Playing the age card

May 18, 2010

Nan is 96 and still going strong.

Yes, I know that a man of my age having a grandmother is pretty impressive, but we are a  fairly impressive family when it comes to longevity. Nan has never been one for broccoli (not popular in Stockport in 1960), or blueberries, despite their health promoting properties. I have never been one for either myself, but then we Northerners allegedly only like our food deep fried.

Anyway, as I was saying, my family is of a robust constitution and with good ageing in the genes, it looks like I’ll be one of those blokes whizzing down the High Street in an electric wheelchair. The difference being, of course, that I’ll stay on the pavement and not exceed the speed limit. I don’t do it in my Honda, after all .

Nan doesn’t have an electric chair. She never learnt to drive so thinks having a motor might be catastrophic. She lives in a nursing home in Dorking (my idea) and is dating a younger fellow resident. He’s 85, apparently. They might get married. They might not.

I advised her against marriage, but she accused me of protecting my inheritance. Old people can be so crotchety.

‘If you’re after my money,’ she said, ‘you can bugger off. Anyway, isn’t it time you got yourself a wife?’

I told her I’d had one of those.

‘And you were careless enough to lose her,’ she said. ‘Find yourself a woman, you silly boy.’

I told her I’d tried. She told me I hadn’t tried hard enough.

‘You’re a good looking man, if a bit short and rotund, if you don’t mind me saying so. And stop combing your hair over your bald patch.’

See what I mean, crotchety.

Archie/Arnold/William – whatever his name is – was slumped in an armchair, in his dressing gown, snoring.

Nan looked adoringly at him.

‘For goodness sake, if I can do it,’ she said, ‘then you must be able to find someone.’

Do it? Do what? God, I hope they don’t have sex.

It made me think, though. If I am to live as long as her, then I will have to keep on working for years yet.

I don’t like to play the age card, but I find it is a good way to hang on to jobs. Obviously, I would rather not work, but given the ex-wife’s unreasonable financial demands as part of the divorce settlement (peacocks, last time, but that’s another blog), I have little choice.

Anyway, as I was saying, playing the age card might sound devious, but it is what other minorities do. Don’t shoot me down, because it’s true. People with disabilities do it, lesbians do it. Honest. I know because Emma, the girl in HR told me.

Women nowadays just can’t hold their drink. Emma couldn’t, anyway. It was the Company’s Summer party, 2007.

‘Being a gentleman of a certain age, you have to ensure you don’t give the wrong impression at work, ’ she slurred.

I asked her what a “gentleman of a certain age” was. She stared at me, wobbled enticingly if a little unsteadily, and giggled. ‘You know,’ she said.

I didn’t. You don’t need to know how old I am but suffice it to say that I am older than the Prime Minister and a teeny bit younger than Downing Street’s previous incumbent.

‘Whenever you think you’ve been sidelined, or people make comments about your age,’ she said, ‘mumble “age discrimination” – discreetly, but loud enough to be heard, of course.’  Then she burped, and giggled again.

Emma got sacked after the summer party, apparently for having sex with the Chairman’s wife. Clearly she didn’t play the lesbian card very well.  I intend to play the age card much better.

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