Golden Oldies

Features & Opinion Editor Leah Driscoll pays credit to an underrated generation.

They are the parents of our parents, yet why are they so much cooler than our parents will ever be? Here are just a few reasons why the older generation is the best of them all.

Casual racism

Only people their age can get away with it. If any twenty-something year old came out with the same kind of comment, they would nearly be shunned by all of their friends. It seems xenophobia was encouraged when they were kids as they come out with racist comments nearly as often as they come out with a round of the Angelus. As much as you warn them not to say these things in public, or even out loud at all, they find it a great source of amusement, and so the inappropriate comments continue.

Their unwavering religious commitment

And occasional shunning of the Protestants. I’ve seen suspicion shadow the face of many a Catholic pensioner when they hear a person’s name that sounds a bit too Protestant for their liking.  However, you really just don’t see that type of dedication anymore, unless you are thinking about any student’s dedication to Breaking Bad. Most elderly people maintain a daily commitment to mass- rain or shine, you will always see a hoard of Zimmer frame users making their way determinedly down to the church of their nearest parish. They’ll always say a few prayers for us poor souls come exam time, and send a mass card our way if we’re lucky.

Incompatibility with technology

Of course there are exceptions to this rule: one of my grandfathers is the proud owner of an iPad and enjoys the odd chainmail- so much so that my Hotmail account is bursting with messages claiming a ghost will visit me in the middle of the night if I don’t forward this on. But in general, elderly people just don’t get technology. If it doesn’t stay attached to a wall with a plug and doesn’t have giant-friendly buttons, they are just not up for it.  Checking the voicemail on their mobile phone once a month and then switching their phone back off again is enough for them, thank you very much.

Their manners

Older men are all absolute gents. They will always walk on the outside part of the footpath, they’ll bid you hello as you stroll past them, they will hold the door open for you and let you get on the bus before them every time, without fail. Were they that mannerly when they were our age? I’d assume not, which gives us some hope for the males of our generation.

They are future versions of ourselves

Ever see old couples walking around holding hands, or arguing in Super Valu over what kind of cheese they would like for tea? Kind of makes you not want to die alone doesn’t it? If anything, older people can remind us that we aren’t going to run around child, arthritis, responsibility and wrinkle free forever and so we must embrace our youth while we can.

Of course, older people don’t exist for our amusement, but they seem to do a pretty good job of amusing us anyway. From thinking racial slurs are socially acceptable, to teaching us a lesson or two about life, the elderly are pretty damn fantastic when you think about it. While we mightn’t grow up to become slightly racist, perhaps we’ll be refusing to use hovercrafts and clinging to our ancient smartphones for dear life give or take sixty years.