Many moons ago “A” and I became friends in school. Other students in school simply ignored her existence. That was eons ago and “A” was the only Hispanic student in a school of about 80 students. About midway through high school “A’s” father became a ranch foreman for a wealthy doctor and she moved away. Later we connected again as we both entered a Catholic school of nursing. “A” was mild mannered, friendly and, smiled a lot. All the patients loved her and so did all our classmates.
We both moved on to individual paths with “A” living in California. She had met her future husband while in nursing school via a blind date while he was an airman stationed near our town.
In the ensuing years we kept in touch by letters. I saw her maybe 5 times when she still had parents living in central Texas.
Several years ago, she wrote me a letter to tell me what my friendship had meant to her. She wrote that I had been so nice to her in highschool, that it had meant so much and, that she had not forgotten. Getting that note meant a lot to me. For I never felt that I had done anything special. She was a very nice and kind person and that is why I liked her as a friend.
With the advent of the computer once in a while we exchanged an actual letter but otherwise “A” sent me cute photos of pets, animals, etc. her children, grandchildren, etc. She retired quite a few years before I finally threw in my towel.
From about 2000 -2011 she began sending emails that contained cartoons related to old people. Plus all the other crazies of poems and or thoughts related to old people. As we aged she seemed to dwell on the “funnies of the old.”
I began to wonder what appeared to be an attachment to the cartoons and writings related to the elderly. In my apparent distorted opinion all of these are supposedly amusing- as one gathers momentum toward one’s demise. In my biased opinion, I did not and do not need a reminder of aging. I also feel the cartoons were/are a mockery of the elderly and the infirm.
Initially the funnies were sort of funny but as the years began piling up and I was still working, I no longer found making fun of the elderly funny. Yes I just used “funny/fun” too many times. But on with the story.
There was one cartoon about an old woman named Maxine. And then there were others that read about being wealthy since we had silver in the hair, gold in the teeth and, titanium in our joints. Well I had gold in my teeth that was put there in my 20′s and some of those fillings are still good. (that might be another story).
So as the funny stuff continued to make the rounds of the Internet elderly crowd, “A” remained on a steady and unyielding course of sending any and all funnies that happened to land in her inbox.
So about four years ago I sent four subtle email requests to friends to please stop sending me cartoons devoted to the elderly. Three people understood my request. However, “A” continued on her hell bent path of sending what had obviously become her obsession with growing old.
Maybe this was her way of accepting old age. I did not and still do not find it amusing to make fun of the elderly, crippled, mentally challenged, etc. In my opinion it is abusive. But what do I know? Maybe I am biased and touchy about the subject.
In 2011 I had given a name to the elderly funnies that “A’ continued to send to me. I called them “The Age of The Aged.” A few actual email letters were exchanged. Her notes were spliced in among all of the forwarded “elderly funnies.” The forwarded funnies contained at least 20-25 names. Gee, I thought, she sure knows lots of people that are either old or really enjoy laughing about what happens to the elderly.
But- one day the funnies were arriving faster than I could limp to the kitchen on a knee that I had injured the previous year. I made my coffee and sat at the kitchen table to read my email. First rattle out of the box was another elderly funny. Only this one was a zinger. An old man in a wheelchair being pushed by a kid shorter than the back of the wheelchair. There was an accompanying “funny” caption about role reversal and how the shoe was now on the other foot or some sort of nonsense.
That put a damper on my day. Not only was I recovering from a knee injury but also an injury to the outer aspect of my left foot which I had badly bruised after jumping off the back steps to save time. Note. I still hop or skip steps to save “time.” Anyhow, that little ditty did it for me! Good and proper. Actually I think that was the day I had to increase my blood pressure medication.
That night I read again some of the things that “A” had sent me. As I read and re-read, I thought that I might have a coronary so what better way to appease one’s anger than to shoot off an email since I could not spout off at the mouth.
I carefully composed what I believed to be an innocuous email but this time it was not subtle. My note was to the point but I thought is was not a flagrant request to stop the craziness of the crazy funnies. I don’t remember my exact words but I had written carefully chosen words that I was sure would not go un-noticed.
By 2300 or 11:00pm if you prefer, there was an email from “A.” I don’t remember all of the words but one sentence was succinct. “You will not be hearing from me again from now on.” She then elaborated a fraction, more or less, depending on one’s perspective. To quote. “I celebrate my age. I am in control of life and “feel that I like my age” or maybe it was the other way around and she wrote “I feel my age.”
Oops! What have I done now? I made profuse apologies. I wrote that I was sorry for my gross lack of tactfulness. But as my words were virtually spit onto the screen I then went into overdrive. “It must be a shock to discover that your friend of 45 years or so is in reality a beach”- but I wrote the other “b” word and then ended the note. She did not reply and I sent no further emails her way. I thought of the outcome for several days. Initially I was dumbfounded, then angry, then philosophical.
I might write a part II to this re: my outlook on life and how life can be so deceiving. Will see how this one goes over. This post is longer than I had intended. I am remorseful. Actually!