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In defense of old coots everywhere

DOES FLU VACCINE
CURE GRUMPINESS?

by Frank Kaiser

BLAME IT ON the flu vaccine shortage. We seniors are getting even nuttier than usual.

Here in Florida, cops quell senior-citizen riots when hundreds are turned away after supermarkets and drug stores run out of flu shots. Geezers waiting in line for the scarce shots under the hot sun fold and drop like lawn chairs. One woman down here collapsed and died, a rather high price to pay for a chancy shot providing possible immunity to a low-potential outbreak.

To many, the vaccine shortage is a crisis of life-and-death proportion. At our retirement community swimming pool, bobbing geezers talk of little else.

Even my friend JC Spitznagel has taken to lambaste. "Bush ought to be hanged for allowing this to happen," he shouts to no one in particular while adjusting his pink float noodle. "I tell you, Washington's trying to kill us all off to eliminate Social Security."

To my knowledge, JC has never in his life gotten a flu shot. He's always claimed that the shots make him sick. (Not surprising. Ever look at what's in that stuff?*) But, like many his age, tell him that he can't get something that he never wanted and he goes ballistic with desire.

What is it about men of a certain age? After noting the high irritability of Donald Rumsfeld and coach Bobby Knight, September's AARP Bulletin asks, "Why are these guys so grumpy?"

Well, according to the magazine, we're all going through male menopause.

You've heard the jokes about raging menopausal women? Turns out that men go equally bonkers. As our testosterone declines through aging, we become cranky, frustrated, and despondent. Not to mention squirrelier than ever.

Remember Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond asking Katharine Hepburn why Fonda's father — a miserable old coot played and lived by Henry Fonda — was such a grouch? Hepburn attributed it to the old man's anger at aging. Who knew the old coot was just a testosterone shot away from becoming a septuagenarian stud?

Personally, I think our grumpiness is due more to a current bumper crop of political ads than the lack of testosterone or flu shots.

Here in the swing state of Florida, we seniors are exposed to a Bush or Kerry commercial every 23 milliseconds. If any other country did this to its citizens, Amnesty International would run screaming to the United Nations to stop the torture.

One after another, day in and day out of "He's more of a weenie than our guy" takes its toll. And since most of these ads are aimed directly at us seniors, we face probable serious, life-threatening consequences.

At the least, I question how anyone can vote for either candidate after being exposed to what media experts estimate as 16 gazillion ads a day, each explaining in dark tones how his opponent is traitorous, deceitful, and just plain loopy.

This is without doubt the most significant election in our lifetime. But where is it written that both candidates must subject us to full frontal assault 24/7 for months on end? Every night I go to bed feeling like I've been mugged, then ridden hard and put away wet.

Little wonder we seniors these days are a bit snippy and perhaps more than a little cranky.

Once this election is over, you just watch. All us duffers will return to our old sweet selves, even those consummate grouches Donald Rumsfeld and Bobby Knight. And I'll thrown in Andy Rooney as well.

It's like my buddy JC says, "Deep down in every man — except maybe 'W' — is a loving heart and compassionate soul."

It's just that they're so much deeper in some than others.

Happy flu season!

* Here's what goes into your bloodstream when a typical flu vaccine is injected:

  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
  • Phenol, also known as carbolic acid (this is used as a disinfectant, dye)
  • Formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing agent
  • Aluminum, which is associated with Alzheimer's disease and seizures and also cancer producing in laboratory mice (it is used as an additive to promote antibody response)
  • Thimerosal (used as a mercury disinfectant/preservative) can result in brain injury and autoimmune disease
  • Neomycin and Streptomycin (used as antibiotics) have caused allergic reaction in some people.

    From "Why I Avoid Flu Shots" by Chet Day. http://chetday.com/noflushots.htm

© 2004 — Frank Kaiser

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