Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Old Is

As I am old, I enjoy reading the Sunday paper actually on paper, and then commenting out loud about what I read while my family ignores me. I made the points you are about to read to my husband this past Sunday morning. He glanced at me for half a second, and then said "blog post" before returning to the sports section. This is what he does when he just wants me to please shut up, as none of my insights are very fresh to him after spending 15 years listening to me on a daily basis. For their part, my children resumed building a fort and leaving a trail of crumbs wherever they went. 

So here it is Tuesday night and I'm just now posting on Sunday's New York Times Riff  about feeling old because of the internet. The column was written by a 28-year-old who edits The Hairpin, a website for young hipster ladies. Once I got over the professional jealousy that overtakes me each time I read one of those Riff columns, I had to admit that the piece was quite well-written. Her premise was as follows: so rapid is cultural turnover on the internet, that even she, a person who makes a living evaluating video frivolities on the web, doesn't always get the joke. She was made to feel old because some popular piece of ridiculousness went right over her head, like the high pitched tone that only the very young can hear.

Listen, young Hairpin editor/published NY Times Magazine writer: I'll tell you what old is. Old is: you're 73 and you've fractured your spine so you have to get around with the aid of a walker on wheels called the Rollinator. Old is: you're an 87-year-old World War II veteran who can't get up to his own bedroom without a cane. Old is: you're a 50-year-old ex-hipster telling some 28-year-old what old is. I'll tell you what old is.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks, Bryan. You're so nice to comment.

  3. I still think of you as a hipster. Not an ex-hipster; a hipster. I don't really think that can be taken away from you if your bona fides are solid. Not that you'd necessarily want to be thought of as a hipster though.

    I was accused (last year, at 42) of being a "hipster type" by the director of my sons' school, who herself is an actual hipster. That was combo awesome/flattering and ridiculous, but I realized that she thinks that for a reason: because she can see thru my balding dadness that I am actually formerly fucking awesome and cool as shit. Just like you!

    Also hipsters don't annoy me. They did when I was aging out: like at 30 or whatever. But now they just all seem cute and cool. And much more, like, worldly and informed than we were as cool young people.

  4. Until you've yelled at those damn kids to stay off your lawn...you're NOT old.