From the Pastor: I’m Old!
Get off the grass! Close the door, do you want to invite in every mosquito? Were you born in a barn? Get a haircut; you look like a girl! These are all stereotypical “old man” sayings. Yet I have been noticing more and more that I think just like I remember old people thinking when I was young. I remember old people complaining about the music, hairstyles, and clothing of the young people. I cannot stand most of what passes for music these days, nor can I, just like mom and dad (old people) when I was younger, name or identify a single top musician or vocalist today. I remember complaints by old people about boys' hair being too long. I have similar thoughts today when I see a man-bun (which is simply a ponytail the man is afraid to be seen sporting) or a half-shaved buzz cut on a woman. I think (usually to myself only) that this has been the groundwork for transgenderism. Men wearing earrings, for instance, though widely accepted, is not manly to me at all. Men’s tight slacks and jeans, in this old man’s opinion, make them look absolutely silly, as if they are wearing their wife’s or younger sister’s pants. Don’t get me started on women covered with tattoos, either. It’s no wonder nobody can tell Matt Walsh what the definition of a woman is! No, I know that I am not young, for only an old guy looks at the “stupidity” of the younger generation with the mixture of scorn and pity as I do with ever-increasing regularity.
This realization came to mind this week when I re-told a story about a “van life” article that had me baffled at first, followed by the realization that I absolutely do not get this one particular thing about the younger generations. The “thing” I will sooner or later get to is something that immediately, to an old geezer like me, makes me think of such politically incorrect labels for the person in question that I cannot write them without facing immediate and drastic repercussions. (For those even older folks, “van life” is either like being homeless and living out of your vehicle, be it a car, van, or truck, or like camping (anywhere except for in a campground) full time in that same vehicle. People do all sorts of things to make this life as comfortable as possible, from building (or having someone else build) cabinets, beds, shelving, and, sometimes, bathrooms in the vehicle, to adding solar panels to run electricity for appliances, fans, computers, and other things needed for life on the road. It is much more popular in places where the temperatures are relatively cool in the summer and warm in the winter.) The article caught my eye because, in the opening paragraph, the author wrote, “I have been writing about van life for six years and I have never been in a van, truck, or camper in my entire life. So I thought it was time to see what it was like.” My current old man thinking went like this: “You can’t possibly be good at your job if you have never experienced any part of what you write about. How could anybody ever hire such an ignoramus? How much ‘expert information’ do you have to make up because you don’t know what the reality of such life is? How much do you leave out because you don’t know that it is important for those who actually live in a vehicle?” I can only imagine that today’s young men if reading the same lines, would think differently: “Cool. You get paid to bloviate upon a topic of which you know nothing! I want that kind of a job.”
But it only got worse. The author got one of the van conversion companies he regularly writes about to loan him a built-out van for a week. Except that he then admitted that “I am afraid to drive. So I called one of my friends and talked her into coming with me on this adventure so that she could drive.” I had to go back to make sure that this was a man writing the article. Certainly, no man would write such a wimpy confession in a public forum—in fact, in the very publication that pays his salary—and not fear absolute ridicule and demands that he be fired immediately for being such a **** (this is where I cannot write any of the many descriptive words I would like to use). Doubtless, John Wayne was not his childhood role model. Heck, Pee-wee Herman was probably more masculine than whoever taught him how to be a man. I guarantee you that this guy still wears a face diaper while riding his bike between his permanent digs in his mother’s basement and the local comic book shop for a big night out on the town. I am not sure if spends his life playing video games, since the ones I hear of all feature violence and guns and I just cannot believe he would be able to handle anything like that. Lest you think I am being too harsh on him, later he admitted—without a trace of awareness of how **** (more must go unwritten) he was making himself out to be—that when they stopped for gas his female friend had to pump it because he didn’t know how!
In my day (an “old man” statement if there ever was one) the men (who got their license as soon as they turned 15, not 25!) drove and pumped gas. That is quickly changing. But just wait, one day these **** guys will find themselves old, too, and will look askance at the young men riding on the back of Harleys while their biker babes take them to Daytona or Sturgis!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka