The pleasures of the elderly

pleasures of the elderly

“Did you see ‘Scaramouche’ on Turner Classic the other night?” I asked Apollonia the other day.

“What? Yeah, I think I switched past it,” she said. “Who was that? Rory Calhoun?”

“Nah,” I said. “Stewart Granger.”

We both laughed. “Same thing,” she said.

“I’ll say,” I said. “I think they were the same person. Maybe he was Rory Calhoun on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, and Stewart Granger on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.”

Now we were both laughing like idiots.

Off in the corner there was a table of younger staff members, listening to us. They stared at us as if we were patients in an asylum. We were aware of them. But we kept laughing. No, more than that: we laughed even harder because they were staring at us.


  • Does any of the above make any sense to you?
  • Do you know who Rory Calhoun was, or Stewart Granger?
  • Does “Turner Classic” mean anything to you?

It’s a habit of the elderly to mumble and cackle over the past. But this is a game we elderly people like to play: making reference to things that happened long before the other people in the room were born. It’s a way of getting even with those young people, with their music and their slang and their television programs that we’ve never heard of, and their texting jargon that we still haven’t quite figured out.

This is one of the great pleasures of the elderly: to make younger people uncomfortable.

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to The pleasures of the elderly

  1. Debbi McNiven says:

    I saw a great bumper sticker today. It said “paddle faster, I hear banjo music.” So now all I can think about is Deliverance and Dueling Banjos and how gorgeous Burt Reynolds used to be and how my son wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about if I mentioned any of these things.

    • Exactly. I have to explain everything to the students who work for me, like what The Muppet Show was and how a rotary telephone worked, and why Uncle Loren still uses the campus phone book to look up telephone numbers.

  2. starproms says:

    I chuckled when I read that today Loren. You are so right. As parents, my ex and I are constantly being made to feel ‘out of it’. I don’t think the young-uns do it deliberately, but it is an odd feeling to sit in the room with them all at Christmas and find that you cannot get into the conversation without showing yourself up. As you say, it’s fun to be ‘thick’ deliberately or equally deliberately, to throw in people or things they’ve never heard of.

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