As well as being a burden into my rapidly shrinking free time – Old Folk manage to strain the back of the UK’s wonderful NHS. Complain as much as you desire, describe the systems vast inefficiencies, it’s corruption and in some cases poor care of the elderly. At the end of the day, it’s free healthcare, something that costs an absolute fortune everywhere else. Regardless they put a huge suction on the British economy, and don’t point fingers at smokers and fatties as they still have the capacity to work either crunching numbers or entering data. Tell your Grandma to enter data. Go on, the closest you’ll get is a questioning reply about Star Trek saying she’d prefer to enter William Shatner. And that’s if you’re lucky? In essence most of the spluttering, wheezing elderly have served their time and are now very, very patiently waiting to die alongside David Dickinson’s antique mahogany face.
What?! Your Gran does Tai Chi and sells pot? Alright, she’s one of the other stereotypes. Congrats, your Gran is the sweet old lady, occasionally she’s warped into a drug dealer/sex enthusiast for hilarious effect. For a double points bonus she’ll be married to the most cantankerous man ever conceived, a man so old and curmudgeon he makes Mr. Creosote look spritely and enthusiastic about the world.
The next category would be the Bucket List ”kids”. Those whom crave a second childhood in other words. A phrase popularised by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson (We’ll leave the stereotypes shown within the film for another time, eh?). Don’t worry if you’ve not seen the film. Just ask your Grandad who he’d be if he could choose an icon from his age. He’ll say someone stupid like Billy Joel or Bruce Forsythe, because it’s you; the sweet grandchild. Just know that he’s as randy as you were at 14 when you made that “discovery” and that his real answer is Hugh Heftner. Voila. Ever wondered who actually buys the Ferrari Aftershave? Wonder no more.
With so many broad spectrum stereotypes, you begin to fill in every gap of individuality, and so stereotypes sort of lose their focus. The types are even so large that they encompass one another. Burdens are basically nut-cases and the useless. The Sweet old lady and her sourpuss husband counts as another. And the third? The new breed of inheritance-pissers devoted to their Bucket-Lists and romping younger, money-orientated women through the extensive use of Viagra.
Now, I’m quite certain that’s covered every person above say 65 you’ve ever met. All these stereotypes have their feet in something real. Which casts them as perfect for News Anchor positions, alongside uselessly pretty accomplices or as senile Village Chiefs. Or for funky or “different” characters a la The Oracle from The Matrix. Woo, isn’t she gritty, 80-something and smokes pot.
Never thought I have to say this, but the elderly need to grow up