It can become more and more difficult to find things to laugh about as we get older – unless we discount accidentally seeing our reflection in a mirror! We have to take our pleasures where we find them. One of my favourite pastimes used to be eavesdropping – unfortunately even with my hearing aids in I find it more difficult today. I contend that people mumble but they would disagree. The best overheard remark ever was one that a friend of mine swore was true (not entirely sure I believed her but it is too good not to pass on). She said that she heard this remark in a restaurant in America: ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. She’s the only maid in New York who knows how to get creme de menthe stains out of chinchilla.’ Of course she may have misheard. I frequently mishear things now – particularly song lyrics.
There is a song by Paul Young, entitled ‘Every time you go away,’ that contains the line ‘Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you’ and I have always heard it as ‘Every time you go away you take a piece of meat with you’. Apart from the possibly slightly cannibalistic undertones that seemed very sensible – a pork pie is always welcome on a journey.
Without wishing to sound like Pollyanna I have always been a glass half full person. Old age means that you sprout unsightly hairs that grow at the speed of light on your chin but on the plus side you hardly ever have to shave your legs. You can be sad that all those beautiful high heeled shoes sit in the cupboard looking at you but the joy of being able to wear comfy, flat shoes when you go out is undeniable. No one will ever fancy you again, and that is sad, but no one will ever fancy you again and that is very liberating. You become invisible which might seem like a sad thing but it is actually a good thing – you could become a spy or a first class shop lifter! I lead a rich fantasy life and whilst shinning over rooftops in pursuit of a burglar is probably not on the agenda any longer following someone in a crowd is a doddle. I have actually practiced this when getting off a train or bus and whilst I don’t actually follow anyone home I’m pretty sure I could if I wanted to do it.
Another thing to be extremely grateful for is that we don’t have to do internet dating. When I was young we met new people at parties and there were a lot of them. I seem to remember that was the main point of a party – to meet the love of your life. Today I am just thrilled if I manage to talk to someone at a party and we can both hear each other. Today girls have to go on-line and navigate those choppy waters. I hope that I would be savvy enough not to allow myself to be catfished, but as they say hope springs eternal and I can imagine that if you had been alone for a while it would be only to easy to believe that this gorgeous, solvent, charming man was real and not some scammer from overseas trying to part you from your money.
Sex education for children – it would now be considered terrible but we learnt by trial and error – We scoured The National Geographic Magazine and I seem to remember a Naturist Magazine called something like Health and Efficiency – where you could see naked bodies. I had a brother so had a good idea of what boys looked like but many girls did not and our sex education was mainly about rabbits which didn’t help very much. It is so much more complicated today – I find it very difficult to understand most of it but if it is on a need to know basis I can happily remain in blissful ignorance.
Another great reason to be cheerful is the time to read. In my youth I would have felt guilty if I had sat down to read in the middle of the day but not any more and there is nothing like the pleasure of re-reading old favourites such as P G Wodehouse and how lucky we are to have been able to read everything in the original before it has been sanitised and prefaced with dire warnings by the sensitivity police warning of sexism, ageism, racism and sizeism! How long will two of my favourite PG Wodehouse quotes survive.
“He was a tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say ‘when! …”
“At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.”
I would strongly object to a written warning in a book by Charles Dickens telling me that some of the views expressed by the author may be upsetting to the modern reader. Quite frankly if you aren’t able to work that out for yourself you’re very unlikely to be reading Dickens.
Too many people today appear to have had their sense of humour surgically extracted and are unable to laugh at anything. According to my old friend Mr Google Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. That activates and relieves your stress response. So there you have it – the importance of laughter. It turns out it actually is the best medicine.
Absolutely brilliant blog, Stella…am still laughing. Liv Thomas
Thank you so much – nothing beats either having a laugh or making people laugh!
Humour is often based in mockery of some sort, so that would absolutely be against current cultural norms (save us from this!), and the sensitivity police would not be amused 🙂
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