by Marnie Macauley October 2, 2018


Mother and daughter. Positive nice cheerful women looking at the laptop screen and smiling while sitting together

As this is our Senior Edition, I did some hard thinking.  I also did some hard looking. Some famous female once said we Boomers should stand naked and proud as we look in a mirror. (I read she also talks to her Metamucil). How can one feel 25 with a face that looks like a relief map of Bulgaria, arms that are so crepey we could flap our way to Tel Aviv and a back that groans at the sight of a curb?

Face it. Our “Golden” years come with a little tarnish, not the least of which are total strangers asking if we need a Hoveround – and most of all, our adult children asking us insulting questions.

To be fair, it’s payback for all the times we Jewish mothers asked them questions such as:

“So, who are you seeing?”

“So, is it serious?”

“So, what’s the next step?”

“So, did you get it in writing?”

So, for this issue, I’ve decided to kvetch a little, but The Art of the Kvetch should always involve a little humor. Let’s laugh a little.

Today I bring you questions you should never ask a Jewish Boomer if you want a place in the will instead of a klop in the head. Here’s a sampling. And G-d willing, may you not be asked these in 20 years by your little millennial, Jedia-Malka Matzoballenberger.

Don’t Ask Jewish Boomers This!

“Was that really you in that photo of Cousin David’s bris?  How long ago was that taken?!”

True, we Joomers, at 22, may have been adorable (and firm).  But we need to infer our kinder is wondering how we went from this, to pelican arms, a face like bubble wrap never mind the extra 30 pounds?  But mama nature has imbued us with BD (Boomer Denial). We still think we can pass for 38– in a power failure. Such a question will throw us into mutant chaos.  But, do we want to shame them? Of course not. Better to ask: “Well how old DO I look?” “How old do your friends think I look?” “How old would I look with make-up, a tummy sucker-inner, and a wig – if it’s dark out?” This will send them running. You can also add: “That photo was taken before you were born. I turned gray after the Caesarian.” Should this not work, enlarge then hang that photo of your daughter during her baby-fat -Proactiv years over your mantel.

“Why are you shlepping junk like 200 albums of “The Barry Sisters Sing Yiddish,” your old books, eight tracks and collections if you’re downsizing?!”

Mamalas, suggest that if they quit staring at their palms for two seconds, maybe we’ll give up the Barry Sisters 78 rpm, our “How to Survive a Nuclear War” film, our “MAKE LOVE NOT WAR” buttons, or our original copy of “Catcher in the Rye.” Better to use the basic tone of voice and say: “Darling, I hear the Barry Sisters are making a come-back in Tel Aviv, and our buttons are listed in a rare Jewish collectible site, so our financial advisor (Cousin Jacob) told us to hold on and by 2042 you’ll be a billionaire. However, if you still want me to junk them, who am I to say?” They’ll build a vault for your Howdy Doody thermos.

“Did you forget to turn the computer “ON” again?”

No! We didn’t. “On” we know. The problem darlings, is what to do after it’s “on.” Should you utter such an insult, be prepared to say: “Just because we open urgent emails from people named Visakhapatmed with the important news that our fifth cousins, the Menschenwassers, left us 33 million rubles, or the machine types gibberish just because we have a few dozen thingies up … is no reason for a fancy laptop to explode.” Meanwhile, my old Remington with the ribbon, carbon paper and White-Out, never blew up, crashed, shut down, sent me treif like Spam, didn’t need a whole valley in Silicon to fix –and more, to type a letter, I didn’t need a rodent! And for your information, the other night on the Pyramid game a millennial had to name “Famous Astronauts.” She mentioned a baseball player. Picture it! An entire nation of Boomer Jews screaming: MARTIN FETTMAN. (OK, Neil Armstrong.) In our lifetimes, we’ve learned “obsolete” things, such as how to write a word more than three letters, how to read a book that doesn’t come with an “e-” before it, how to research or make a friend without clicking on a scary multi-national corporation that knows more about our X-Rays than we do and can sell them to foreign dictators!” If this only convinces them we’re leaking too many brain cells to take in new information, much better to say: “Mammal, I’ll learn what a modem is, when you learn to name the presidents backward to Truman – no clicking or Goggling. So now, you tell me who’s ignorant.”

“If you won’t get the Medic Alert system what about the Clapper?”

OK, true. Things on us are falling, breaking and plaque-ing. We may trip a little, think you’re getting taller, spit on moles that aren’t there, take an hour to make it to the mailbox, start conversations with “Guess who died?” But such a question suggests if we dialed you, you aren’t coming. And the clapper? Have you seen the infomercial? The woman is older than Abraham. That’s how they think of us?  A 105-year-old with three strands of hair, chaloshing, clinging to the garbage bin and clapping? This is not a compliment, mamalas. Calmly inform them you’re too weak to “clap” after all the clapping you did during their 1,000 school productions like “David and Goliath” when they played the slingshot. Add, “If you really cared, you’d call every five hours just to say hello.” If we answer, you’ll know we’re not clapping or screaming to strangers, “OY VEY! HELP, I CAN’T GET UP.”

“You always think you’re having a coronary!
Have you ever thought it might be indigestion?”

This is a bad question. Why? They’re in software. They know if it’s the real thing this time? They’ll only show up for the reading of the will? Should you be asked this question by your children: Step One. Immediately switch to “Johnny.” Who’s Johnny? The lovely young man you met at the market who lost his poor mother under mysterious circumstances and has now “adopted” you. You cook for him and he runs all your errands and looks in on you daily. Step two: Use the basic tone of voice when asking “What was the name of your friend … who drew up my will?” Trust me darlings, where there’s a will, there’s a way to get your kinder to come daily to take your pulse.


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