Monthly Archives: June 2008

#45: Don’t Live In A Big House and Complain About Money

We get it that maybe you bought your house a couple of booms ago when prices were low, so you’re really not as rich as you look. We understand that the taxes on a house that big are through the roof (so to speak), and you don’t even want to think about what your heating bill is going to be this year.

And to all that we say: Oh, boo hoo.

If you’re lucky and old enough to live in a big house or a sprawling apartment you bought in 1986 for $200,000, you’re not allowed to poor-mouth. Yes, even if you’ve got cash flow problems. Sure, even if you’re only halfway through putting the second kid through college. If you need money so badly, sell the house and move into the kind of place you can buy for $200,000 these days: a car.


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#44: Quit Bossing Everybody Around

So you think you know it all, do you? Think you’re so on top of everything that you know best what everybody else should be doing, and you won’t hesitate to tell them?

I’ve seen this phenomenon before, on the first few seasons of Survivor. It was always the older person who thought they had such superior experience in hut-building and berry-picking and fish-spearing that they could organize the whole camp and tell everyone what to do and that that would make their teammates respect and value them.

And guess what’s happened? That’s right: voted off. The young hotties would sit there and smile and nod and then go to tribal council and, zap. So you be a smiler and a nodder too, and the boss of only yourself.

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#43: Don’t Fear Rap

Rap music may seem like part of the plot by the evil young to drive us all to mass suicide so they can grab our high-paying jobs and steal our needlepoint pillows, but I’m here to tell you, you needn’t be afraid of rap. After being tortured for countless hours in the car by rap music, I’ve even come to like some of it, though that might just be the Stockholm Syndrome.

True, the only rap music I actually like are the oldies. My number one favorite is the immortal Biggie Smalls singing Back To Cali — he’s heading west for “the wine, the women, and the weed.” I like to quote it when I’m trying to get my 15-year-old son out of bed in the morning: “Yo, Big, get your ass UP.” Though Biggie’s been dead for more than a decade now, listening to him never fails to make me feel youngish. Another song (are they called songs?) I really like is Wu Tang Clan’s C.R.E.A.M, which stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me, which sounds positively elderly. And then there’s — well, that’s about it.

I was unaware until ten minutes ago that a professional Rappin’ Granny performed at The Emmys last year. She was pretty good, too, except she worked that dowdy housedress a little too hard. Can a mature woman, even a white one, rap without turning herself into a laughingstock? Let’s go to the youtubeotape.

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#42: Torch Your Books

If you don’t want to act old, you’ve got to stop reading. Everything except Harry Potter, of course. And whatever is this season’s DaVinci Code. And of course, my books.

But studies show that reading books is in decline among people in all age groups, though most especially the young. Fiftyish women are the most likely to read books (surprise, surprise), while young males are playing Grand Theft Auto or looking at internet porn instead.

If you’re not about to trade in Anna Karenina for Niko Bellic (if you don’t know who that is, ask your teenage son), you may want to revisit your youth by reading Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, to remember why you starting having sex with everybody you could get your hands on; Sue Miller’s The Good Mother, to remember why you stopped; and Sheila Weller’s Girls Like Us, to remember the women you wished you were (and are ultimately glad you’re not).

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#41: Don’t Get Too Excited About Mondays

Hello, my name is Pam, and I am a Monday Lover. It’s not that I don’t like weekends, exactly. But on the weekends I spend a lot of time doing all those household chores — laundry, grocery shopping, weeding — I don’t have time to do during the week. My husband and kids are around, wanting to be cooked for, driven around, and sometimes even communed with.

And then on Monday morning, they all leave. I’m alone, free to work without distraction or interruption. I don’t feel guilty about writing instead of going to the bookstore with my husband or making pasta for my son. And if I sometimes sneak out for lunch with a friend, it’s nobody’s business but my own.

But when I was young, weekends meant fun and freedom and sex, and Monday meant a return to drudgery and imprisonment in some dumb job. Would I go back to that time? No. I love loving Mondays. But I wouldn’t mind loving Saturdays and Sundays a little bit more.


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#40: Scratch The Golf Game

Some sports are young and some sports are old. Examples?

Basketball is young; baseball is old.

Snowboarding is young; skiing is old.

Skateboarding is young; roller-skating is old.

And golf is old. So old I can’t even think of something similar-yet-different (miniature golf? no; croquet? nah) to put on the young side of the equation

Why? Expensive, is one big reason. Slow. Not all that strenuous. Outfits not very cute. And the shoes!

Plus, golf takes planning: You need to reserve the course days, weeks, or even years in advance.  And it takes patience, a quality that tends to increase with age.

The only thing about golf that has any youth appeal are the carts. I would like to ride around a golf course in one of those carts. I just don’t want to have to wear shoes with cleats or hit any little balls out of the sand.

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#39: Don’t Wake Up Before Dawn

At the risk of breaking one of my own rules nearly as soon as I set it down, getting up when it’s still dark outside is what Seinfeld’s parents did. Remember? Jerry goes to visit and is awakened in the dark to find his parents in the kitchen making coffee and squeezing juice. “We thought we’d let you sleep in,” they say. To which he responds, aghast, “It’s 5:30 in the morning!”


I was up at 6 today, Sunday morning. And that’s after going to bed at almost 11! Even when I do stay up really late, till midnight, I wake up at 6.

I blame my children, for making me wake up at or before dawn for all those years, to nurse them or watch cartoons with them or drive them to school. Now, although they ridicule me for waking up early, I can’t stop. But at least I’m conscious enough to know it’s an old-people thing.

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