Wrinkled Wisdom: It Ain’t Easy Going Green

A newspaper headline recently blared that it ain’t easy going green. No kidding! Recycling sure ain’t easy. Know you are not alone if you often find yourself scratching your head about what goes in your recycle bin. Three out of four of us are confused. 

Okay, let’s see if we can help. Paper is easy. Books, magazines, and newspapers are recyclable. Oops! Shredded paper may not be recyclable in your area. Each ton of recycled paper is turned into new products, saving 17 trees. Yes! Cardboard boxes are a go, too. But, toss those tissues, napkins, and paper towels in the trash if you don’t compost. Just learned that’s because they contain fibers too short to be made into new paper. Good trivia question!

The American Forest and Paper Association hit the media before the February Super Bowl, urging people to recycle pizza boxes. People watching the game at home ordered over 12.5 million pizzas. Yikes! That’s a lot of cardboard to be transformed into new products. Not to mention the calories! There has been mixed messaging on this because of the grease, but mills overwhelmingly say yes…yes we accept pizza boxes.

Okay, recycling aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles, jars, and glass bottles is a gimme. But, we didn’t know that you shouldn’t smash your soda can or recyclable containers. The machines will get confused since they separate based on dimensions.

Yes, we all agree that the recycling process can be stinky, but we mean that figuratively, not literally! If your bin is stinky, you flunk recycling, literally. You’ve got to make sure containers are free of food. You’re supposed to rinse out that leftover soup and those brownie bits. So, here’s the dilemma. In Colorado, we are hurting for water. Guess you could start by licking up the residue. But, how about this?? Clean out the container with your dinner napkin. A two-fer!

Lids are really tricky. If your yogurt container has a foil top, toss the foil in the trash. If a container is plastic and the lid is as well, keep the lid attached. Think juice bottles and those ubiquitous prescription meds. Glass container and metal lid?  Remove the lid and put both in the recycle bin.

Wow, we’ve really been screwing up. We knew ice cream containers couldn’t be recycled, but didn’t know you can’t recycle frozen dinner boxes. Heck, frozen dinners have been our go-to during the pandemic as we tired of cooking and sought immediate gratification. Sorry!!!

Bad news for junk food lovers. Potato chip, Cheetos, popcorn, and other snack packaging are not recyclable. That bag is often made of aluminum or a special mixed plastic to keep the junk food fresh. This includes the wrappers inside cracker boxes. Hmmm…better munch on Cheez-Its or peanut butter Bits. Their recycle info is actually clearly printed and readable. Wow! Recycle the box and drop off the inside plastic bag at the grocery store. Helps minimize guilt for craving that yummy, fattening stuff.

Another eye-opener is what can be recycled at the grocery store. Thought it was only plastic grocery bags. No. It’s way more. Ziploc-type bag. Bread bags. Plastic liners from cereal boxes. Produce bags. Dry cleaning bags minus the stapled receipts. Newspaper delivery bags. Even bubble wrap if you are willing to pop all the bubbles. Maybe pop those bubbles with passion while watching the news about Ukraine rather than shouting obscenities at the TV. If you are gritting your teeth worried about whether to toss some plastic in with the stuff going to the grocery store, do the crinkle test. Crush the questionable wrap in your hand. If it bounces back into shape after you scrunch it or makes a crunchy sound, in the trash it goes. When in doubt, throw it out.

Check and see if your trash company’s website has a search section so you can type in a tricky item and get info on whether it’s recyclable. We all sure need the help.

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today? Shop products made from recycled plastic. There’s an amazing variety of stuff. Increasing demand will motivate companies to make more stuff out of our recycled junk. If you really want to freak out, google microplastics—the tiny particles formed by the breakdown of plastic products. We are breathing, drinking, and eating them. Even in beer! Hopefully, not scotch! If things don’t change, we could end up in a recycle bin. Pull out the old Tupperware; ditch the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. And put your glasses on when looking for that damn, tiny recycling symbol!  Oh, and our favorite, clever message is on Coke cans: Recycle me…see you again soon. 

Wrinkled Wisdom – Fashion: We’ve Forgotten How to Dress

As we’re feeling a bit more positive about Covid’s fading future and venturing out, there’s just one problem. We’ve forgotten how to dress. Sure, one leg at a time. But we’ve spent two years simply pulling on those sweatpants and leggings with elastic waists. Have those muscles needed to fasten buttons and zip zippers atrophied? Does it still fit? Is it still in style? We haven’t been challenged to dress for the occasion since there’s been no occasion.

We used to stick to the axiom that if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing for a year, it’s time to get rid of it, donate it, repurpose it, or downgrade it for wearing to clean, paint, do yard work, or sleep in. That’s a problem in light of the pandemic. It literally describes a huge chunk of what’s in our closet, plus most of our accessories and shoes!

Speaking of sleeping in it, fashionistas are freaked by people wearing pajamas in public during the pandemic although people have long been doing it. Years ago, Teen Vogue published an article titled “Stylish Ways to Wear Pajamas in Public.” Another old article opened, “If you’re a grown-up person who has not recently been diagnosed with a mental disorder and you’ve gone out in public in your pajamas, you need to know two things. First of all, you look like an idiot; and, secondly, stop doing this. Immediately.”

We all want to be fashionable or, as with some of our younger relatives, be deliberately unfashionable or retro or artsy or Goth or hipster, or rapper, or Lady Gaga or Pharrell, or imitative of other trends we “seasoned” citizens don’t always get.

And, think about it. Fashion is cyclical. It’s promoted in magazine ads, introduced on runways, and flaunted on TikTok. What have we missed during two years of lockup? Clothes are a form of self-expression. They make a statement. We are all guilty of making split-second judgments based others’ appearance.

Yves Saint Laurent once said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” We’re giggling. Yes, wide-legged slacks, tie dye stuff, bell-bottoms, maxi skirts, minis, and hot pants have faded from our closets. Remember Saturday night parties with black velvet hot pants, fishnet stockings, and heels? We do have clothes from the ‘80s we still wear, but did take the shoulder pads out of the jackets. Thankfully, jeans have survived since James Dean popularized them in the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause. Entertained by the articles saying we’re too old to wear the trendy ripped jeans? And, we’d want to????

That brings up the question many ask about dressing appropriately for our age. Stop worrying! Of course, there are limits. Don’t wear that dress Cher wore to the 1986 Oscars. Or look like someone who still has a landline, as the kids say. “Dress your age” is a line more appropriate to throw at that teenager who spends her time taking photos of herself in suggestive apparel and posting them on internet sites. Be a kid while you can.

Staying fashionable requires shopping. We like hands-on shopping. We like to feel the fabric.  We like to try it on. But we are finding, like many people, we don’t have our old shopping stamina. Shopping online surged during the pandemic. But, beware! Companies are cutting corners, using cheaper, synthetic materials for clothes that are poorly made.  Make sure you aren’t shy about returning!

We like timeless clothes. We like black. We like well-fitting jeans, though that may be an eternal quest. We like a flattering bathing suit, which is probably an oxymoron as we age. And, that’s if you’ve got the guts to wear one.

And, some fun news! “At Prada, It’s in With the Old” shouted a recent headline. Instead of waiting for us to check into an old folks’ home, Prada’s Milan show featured actors Kyle MacLachlan and Jeff Goldblum, both old enough to collect social security. The point, the article’s author underscored, is that Prada is recognizing that people are living longer and baby boomers outspend consumers from any other age cohort. Finally, a market-driven decision that recognizes “vintage humans.”

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  We’re not suggesting you buy Prada’s Re-Edition 1995 brushed-leather medium handbag for $3,050. Just smile smugly in appreciation of the fashion brand’s recognition of us in marketing. Never ever be a slave to a fashion trend that looks terrible on you. Clothes in your closet should be items that fit and that you look forward to wearing. Starting to again wear clothes that need dry-cleaning is a positive. Reintroduce yourself to your favorite dry cleaners and keep it in business. They’ve had a tough time surviving Covid since everything we’ve donned during the pandemic can be tossed in the washing machine.

Wrinkled Wisdom – The Advertising Industry Has a Problem

We hate ads. We’re not alone. People of all ages hate ads. Companies worldwide spend more than $300 billion annually on advertising that over 90 percent of us pretty much ignore! People also complain that ads today are more intrusive. No kidding. We’re bombarded on television, Facebook, YouTube, apps, games, and even old fashioned billboards.

We will admit to enjoying some humor in ads and those featuring “our” music. Loved learning that most ads for wristwatches have them set to 10:10. That way, the hands frame the brand name and create a smiley face.

And, yes, we do raise our heads and look at the TV when commercials feature classic rock. California Raisins once used Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Carnival Cruises once used Bobby Darin’s Beyond the Sea. But, Geico made a blooper using the Allman Brothers’ Midnight Rider to promote its motorcycle insurance. Duane Allman and the band’s bassist were both killed in motorcycle accidents. Oops!

We are especially ticked by the ageism that is alive and well in advertising. What’s the key to marketing to us?  Use some common sense. Don’t call us old in the ad. We also aren’t excited about being called seniors citizens, elders, or even boomers. Okay, got to admit those terms are better than the days when people our age were labeled geezers, codgers, duffers, and old farts.   

A recent focus group came up with calling us advisers, coaches, wise ones, masters, experienced, and seasoned citizens. Huh?? Seasoned? What are we, food?

The view of the human race would be distorted if it were based on primetime advertising alone. You barely see older people. Only about five percent of U.S. advertising focuses on people over 50. Fifty! Apparently, we don’t exist… except for Depend diapers and ads for drugs that reportedly improve memory.

Yet, in a study polling people of all ages asking when you’re too old to do things like go back to school, start your own business, or date romantically, an overwhelming majority answered that you’re never too old. So there. Quit focusing on age as an indicator of consumer habits.

America does have an obsession with youth so most marketers focus on millennials and Gen Zers. Not smart! Not only do they not have the big bucks; apparently, they are not very loyal to products and services. Ageism in ads could be the consequence of the average age of employees in the advertising industry…34.  Hey, run some of your ideas past mom and dad!

Ignore us at your own peril! There are lots of us and we’ve got money! Respect “seasoned” citizens!

Eureka!  How about ads that focus on our actual needs and lifestyles instead of our age? This would increase the ad’s appeal to all potential buyers. Heck, we eat in and dine out. We drink alcohol. We wear clothes and wash them. We take care of our lawns. We update our homes. We use hair products and lotions. We exercise. We own computers and cell phones. How else would we communicate with the younger relatives? And, we buy lots of stuff at the pharmacy like everyone else for the sniffles and headaches, in addition to the Rogaine for our thinning hair.

Laughing over a number of news articles recently talking about Facebook and Google banning ads for sexual wellness products aimed at people over 50. Are their employees aghast that “seasoned” citizens are having sex?? Read the stats, millennials. ED can hit at any age!

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Social media gives us a voice to criticize condescending and stereotypical ads. Let ‘em have it on Facebook. Boycott brands whose ads tick you off. Don’t underestimate our clout! Yelling obscenities at the TV doesn’t do a thing, but sure makes us feel better. Smile when you see age-appropriate actors pushing products. Otherwise, hit the mute button and tackle a crossword puzzle till the show comes back on. Oh, and, could we dump the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” ad? It’s been on and off TV for 33 years. How about, um, I ate too many edibles and can’t get off the couch!

Wrinkled Wisdom – Post Holiday Ruminations

Hanukkah…Winter Solstice…Christmas…Kwanzaa…New Year’s. Well, we’ve just lived through another holiday season as the Omicron variant surges throughout the world. This year, thankfully, even the grandkids were vaxxed and home tests were available to confirm that no one had to stay in lockup while we partied. We hugged! We stashed the masks!

Wow…some of our friends, who haven’t seen relatives or pals for two years, actually celebrated together. That is, if their flights weren’t canceled because Omicron is hitting airline employees hard. Yes. Omicron! For inquiring minds, the World Health Organization skipped over the Greek alphabet letter Nu because it sounds like “new.” That would be redundant. They skipped over Xi because China’s president is Xi Jinping. That wouldn’t be politically correct. If these variants keep popping up, we’ll need to find a different alphabet!

We all might consider avoiding trips to the mall for a bit since experts predict that about two out of three of us will return at least one gift after the holidays. An alternative? Regifting! Reportedly, the most commonly regifted items are socks, alcohol, and scented candles. Huh? Socks?  We’re not regifting that scotch, for sure. Candles? Maybe. We regift sugar things. The mailman loves candy, and we sure don’t need more calories.

Food, which translates into calories that translate into fat, is a huge part of the holiday season. Some of us look forward to holiday celebrations just because of the specialty foods that will be welcomed on our plates. Some may not be seen or eaten for another year! Home-grown turkey.  Noodle kugel (not kegel).  Yummy mashed potatoes, stuffing, and orange gravy.  Coconut cheesecake.  Carrot cake.  Forget the fruitcake. 

The food is, of course, complemented by multiple wines and our favorite mixed drinks. Yup. More calories. We used to be able to handle three drinks. Now it’s two since hangovers aren’t fun. That’s one of the perks of hosting the party. Yes, you have to cook, prep, and clean up, but you don’t have to worry about driving home.

Then there is the holiday Annual Sugar Exchange. That’s what we call it when the neighbors think it’s neighborly to gift us with their favorite homemade cookies, cakes, or candies, much of which ends up in the compost or trash bin. Of course, that means it’s incumbent upon the receiver to reciprocate with a sugar gift. Oops, be careful about regifting food. One of us once did; then was asked for the recipe. Ouch.

After decades, gifting, in general, has become a challenge.  No one in the family really needs anything, except the grandkids who, of course, want things. So, we’ve established some traditions in giving. It works! We don’t buy that imported canned tuna fish we love because we know we’ll get a bunch for Christmas. We look forward to receiving an expensive scotch we wouldn’t buy but just love. Donations to favorite charities in our name.  Gift cards.  Lottery tickets. 

We had no problem with the answer to a crossword clue recently that read:  Thanks, it’s just what I’ve always wanted. It’s a lie! Well, fib would have fit too. Three in five of us have lied about liking a gift we just opened, according to a recent poll. Guess the others just say thanks and give it away.

One of the positive things about the holidays is that spam calls usually drop. What a relief! But, spam emails increase like crazy. Why? They are trying to dupe us with fake shipping notifications for holiday gifts. With age comes wisdom. If it lands in our junk mail, screw it.

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today? The simplest way to make a person happy with a gift? Ask them what they want. Gifts don’t always have to be a surprise. A wanted gift makes people smile. Hope you got a cute baseball cap this holiday. According to our hairdressers, the pandemic has apparently caused lots of hair loss. Thought that was aging. And, don’t instigate a holiday Sugar Exchange with neighbors. Trust us on this.

Wrinkled Wisdom – Did You Know?

We hope you will smile and laugh at some fun facts we’ve uncovered as we continue to ignore the news.  Smiling and laughing trigger the release of endorphins, making us feel happy.  But, oh, dear, they also cause wrinkles, which are, of course, emphasized as we age.  Crap.  Botox??

While feeling a bit guilty about deepening those wrinkles, we are going to share these tidbits with you.  Enjoy!  Smiling and laughing are optional.

Did you know that Purina has launched a line of pet food that uses bugs?  Well, specifically the food includes black soldier fly larvae and plant protein.  They are promoting it as a way to better use the planet’s resources.  Bugs are a great protein source and our pets have no mental hang-ups about eating them. 

Heck, that should come as no surprise.  Remember, people eat bugs too!  The selection on Amazon is mind-boggling.  Crickets, ants, and even beetle larva, can be found, covered in rich, dark chocolate.  Something called EntoMilk is used in some ice creams.  It’s made from the larvae of that popular black soldier fly.  But, let’s talk ants.  Did you know that all the ants on the Earth once weighed as much as all the humans?   No longer, as one expert points out, “We’re not just increasing in population, we’re increasing in fatness, so I think we’ve left the ants behind.” 

Speaking of fat, the Washington Post has published its Annual Neologism Contest winners, who offer entertaining alternative meanings for common words.  Our favorites?  Flabbergasted: appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.  Abdicate: to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

And, don’t forget that the majority of the brain (60%) is fat!  That explains so much.

We were very surprised to learn that Competitive Art was once an Olympics competition.  Painters, sculptors, writers, and musicians battled for the gold, silver, and bronze.   After the Olympics were put on hold during World War II, the new IOC president insisted that the Olympics be absolutely pure.  He believed that winning an Olympic medal for Competitive Art was an advertisement for the artists’ work and made them more money on their sales.  Another victim of war.

Oh, my God!  That was our reaction to learning that the ubiquitous text abbreviation OMG is more than 100 years old.   A British Naval admiral included it in a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill.  What is old is new!  Recycling at its best. 

Air fresheners, perfumes, and aftershaves can cause allergic reactions in cats.  Makes sense.  They have a keener sense of smell for survival.  We know how they feel.  Ever been in an elevator with a heavily-fragranced individual??   Thank heavens, we don’t react like some cats and vomit or have diarrhea.  Even our Covid masks don’t help.  When it comes to fragrances, less is more!

Pope Francis worked as a nightclub bouncer in his hometown in Argentina to support himself when he was a student.  Not sure what implications to draw from this!

Historians guess that Genghis Kahn’s conquests killed around 40 million people.  Yet, one in every 200 men today is descended from this murderous Mongolian.  Huh?  Scary?

Before mercury, brandy was used to fill thermometers.  What a waste of good alcohol! 

Hot water freezes faster than cold water. We knew that but forgot.  Because, who cares?

The first McDonald’s drive-thru was created in one of its restaurants in Arizona, located near a military installation.   Military rules at the time forbade soldiers from wearing their uniforms in public.  The manager had a hole cut in the restaurant’s wall so military members could pick up their Big Mac and fries without stepping out of their cars.  Thank you for your service!

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Amuse yourself with interesting facts.  Get with the program; eat bugs and help save the planet.  Suggest to your young relatives that they get an ancestry DNA test for their fiancé before marrying the guy.  And, know when you think someone is a fathead, you are right.  OMG!

Wrinkled Wisdom – Random Thoughts

Random Thoughs

We had toyed with the idea of writing a selection titled: Ten Top Reasons We’re Glad It Is Not 2020 Anymore….a cumbersome title and a blatant play on David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists.  (So fun not to have to explain who Letterman is to our readers.)  We also had a humorous Top Ten Reasons to Keep Some Masks idea, another cumbersome title.  However, things have not progressed as we had hope, so we nixed both ideas.  Consequently, we are left with… random thoughts.

Wow.  Disruptions in the supply chain are really screwing things up and driving up prices!  Costco is again limiting purchases of some items.  The issue isn’t panic buying.  They just can’t get the products to their stores. Thankfully, it’s not as bad as last year when everyone was hoarding.  Example?  Someone’s mega-package of toilet paper was strewn on the street recently and no one stopped to pick up the rolls!

Speaking of disruptions, if you need to schedule any medical appointments, do it now.  One specialist we called is now taking appointments in March.  March????

As more people are posting on various media, it’s driving up our blood pressure as we are constantly struck by poor grammar and spelling.  Sure, we all make mistakes, but we do know how to use an apostrophe!!!  And, please, there is the correct usage of “regard” versus “regards.” 

Mercedes once ran an ad bragging…More power.  More style.  More technology.  Less doors.  Less doors?  Wait, doors can be counted so, using proper grammar, the ad should have boasted fewer doors.  Some claim that companies use bad grammar to sell their products or services, arguing that it grabs people’s attention causing them to stop and focus on the message.  Nope.  Not buying that.  Just some ad writer’s clever response when caught screwing up.

Viruses constantly change through mutation.  So, we are lobbying for use of the word “mutant” over “variant” to describe the new forms of Covid.  Mutant sounds more negative to us, while variant seems more benign…like abnormal or different.  And, we are sure feeling negative about the Delta mutant taking us backwards.  

Regeneron is available to those over 65, so a positive for oldies who are suffering from breakthrough Covid cases.  Got to look for the positives these days!

Cooking has lost its appeal.  Thank goodness for microwaves and toaster ovens…and delivery!

We are noticing an increase in roadside litter.  Yes, people are back in their cars and going places, but has the pandemic made us less thoughtful about the environment???  “Leave no trace” should be honored everywhere.  Google its principles not the movie.  

We’ve noted that some do not do solitary very well; no wonder it is used as a penal punishment. 

Some people feel masks limit interpersonal communication.  There is truth to that.  Masks muffle sounds and cover facial expressions.  However, after more than a year of this mess, we’ve learned to better read body language, eyebrows, eyes, and upper cheeks, which are keys to understanding the big picture.  Listen for those audible signs of frustration.  Watch for that twinkle in happy eyes.  

The pandemic has spurred gambling from anywhere, any time, and on anything!  Even we can name multiple betting sites available to us on our phones.  And the initial no loss come-ons are way too inviting.  We don’t even understand half the betting terms, and we have limited to no knowledge about some sports.  Arm Wrestling and Rock Paper Scissors Championships! Really?

We’ve watched our screen time increase each week.  Gee…could it be killing time with online games?   Okay, maybe not Minecraft or Fortnight, but solitaire, poker, bridge, Words with Friends, or Candy Kush?  Not telling.

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Continue to wear those darn masks to protect yourself and others from the RISE of the MUTANTS.  Hmmm…in addition to storing personal protective equipment for the next pandemic, maybe the government should offer free American Sign Language classes so we can better communicate when masked?  Beware of online gambling!  Even if you know the terms parlay, bad beat, and vig, you can still lose your shirt.  Consider supply issues and shipping times when planning to cook or bake.  The strawberry jam bundt cake is on hold because the strawberry extract is weeks late.  We’re not advocating hoarding…but.  

Visual Acuity

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Ghosts!!?? Apparitions of some sort!!??

Okay, we don’t believe in ghosts.  But, what are those flickers of light in the corners of our eyes that create the illusion of elusive shadows lurking around the house?

Time to visit the eye doctor for a reality check.  Hmmm.  Just manifestations of eye issues, we’re told— “floaters,” leaky vitreous fluid, double vision (there are not two dogs coming toward you), macular pucker, stressed retinas, cataracts (get the upgraded lens), and corneal conditions….take your pick.

Ah…..another sign of aging.

Everyday visual challenges are exasperating.  Can’t read the number on the prescription bottle to reorder.  Can’t read the amount owed on bills.  Can’t read the due date for paying the bills.   Don’t these organizations realize that some of their customers are oldies?  Use larger print!  Seeable colors!  The easy answer?  A magnifying glass.  Oh, and yes, perhaps we should opt for paying bills online.

Wow.  Amazon really hypes magnifiers with lights for seniors, emphasizing that they end struggling to read tiny print.  The promo language also points out that these magnifiers are great for reading in bed without waking your partner, and are useful for parents and school nurses inspecting children for lice.  Okay.  Hadn’t thought of that.  Bad image!

We’re oldies, but we do own a cell phone and have learned to use its flashlight to read menus in dimly lit restaurants.  Carrying around a magnifying glass would be a bit embarrassing.

Not only has a magnifying glass now become a necessity to read fine print, a magnifying mirror has become essential paraphernalia.  Essential for nailing those black and white hairs growing from our chins, those errant hairs emerging from our ears and noses, and those seemingly foot-long ones jutting out of our eyebrows!  Yes!

Other visual challenges?  How about coping with the glare from headlights while driving at night or sun reflections during the day?  Yikes, those low, huge, setting suns are stunning…stunning in their ability to blind us!  What’s happening?  Those darn lenses are scattering the light as it enters our eyes rather than being focused precisely on the retina, creating an exaggerated glare.  Listen for glare warnings from traffic helicopters.  Really, weather reports include glare!  Wow, who knew?

And, it’s tougher when we are going someplace we haven’t been before at night because reading street names in the dark from a distance is almost impossible.  Love it when it is a numbered street.  Easy, 112th comes after 111th.  But, then they squeeze in a street with a name!  Rude!

Got a giggle when older friends would jokingly say they only dated individuals who could drive at night.  Thought they were kidding.  They weren’t.

“Visual acuity” is defined as the sharpness of our vision.  The test for visual acuity is our ability to identify which vile line of those tiny letters we can still see when tested at the eye doctor’s.  We flunk.  Who doesn’t need reading glasses at our age?  Thank heavens the eye chart for drivers’ licenses is more forgiving, and we don’t have to wear glasses while driving.

We recently wrote about being both literally and figurative thin-skinned.  Visual acuity is the visual equivalent.  We can’t see some stuff, and we really don’t want to see some other stuff.

So our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Make your ophthalmologist your best friend.  Forget hoping for good grades on that visual acuity test.  Can’t read something?  Forget your pride and grab the magnifying glass.  When searching for that least noisy restaurant table, check out the lighting, too.  And, remember, the CEO of Uber said people won’t own cars in 10 years, so night driving won’t be a problem.  Of course, it won’t matter to us since by then the kids will have taken the keys and put Uber/Lyft apps on our cellphones.

Senior Moments

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What was the point I was about to make?  Did I close the garage door?  Lock the car?  Why did I come into the kitchen?  Ah…we label these senior moments.  Is dementia or Alzheimer’s just around the corner?  Nope.

Stop worrying!  Oops.  Actually, worrying about senior moments—those familiar lapses in memory—is healthy.  People with dementia aren’t aware that they just had a senior moment.

Let’s get real.  We’re oldies.  Our brains change, making it more difficult to dredge up certain facts or memories.  The hormones and proteins that repair brain cells and stimulate growth have begun to decline.  Age-induced forgetfulness is normal just like bad knees, sagging skin, and cataracts.

We oldies have probably brushed our teeth 50,000 times and closed our garage doors 40,000 times.  These repetitious activities are now automatic.  We are often thinking about something else while doing them…like…shall I listen to classic rock or jazz on my car radio?

Reality monitoring is a term used to describe focusing on common activities we do so frequently that we have difficulty remembering if we actually did them.  A reality check is easy, we’re told, because the actions we perform leave behind memory records that are different from actions we think about.  Okay, if you say so.

But, we do like the concept of reality monitoring to help us determine which repetitive activities we most frequently fail to remember.  Once identified, develop a ritual.  We put our seatbelt on as the garage door clatters down.  Done.  No worries.  Garage door closed.

It’s not just us oldies.  At any given age, we’re improving at some things and getting worse at others.  The brain’s processing power and detail memory peaks at age 18, according to research.   The ability to learn unfamiliar names peaks at age 22.  And, facial recognition peaks at 32.  Okay, we think we feel better now.

Research also found that people of all ages often forget who someone is and personal details about them.  And, forgetfulness isn’t limited to someone we’ve just met.  We forget acquaintances, coworkers, classmates, and friends.  We forget shared experiences.  Most younger people excuse the “forgetter;” but, apparently, the individual loses points in a dating relationship.

Oldies are even more forgiving because, well…been there, done that.  Plus, we’ve probably already forgotten what you told us.

And, we found this interesting theory called memory decay.  Hmmm.  How appropriate.  We know something but can’t retrieve the information.  The reason?  We don’t use the information regularly.  Yes, we once knew who sang Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.  Storage of new information is also believed to interfere with recalling older information.  Never did “use it or lose it” make more sense!

We’ll close with one of our favorite lines we often quote to each other walking out of a store after shopping.  It’s okay to forget where your car is parked.  It’s not okay to forget what your car looks like.  Another reason to value handicapped parking.  It’s close in.  Makes it easy to spot your car!

Our wrinkled wisdom for today:  Write yourself notes.  Don’t be naïve.  You won’t remember in the morning.  Same with New Year resolutions.  Did we break them or just forget what they are??  Have a place for everything and everything in its place.  Don’t overdo it.  But, put your keys in the same spot when you walk in the door.  Have fun playing word games and online bridge.  Do crossword puzzles and Sudoku.  Great for keeping that aging brain with it.  Pay attention to each action you perform even if you’ve done it tens of thousands of times already.  And, remember that you said you would never drink that much again…ever again.

Huh??? What???

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There are a plethora of humorous greeting cards for sale that make fun of older individuals and hearing loss.  Surprised?  Nope.  Just think of it as a form of market segmentation aimed at us oldies!

Three old guys are walking together.  “It’s windy today,” says the first.  “No,” responds the second, “it’s Thursday.”  The third says, “I’m thirsty too.  Let’s have a beer.”  They can even get a bit racy.  Take the card with the doctor with a stethoscope who says to his aging female patient, “big breaths.”  “Yes, they used to be,” she answers.

Hearing loss ranks third among chronic health conditions affecting Americans.  And, researchers say the culprit is simply the noise that we all encounter in everyday life.  Teens and young adults are also at risk of noise-induced hearing loss.  Think about the impact on hearing from rock concerts and action movies.

But, let’s get real.  Age is the strongest predictor.  Nearly 25 percent of us between 65 to 74 and 50 percent of people over 74 are more apt to miss a bridge bid or mishear a comment.  Men are twice as likely to lose their hearing.  As they age, women have more difficulty with lower frequencies.

We’ve had some personal glitches.  We thought you said earring, or endearing or….  Oh, you are talking about hearing?  And, while listening to the financial channel, we couldn’t understand why they would be talking about vaginas.  They weren’t.  They were referencing something “for China.”  Then, it was prostate for pro state.  Euthanasia not youth in Asia.  The list goes on.

We love to eat out.  But, loud restaurants seem to be the norm.  We’re not alone.  It’s the top complaint from diners, according to the 2018 Zagat National Dining Trends Survey.  Restaurants’ modern, minimalist décor may be trendy, but those high ceilings and hard surfaces make conversation difficult.

Love the guy who wrote: From a health perspective, we should be as worried about the rising decibels of our favorite neighborhood joints and national chains as we are about their ballooning portion sizes.  Restaurant reviewers are ticked off as well and often list noise levels in their reviews.  Wow.  Our dining habits could be damaging our hearing.

You can ask the restaurant manager to turn down the music.  Sure.  As if that’s going to happen.

AARP to the rescue!  The group for oldies suggests choosing a booth not a table, sitting along the perimeter of the dining room so sounds aren’t coming from all sides of the restaurant, and avoiding tables near the kitchen.   But, here’s our favorite.  Tell the waiter that you read lips, so he or she will enunciate clearly.

Yikes, there are even apps.  One called SoundPrint takes a decibel reading to help you choose the quietest area of the restaurant to sit, drink, and eat. Normal conversation is about 60 decibels.  If the restaurant’s noise is 70 to 80 decibels, you’ll need to lean across the table and yell.  For perspective, know that New York City restaurants average 77 decibels.  New York City bars hit 81 decibels.  Yes, that’s New York.  But, we’re betting restaurants all over the country are equally jarring.

The best news?  Musicians’ earplugs.  They filter out loud sounds and allow you to hear quieter sounds.  Etymotics Research makes the earplugs, which can cost as much as $300, but sells a version for $15.  Amazon ranks these inexpensive earplugs at No. 386 for all electronics products—every electronic product you can think of.  That means that a fair number of people have already bought them and wear them to concerts, football games, movies, and, yes, noisy restaurants.  Imagine.  Enjoying the entertainment while being able to hear what your friends are saying.

Our Wrinkled Wisdom for today:  Go online to Amazon today and order the musicians’ earplugs.  Carry them everywhere!  Think of it as you would defensive peeing.  Let restaurant managers know you aren’t happy about the noise level and cite research about hearing loss for those working in that environment.  If he or she blows you off, just roll your eyes and know that the manager will be losing his or her hearing at quite an early age.  We guess that’s what is known as serving revenge cold.

Flying: Then and Now

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Remember when airplane travel was fun?  It sure wasn’t fun for the doctor dragged off that overbooked plane.  And, it certainly wasn’t fun for the women sitting near the guy who peed on the seat in front of him or those “exposed” to the exhibitionists masturbating for thrills.  Reports of sexual assaults on planes are way up, possibly because of increased reporting, though no regulatory body tracks reports.  And, airlines are flummoxed about what to do.  It’s not like the women can call 911!

These events made some noteworthy headlines.  But, we want to talk about incremental changes.  Safety is sometimes the reason.  But, predominantly, it’s the bottom line.  As ABBA’s song lyrics emphasize…money, money, money.

We appreciate that safety is important and the need to create the TSA after 9/11.  But, let’s be honest, it’s a pain to be at the airport two hours in advance of your flight to navigate the TSA lines and follow all the rules.

Remove your shoes, belts, jackets, jewelry, and hats.  Don’t have any liquid in your carry-on bag that’s more than 3.4 ounces.  Huh?  Oh, that jives with the European Union’s limit of 100 milliliters.  It’s the metric system, silly.  That unopened bottle of water from home won’t make it through security.  Friends can no longer meet you at the gate when you arrive.  You can lock your luggage, but only with TSA-approved locks the agency can open with a master key.  Big brother?

Don’t forget to tell a TSA rep that you’ve had a hip or knee replacement.  You can ignore TSA’s requirement that you bring a certificate or letter from your doctor.  You’ll just have to go through that special metal detector and wait for a same-sex pat-down.

Airlines hype cheap fares but forget the bennies.  We’ve been paying for checked bags since 2008.  No racks with magazines to read.  No pillows.  No blankets.  No free food.  Oh, maybe in first class.  Often no seat-back TVs.  You are expected to watch the airline’s library of movies and TV programs on your phone, tablet, or laptop.  Some planes and waiting area seating have been retrofitted with electrical plugs.  Keep your fingers crossed they are plentiful and working.

Passengers are packed in like sardines as airlines add additional seating.  Legroom?  Forget it.  In some cases, the retrofitting has caused windows to become unaligned with rows, a source of potential conflict that may require mediation if you and the person in the row sharing the window can’t agree whether the shade should be up or down.  Overbooking flights is, unfortunately, now standard and legal in order to compensate for customers who don’t show up.  No more empty middle seats.

And, wow, American Airlines is now saying it will shrink its bathrooms to 24 inches.  Airlines’ bathrooms used to be 34 inches wide on average, then dropped to 27 inches. The best stock market buy to take advantage of the aging of America may be relevant here.  Buy stock in companies making adult diapers.  One investment firm predicts a 48% increase in diaper sales by 2020.  American Airlines’ passengers of all ages may soon become part of that booming market.

The 2018 top 10 worldwide airlines were just named.  To rate high, an airline must demonstrate leadership in innovation for passenger comfort.  Hmmm…not one U.S. airline made it into the top 10.  Gee, wonder why?

Okay, we’ve been venting but there are some positives.   No more smoking on planes.  What young person would believe there once were smoking sections on planes and an ashtray built into the arm of every seat??  Many airlines automatically issue oldies a TSA pre-approved boarding pass.  Yes!!  Importantly, female flight attendants are no longer fired at age 32, or when they marry, or if they put on a few pounds.

Also, the fee some airlines charge for carry-on bags has proved to be positive.  It motivates passengers to check their bags so boarding and deplaning don’t take forever.  By the way, could we return to the logical boarding of the last seats first?  Oh, no, that approach is long dead.  We guess that’s because it gave precedence to the cheap seats’ access to limited overhead space.

So our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Book a window seat.  Scientists say that will reduce your chances of getting sick from the plane flight.  The odds of being sucked out a cracked window are pretty slim.  Oldies should feel free to board early with the people with disabilities.  Cranky doesn’t count as a disability, but they don’t ask.  Dress in layers; planes are oblivious to outside temperatures.  And, be sure to bring your portable charger.  A long flight without something to read or watch is definitely not fun.  As a backup, you might pack an actual book in your carry-on bag.  How retro!