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SPANK
ME!
by Frank Kaiser

I just learned that the current, most fashionable word meaning good is spank. It's spank this in Entertainment Weekly, spank that in Rolling Stone. Apparently, I wasn't paying attention. Last I heard, spank was a verb, not an adjective.

Why spank? Why not? Is that word any stranger than some of the slang we used when we were young, hip, cool, hep cats and groovy?

Words define us. Especially our age and background. Sadly, many words and phrases that we grew up with are today as dated as buggy whips. Still, occasionally one blows by our ears like the name of our first lover, sweet and warm.

Those of us born in the '30s and '40s believed that when the world was again at peace, we'd live the American Dream. After all, this was a place where even the least of us could click, connect, hit pay dirt, win out, and get it on. We'd be in the bucks, in the chips, flush, loaded, uptown and upscale. I'd have the life of Riley. You'd live high on the hog.

Ah, those were the days.

We knew success would take lots of hustle, scratch, grunt work, bustin' a gut, moonlight, and going back to the salt mines. That was swell with us.

Then we got hitched. Our old lady, old man, buffalo, fishwife, hubby, better half, ball and chain, or soul mate either worked out or they didn't. (Some of us tried this a number of times!)

We got us a bunch of half-pints or small fry, and moved into our dream pad where we sang and lived "Tea for Two."

The Dream promised that our kids would all grow up to be firecrackers, smokin', and large. We'd live with our ball and chain on cloud nine, and, like Little Mary Sunshine, be just what the doctor ordered.

Suddenly Trivia: Who said: "Every man over forty is a scoundrel?" a) Shakespeare b) George Bernard Shaw c) Andy Rooney

But life intervened.

Actually, we all did pretty well handling what the world had in store for us. It wasn't always easy, or pretty, but we've lived long enough to learn to make a go of it, to get a handle on it, even go with the flow no matter what that flow was. We did the groove thing and shined on.

We accepted the bummers and the flashes, the phonies and the genuine articles. And we learned to know the difference. At least most of the time.

The road to all this knowledge was pitted with landmines, stumbling blocks, monkey wrenches, gridlock and booby traps. But also along the way there were amigos and main squeezes. A few managed to hang in there and go the route with us. Didn't George, Ringo, John and Paul tell us, "I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends?"

The rugrats, despite themselves, became their own persons, and for better or worse, began another generation of us. Today, they look for The Dream too.

Now that we have put on a lot of mileage, are older than dirt, passe', and definitely long of tooth. Now that we're geezers, fossils, fogies and dedicated old farts, old bags, and crones, it's probably advisable to continue walking the walk. To percolate, break out, call the play, and continue to do the best we can with all these bits of jargon and wisdom we've acquired.

Older, of course. Wiser, hopefully.

Love yourself, if for no other reason except the fact that we're bodacious babes. And hip dudes. Or is it hep?

© 2000—Frank Kaiser

Suddenly Trivia Answer: b) George Bernard Shaw from "Stray Sayings" (1856-1950)

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