Lately we’ve seen a lot in the news about the ever-shrinking power and numbers of the demographic group snidely referred to as “aging white men,” and I just gotta tell you, it gives me a huge case of the Smug Gigglies.
Even though, at age 60, I am now personally included in that derogatory reference — the aging white women are apparently every bit as worthy of contempt as their male counterparts — I do not feel slighted or insulted one bit. To the contrary, I am positively eaten up with self-satisfied chuckling, which, I admit, on occasion has escalated to a nearly hysterical, definitely-maniacal cackle. There have been a few guffaws as well, truth be told.
Why, you may well ask, do I find this label funny? Why does it fail to offend my sensibilities, hurt my feelings or rile me up? Because I am of the “Never Trust Anybody Over 30” Generation, and I can still vividly recall the lofty perch from which we condescended to all our elders on any and all subjects — oh, that (baseless) feeling of Superior Wisdom and Endless, Untouchable Youth.
We didn’t think to add a racial component to our derision — we were equally contemptuous of any and every body over 30, without regard to race, creed, color, gender or sexual orientation. In that regard, I must say, I think our Superiority Complex was a “better” version than the one currently in vogue. Seems unnecessarily racist and sexist to single out the old white men — much better to err on the side of inclusion and just think yourself better and smarter than EVERYBODY over a certain age.
The reason I find it soooo unbearably funny when I read the snarky comments about “old people” is that the feeling of superiority is not the only one that I recall with absolute clarity. Perhaps the even more painfully-powerful memory comes from recalling when I myownself reached that contemptible birthday — and the warp speed at which I seemed to move from my 18th birthday to that 30th one. With no small degree of chagrin, I could not fail to notice how, after a dozen or so years of feeling like I had not only ALL the TIME in the world but all the ANSWERS to everything, all of a sudden, I felt like the biggest Igmo of all time.
Time only sped up from there and then, lo and behold, I became somebody’s MOTHER and ALL of my pat answers to everything just evaporated. I gotta tell you, each successive decade after that 30th milestone has only rendered me more certain that I don’t really KNOW anything! I am sure of my Salvation, but beyond that everything is a crapshoot as far as I can tell.
And that’s OK with me — I rest easy at night, knowing that there are millions of youngsters out there who’ve got it all figured out.
And again I say: BWAHAHAHAHA!
Jill Conner Browne is a multiple #1 New York Times® Best Seller.
Her latest book FAT IS THE NEW 30: The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Coping With (the crappy parts of) Life was recently published by Amazon. She is featured regularly in national and international magazines and television shows. You can learn more about “Her Royal Highness” at sweetpotatoqueens.com.
This article appears in the February 2013 issue of AY Magazine
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