Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

Young people look at us “old folk” and think we’re so stodgy.  I find that greatly amusing in that my friends and I lived through the 60's on college campuses.  There’s the saying that if you remember the 60's you weren’t there.  And for many that was the case, with hippies and Woodstock and Height-Ashbury taking center stage and stereotyping all college students.  Some people think we were born looking old.  Not so.  I’ve worn a sweater vest most of my adult life.  When younger, I was fashionable.  Now, I’m just considered old.  It is NOT a fact that only old people wear sweaters.  

Life leads us, I guess, to where we’re more interested in comfort than style.  Thirty years ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of shoes so spread out they look like web feet.  What would people think?  Now I don’t care.  If my feet don’t hurt, I’m happy.  Obviously, my realm of what constitutes “happy” has narrowed a bit as well.

We went to the races at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., last weekend and the clothes cracked me up.  We’re sitting in the grandstand, right behind the box seats, under the canopy, and it’s cold.  And, windy.  By cold, I mean 50 degrees in the shade.  Add windy!  Young girls were wearing clothes that astounded me, considering the weather.  I could see some of them didn’t know what to do first, pull up or pull down.  I’m not saying the dresses were that revealing.  But, there were a lot of shoulders being bared and a lot of thighs being shown.  Was I disgusted at the show of skin?  Good grief!  No!  I shook my head in disbelief at why they would want to be so cold! I’m about comfort now. One young thing wore what I labeled a “bubble dress,” which means the lower part of the skirt (which is a misnomer, because there was no lower part of that skirt) was gathered and looked like the Roman window shades Brenda made 35 years ago.  

I, on the other hand, am wrapped in a jacket and wearing worn-in tennis shoes – not just because I’m old, but because I finally don’t need to make a statement, other than I want to be comfortable – and warm.

When young people look at us Boomers today, they can’t imagine the "creative" way we dressed "back when"– almost exactly like they do today.  Last Christmas, Brenda was buying grandson Josh a pair of cowboy boots and asked if I thought it looked tacky that they were brown on the bottom and bright green on the top.  She was asking a man who, as a young boy, talked his parents into buying him a pair of black alligator loafers that had (are you ready for this?) the white outline of an alligator on the outside of each shoe.

Children look so crazy in some of their fashions today, but I remember wearing hip-hugging bell-bottoms.  I say once, because the only time I went out in public wearing those babies, I thought they were going to fall off.

So, youth of the world, the next time you look at us old people in our conservative clothes, please don’t judge us too quickly.  I promise you we’re a bit more exciting than you give us credit for.

It’s a bit scary I know, but there’s a lady somewhere out there in an assisted living home wearing a thong underneath her stretch slacks.  Guaranteed!

Date of Blog Story: 
April 21, 2010

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