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.