Old people should age gracefully.

If we are expected to sacrifice part of our busy, important lives to taking care of them, then the least they can do is not be miserable, cranky, bad-tempered, depressed, moody or ill.

Under no circumstances should they emit embarrassing smells, fluids, vapors or other substances from their bodies.

If they had any sense of decency, old people would pass away quietly in their sleep before they actually became dependent on anyone for their physical or emotional needs.

Unless of course, they have the money to take care of themselves. On the other hand, even that money is actually going down the drain.

If they have to go in a few days, the earlier the better, so that the nest egg they leave us is all that more substantial.

Of course, we are justified in expecting this much of old people.

After all, when we were little, did they not teach us always to behave in a particular way, not to be naughty, or selfish, or violent, or lazy?

Did they not scold and beat us till we learnt to control the flow of our bodily emissions in a socially acceptable way?

Did they not push and prod us to spend the better part of our days in institutions?

Did they not make us aware of the money they were spending on us, and how we ought to repay them?

Oh, old people are cunning. They’d like to forget those days when they stood over us with a controlling hand, and appeal now for pity.

But how can we forget that we need to pay them back?

(I’d written this a while ago, when I found myself irritated at the demands an old friend was making on me. Or angry at the unreasonable behaviour of my depressed mother. It came back to me when I read this a couple of days ago. And added the following footnote.)

And as for old people seeking sex, love or companionship, even the thought is reprehensible. And punishable. For didn’t they teach us to repress our sexual feelings when we were young? And didn’t they punish us for loving inconveniently?

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