Don't Rush Me
You know you're gettin' older when . . .
(Fill in the blank)
February 03, 2010 - I guess there's a certain moment in every American's life when he or she knows he or she is getting older. There comes a point in time when all the pretending in the world won't keep you hip, or cool, or of the younger-generation.
It has nothing to do with gray hair.
Little to do with wrinkles around the eyes.
Less to do with aches and pains.
It has everything to do with the structure of American politics.
The other week when I celebrated a birthday, I realized I am older than the first lady, Michelle Obama, and the same age as Barack was when he was inaugurated into office -- 47.
I grew up wide-eyed and in awe of the President of the United States. The President was top-dog, our leader, world leader, and some one to admire. The President was a man (cuz that's the way it was/is) to respect. He had to be wise and honorable . . . after all he was "old."
And, all old people were smart and full of wisdom.
The world spins. New fads give way to newer ones. Your waistline grows and . . .
. . . then, one day you wake up and realize you're closer in age to the dude who is in the Oval Office than you ever were before.
Holy Straight Ticket Votin' Batman!
Does that make me old? Gee whiz, I don't feel wisdom oozing out of my pores, though I do feel some aches and pains if I fall asleep on the floor; my beard is graying, and there are wrinkles around my eyes. I sure don't feel presidential.
* * *
Of course, based on my hypothesis, you'd think folks would start feeling old, younger. Article 2, Section 1 of the United States Constitution says, to be president, a person needs only be at least 35-years-old (a natural-born citizen of the US and must have lived in the US for 14 years).
* * *
Sometimes I wonder, if a person was elected president at the age of 35, would his hair be gray at the end of his first or second term?
Then I wonder, if a woman becomes president, would we even know if her hair was gray? Would she be honest and let it go, or would she have it dyed?
Is wondering stupid stuff a sign of old age or the harbinger of more-wise things to come?
* * *
Now that I am 'sposedly of an age that starts spoutin' nuggets of wisdom, is it wrong to ask how much is enough money and energy to send to Haiti, when we have neighbors -- entire communities in Michigan -- that need help, too?
Don't get me wrong, it is nice and wonderful to read of all the local people and churches and charities clamoring to raise money to send to that devastated country. It is horrific to see what has happened, is happening, there.
But . . .
Did you know, $800 million dollars has been given to Haiti from 2004-2008? That billions have been given since the earthquake? The president has promised $100 million in aid to Haiti. The House of Representatives wants to give $165 million; the Senate wants to give $282 million of our tax dollars.
And, that is all great and honorable. The question is, why don't we -- as the most generous people in the world, from the wealthiest nation -- put forth the same effort to help our neighbors closer to home? Is it some sort of Puritanical thought process that keeps us from reaching out to help other Americans? Do we think Americans should help themselves, instead of asking for a handout? Do we think folks asking for help are just lazy and not deserving?
I ask, only because I don't know.
* * *
Is that, admitting you don't know, a sign of age or wisdom?
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Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org