And the Answer is: What is Old People

Every night I take three 500-mg Extra Strength Tylenol tablets from a bottle in my bedside stand – the tablets which my doctor assures me will provide added ammunition against the arthritis in my knees that aims to make it impossible for me to get the bed off my back the following morning.  I’m not crystal clear when I realized I needed to also place a walking cane next to my bed to help me keep my balance when I get up to  let the dogs out in the early hours of the morning, but I’m pretty sure it was sometime this year. Part of the perks of turning seventy.

The same bedside stand is the home for my orange-flavored 81 mg. Bayer Aspirin that my doctor urges me to take every night to help reduce the risks of strokes, heart attacks and other Night Stalkers out and about who threaten to fulfill the part of the “If I should die before I wake” prayer.  And at the risk of too much information, I wouldn’t even have to worry about waking at all if it weren’t for the ambien I take to go to sleep. Sleep was apparently a privileged activity reserved for “pre-menopausal” years and insomnia has punished me for my giddiness at no longer needing to purchase feminine products on a monthly basis.

At any rate, waking up is a big deal every day now. Even when I wake up before the dogs are ready to go out, I feel like it’s a good sign to be able to know where I am, what day it is and who’s in the bed with me. Today I was also filled with optimism for the week because I didn’t have to watch another national political convention; T’s favorite restaurant the Mediterranean Tea Room was opening today after their annual ten-day summer break and that meant delicious leftovers in the refrigerator. We are playing cards with friends on Tuesday and watching the Lady Gamecocks basketball team in a Pro-Am Wednesday night so the week was full of promise for fun.

When I turned on my computer, I began my morning ritual of scanning the AOL news that long ago replaced the local newspaper. Most of the time, I click and click and click with a few stops along the way to read a story with a headline that interests me. This morning was no exception.

Click. Click. Click. And then I saw it: Old People are Holding the Economy Back read the headline of an article written by Andrew Soergel for the U.S. News and World Report online magazine. Oh, my goodness, I thought. Seriously?

Yes. The National Bureau of Economic Research has determined that “a 10% increase in the fraction of Americans at least 60 years old slashes national economic output per capita by 5.5%.” In other words, our country’s aging population is a drag on the economy as a whole. Hiss…I could hear the sounds of the air leaving my happiness bubble as I read the entire article. If the Jeopardy question is what is the cause of economic woes for our country, then the answer is “what is old people.”

Please, please, please don’t show this to the Trump campaign which will add a plank to their platform calling for the deportation of all people over 60 years of age to Russia and/or the Ukraine  to go along with the deportation of all undocumented Latinos and Mexicans to Mexico. I am trying to visualize the process. You old white person – get on the bus to Russia. You suspicious-looking brown person – get on the bus to Mexico. And don’t ever come back – either one of you. Just think of the possibility of confusion in the process, however, if the old white person takes the wrong bus – which I have to say from personal experience is a real possibility.

Thanks to this bit of news, I must guard against my old nemesis Negativity that tries to remind me on a daily basis that my becoming a senior citizen renders my contributions no longer welcome or necessary even to the point that I have become invisible to the eyes of the people I encounter as I walk through my world. Now I must also bear the responsibility for the woes of the national economy.

Hm. Get thee behind me, Negativity. I have a pill for you, too, and I will now hit the Delete button for the AOL news. Click.

I feel better already.




About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
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11 Responses to And the Answer is: What is Old People

  1. Pingback: And the Answer is: What is Old People – Red's Rants and Raves

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    I was happily comparing our pills and nighttime activity, not really sure where you were heading. Anymore, I never am sure where anyone is going, a function of my increased age and brain fog (thank goodness my pony knows her way around the block). Here I am, finally starting to enjoy life, only to learn…

    A drain, huh? Well I mean to cause one hell of a clog. I will not go easily into the Great Sewer. Take that analysts and pundits!!

    Too bad you can’t use AOL news for toilet paper my friend. Lol!!

    Much love,



    • That is so funny, Ann!! You said you didn’t know where I was going, and that’s kind of the way I write. I wouldn’t know an outline if it slapped me in the face…I’m afraid I just open a new post and off to the races…the very slow ones. At least you HAVE a pony, you lucky person…
      I must rely on two dogs. 🙂
      My good friend Dick Hubbard called me today to recommend never allowing your eyes to scan an AOL headline…LOL.
      I hope things are going better for you.
      Much love to your casa from Casa de Canterbury


  3. Sweetie, if you get on the bus to Mexico by mistake, you’re bound to have a much better time than if you caught the Russia express!


  4. boblamb says:

    Great column, Sheila!


  5. diannegray says:

    New Zealand green lipped mussel is great for arthritis (just thought I’d get that in because it really is wonderful). I take it and my father-in-law takes it and even my old dog (who the vet said needed to be put down because of sever arthritis) takes it, and now she runs around like a puppy. But aging and the fact that ‘old people’ become a burden on the system is an appalling concept. As if it’s not hard enough to get though the day (and night) then we have to read this crap from AOL news who have nothing better to report on. I agree with Ann’s comment – too bad we can’t use it for toilet paper! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never fear – I have an Aussie in my corner, and they don’t put up with any crap from anybody!! 🙂
      Thank you for the tip on New Zealand green lipped mussel which I will have to look up and locate…if it’s available here!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Luanne says:

    I’m so happy to be back reading your posts. I’ve missed hearing about the Casa and its inhabitants. I try to balance out my AOL news with my Facebook news hahahahahaha. I don’t think they could deport us arthritis sufferers because they would need too many cranes. Seriously, though, I didn’t realize yours required so much medication and now the cane in the morning. Sending you big virtual hugs. Watch for them flying toward you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Luanne – poor Pretty is lying in a hospital bed with a new knee even as I write this tonight so the virtual hugs are appreciated! She had the surgery yesterday and is in major pain from it. I spent last night in the hospital with her since she was in an altered state from the surgery but had to come home tonight to get some rest.
      Nightmare. Keep sending hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

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