being able to understand how the person who is hearing the disgusting narration feels about it.
There are other more sublime reasons that I don't enjoy the aged, but these are the Big Three.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Cleveland had won the rights to host the National Senior Games in 2013, kind of an old people's Olympics. Well, I'm not sure if "winning" the rights is the proper way to describe it. Nothing as depressing as the National Senior Games could ever be awarded to a city - more like forced on the city.
I've tried to steer clear of downtown, to avoid the hordes of adreneline-filled seniors. Who knows what they are capable in such large numbers. No way am I testing those boundaries. But now I'm seeing them in the suburbs, in my hometown. Lots of grey-haired men and women with jerseys. In real life, people older than 55 don't wear jerseys. But this is my version of hell.
The only thing I can do is avoid and discredit. I'll avoid it by staying in my house, under the covers for the next ten days or so. I can discredit by pointing out that no true athletic event can include activities such as shuffleboard, horseshoes and something called pickleball. Pickleball? Really. Look it up. Hey, why not paper football or yatzee? Those are games that have been around a lot longer and there's actually a chance humans might want to watch.
Unforunately, there's really nothing I can do about it. The 2013 National Senior Games are here. They will go on with or without my consent or blessing. But what I would hope for is that the planning committee for the next National Senior Games would consider the following events...
Synchronized Dying - This would be a closing ceremonies event. I'm sure they're going to a few participants that kick it while the games are going on, why not coordinate and judge it.
Mallathon - Why set up an elaborate course and close down streets for a senior marathon when you can have it at the local mall? Instead of grabbing cups of water, runners grab Auntie Anne's pretzels for energy.
Pill Sorting - A race against time to see who can fill up their weekly pill box the fastest.
Crazy? Maybe. But I'm 46. I have to start training for something.