Laughter can be a life saver as we age. As teacher and writer Bel Kaufman wrote, “Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy. You can’t laugh and be angry, you can’t laugh and feel sad, you can’t laugh and feel envious.”
I always enjoy a good laugh, particularly at my own expense. But some of the humor about aging portrays older adults as incapable and out of touch: at home after lunch snoring in an over-stuffed chair, still trying to learn Windows XP, or constantly forgetting their car keys. But we know these perceptions aren’t true. (Okay, it was embarrassing when I was on the Coffeebreak radio program last week and I couldn’t remember the Mid-Columbia Senior Center’s phone number. But give me a break, I don’t often call the Center!)
But if the underlying assumptions of these jokes are accepted, they reinforce the negative perception of older adults—and the awe-inspiring stories of “super seniors” are just the exceptions that prove the rule.
Worse, though, is that these stereotypical beliefs about older adults can change how we perceive ourselves, affecting our confidence until some mistake we wouldn’t have even thought about years ago becomes another indication of our declining abilities.
This self-doubt can limit us. We may choose to stop volunteering, afraid of making mistakes; stop walking, afraid of falling; or avoid new experiences, afraid of looking foolish.
As we age, we all know there are many challenges, but we needn’t underestimate ourselves. We should see ourselves as capable, so when there is an obstacle or an opportunity, we can face it with confidence.
As the actor Alan Alda said “Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. “
So periodically I will share a joke I feel projects a positive view of aging. Here is one which demonstrates the cunning of older adults: One day a police car pulled up to Granny’s home and Grampy got out. The deputy explained that this elderly gentleman had said he was lost in the park. “Why sad Igor,” said Granny. “You’ve been going there for more than 30 years! How on earth could you say you got lost?” Leaning close to Granny so the police officer couldn’t hear, he whispers, “Wasn’t exactly lost. I was just too tired to walk home.”
One of the Center’s most popular programs is the medical equipment loan closet. On average, the Center receives four requests a day, but recently we have not been able to fill many of the requests because the Center’s cupboards are practically bare (except for walkers, which we always seem to have). If you have borrowed medical equipment you no longer use, please just drop it off at the Center. And if you have any medical equipment you no longer need, we would certainly appreciate the donation.
Before I enter the home stretch, a quick reminder. The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be open July 4, but closed on July 5. There will not be Bingo on July 4 or July 6.
Tommy James and the Shondells sang about their baby doing the “Hanky Panky,” which was the title of their 1966 number-one hit song. I received correct answers from Mark Bartel, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Jerry Phillips, Rhonda Spies, Cheri Brent, and someone I’ve forgotten but who once I remember will be the winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
I was pretty naïve growing up and it wasn’t until my adult years, while listening to an oldie-but-goldie by the Starlight Vocal Band, I realized “Oh, that’s what ‘afternoon delight’ means!” There have been many controversial songs, including this 1963 hit whose lyrics were so unintelligible they were thought to be obscene. The song was banned by several localities, including my home state of Indiana.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the ever-popular party song produced by Ken Chase, a Portland radio personality, on KISN radio? And for bonus points, what two Portland bands recorded the song? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer on the back of a photo of the plaque placed by the City of Portland at 411 SW 13th Avenue.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep life in perspective. Until we meet again, stay safe and enjoy a wonderful Independence Day.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
— Charles Schulz
Meals-on-Wheels dinner served at 12:00 at the Center
Thursday (4): Oven Baked Chicken (Music by Tom Graff)
Friday (5): Closed
Monday (8): Chicken Pot Pie
Tuesday (9): Meatloaf with Macaroni and Cheese
Wednesday (10): Beef Stroganoff over Noodles