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.

Oldies and the #MeToo Movement

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Has it really been just months since the Harvey Weinstein allegations hit the news? Since then, prominent men have been dropping like flies, losing their jobs as scores of women report aggressive sexual harassment and coercion in the workplace. Even our non-famous male friends and once co-workers are seriously rethinking how they behaved toward women throughout their careers.

The #MeToo movement has gone international, kept this important issue in the news, and birthed a new movement, Time’s Up.  Hollywood celebrities founded the group to promote equality and safety in the workplace for all women and raised millions for its legal defense fund.

We oldies feel that this can be THE watershed moment. Women are speaking up like never before. Let’s not let this moment go by. Let’s solve this problem…now.

We joined the workforce with birth control pills in our medicine cabinet. The pill became the symbol of the sexual revolution and liberation. We read Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique, which urged us to choose to be more than a housewife and participate in and enjoy sex.

The 1970s brought the Civil Rights movement, women’s liberation movement leaders like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, and Helen Reddy singing “I am woman; hear me roar.” We attended marches and protests for equal rights in the workforce. We thought we had made a difference. We thought we had “come a long way, baby.” Not far enough, obviously!

Yes, as young, working females, we were subject to sexual advances. We crossed our legs away from the male who put his hand on our thigh during a working lunch clearly indicating we weren’t interested. We put an end to unwanted flirting quickly and unambiguously. We dealt with it. We quit jobs when the boss was a jerk and told our friends not to apply. Today, we’d go to the Board of Directors and get him fired.

Interestingly, some are saying that the #MeToo movement has uncovered a rift between baby boomers—those of us who lived through the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s—and younger women of later generations. Rift? Hardly. A different perspective? Of course.

One area where we oldies appear to have a differing perspective is that we see a spectrum of sexual misconduct ranging from mildly offensive to egregious.

Many infractions do not come close to those of Dr. Nassar or Weinstein, or chronic abusers such as Ailes, Rose, and Lauer. Or wife beaters. That said, a man telling a woman she looks good is not the same as exposing his genitals. An unwanted hug is not the same as coercing a woman to have sex. Noting that someone looks tired is not body-shaming.

We want everyone to be smart, careful, and use common sense. Think twice about meeting in a hotel room. Clearly state what you want and don’t want. Say “stop” or “no” definitively. Sadly, research shows that 68 percent of millennials actively avoid face-to-face conversations. Young people apparently don’t know how to talk to one another. They could try this: step back and text “NO” in caps.

Let’s help our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and others. Let’s strongly support everyone who has suffered. Let’s advocate for inclusive, rational discussions among men, women, and LGBTQ. Let’s lobby for legislation that penalizes companies that tolerate cultures of harassment and against the use of the nondisclosure agreements that have helped silence victims of abuse. Together, let’s create dramatic, lasting social change.

Our wrinkled wisdom for today: Till all this is ironed out, we suggest a sports approach in both work and social situations since sports is a universal “language.” If someone does something improper or inappropriate, simply make a time-out sign with your hands. Use this hand signal as a teachable moment; and, hopefully, an entrée to or—to continue our sports analogy—the kickoff of a meaningful conversation. And, remember that American football has an illegal touching penalty. One could simply call “foul,” which would definitely be better than yelling—I’m calling a lawyer! Have another idea? We say go for it and let us know how it works out.

 

About That Bucket List

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A drop in the bucket, slime bucket, sweat buckets, come down in buckets, kick the bucket….and finally, wait for it: bucket list.

Bucket idioms have been around for centuries, and now it’s the bucket list that is all the rage—for all ages, not just seniors.  Bucket lists are ubiquitous.  So, if you need inspiration, just check out the list of 10,000 things to do before you die.  Lists have been concocted for visiting foreign countries and big cities, for particular seasons, and even for cooking new recipes.  Google at will.

The term appears to have originated with, or at least been popularized by, the 2007 movie The Bucket List, which starred Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.

Wow, who knew that 90 percent of people over-55 have already created a bucket list?  That’s what surveys say.  Okay, most of us oldies have an idea of some things we might want to do before kicking the bucket, but are those ideas realistic?  Let’s take a look at some common online ideas.

Defying gravity seems to be very popular.  Our movie stars, Morgan and Jack, had skydiving on their bucket list.  However, they also had stunt men.  We were very impressed that the first President Bush parachuted to celebrate his 90th birthday.  But, he’s a longtime skydiving fanatic.  If skydiving or other feet-off-the-ground adventures like parachuting, paragliding, or parasailing make your list, we suggest a tandem jump with a professional as Bush did.  We also suggest you update your will and have your life insurance paid up.

A hot air balloon ride makes many lists and seems to us a reasonable way to get high without… well…getting high.

A tattoo?  Nope. That ship has sailed for us oldies.  Sagging skin is not the best canvas for tattoo art.  Just get a temporary one.

Of course, traveling the world and eating exotic foods is popular limited only by bad backs, knees, and hips; planter fasciitis; and medical issues…such as GERD.  You get the idea.

Many bucket lists tout running a marathon, learning a new language, writing a book, or taking music lessons.  Really?  And, you have waited until now because?

Conquering a fear lands on many lists.  And, there are such creative names for these phobias.  Fear of spiders—arachnophobia.  Claustrophobia—fear of small, confined spaces.  Fear of heights—acrophobia.  Fear of rats plays a huge part in the novel 1984.  Even that phobia has a name—musophobia. We prefer to think of bucket list items as fun and adventurous objectives.  We are happy to die with some fears.

Scuba diving sounds exciting; but, sadly, we’ve pretty much missed the Great Barrier Reef, which is fading fast.  And…questions: are you willing to don a bathing suit?  Can you swim?  Are you willing to come face to face with sharks, giant squids, electric eels, and flesh-eating bacteria?

Going on a cruise is quite doable but potentially fattening.  Prolific food and drink.  But, beware of Legionnairesdisease and leaning too far over the railing if you’ve had a few or irritated your partner.

A new study reports that, on average, oldies are willing to spend about $13,000 on their bucket lists.  Looking at lists online, we don’t think that would cover visiting all seven continents, highlighted by an elephant ride in Thailand.  But, you could visit all 50 states, see the Northern Lights, learn to crack an egg with one hand, swim with a dolphin (in a wetsuit, please), go on a whale watching tour, or plan for the next total eclipse…all popular choices.

Pity our kids.  With life expectancy rising each year, they could be working forever.  Heck, one in 10 oldies now say they will have to work until they are over 71.  Expect future bucket lists to include…retirement!

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Creating bucket lists can be fun, but maybe start waaay before you might actually kick the bucket.  Hear that young people?  And, think realistically.  Heck, there is always virtual reality and you don’t even need to get out of bed.  Give it a Google.  And, since some degree of memory loss is a fairly common part of aging, be sure your bucket list is on your smartphone, lest you forget.