Monday, March 15, 1999

The Four Freedoms of the US of Geezerdom



I’m emigrating to the United States of Geezerdom without immigrating from the United States of Boomerdom. I’ll always be a Boomer, but now that the dew is off the rose, I’m applying for dual citizenship as a Geezer as well. I already look so bad that ticket takers have carded me……in reverse. That is, they’ve asked me if I qualify for the senior citizen discount. No, I say, but I’m getting there.

The First Freedom offered by the United States of Geezerdom, a shadow nation which occupies the same space, more less, as the United States, but which occupies a very different psychic reality, is Freedom from Want. True Geezers no longer want. They no longer Wannabe. They’ve given up hope that they’ll ever become anything better than they already are. In fact, they’re sure they’re doomed to getting worse each day. They know their memories are getting worse, their looks are getting worse, they’re growing weaker, their tripes are rotting, their teeth are yellowing, their hair is falling out and that which remains is turning bristly, their skin is drying and wrinkling and their eyes are glazing, hazing, and bagging. You might think Geezers would at least hope that their descent into physical hell would be a slow one. You would be wrong. True Geezers hope for nothing. Which leads us to the Second Freedom.

Freedom From Hope. True Geezers no longer hope for deliverance of any kind, including a woman. And if they’re already stuck with a mate, they no longer hope that mate will some day take human form and grow a heart. True Geezers no longer even hope to afford cable TV. They’ve resigned themselves to sitting in their Barca-loungers in front of their black and whites, watching the same asinine major networks that lulled them through what should have been the best years of their lives. They’re gonna go down with the video ship that brought them to this sorry pass. The only technological innovation Geezers permit themselves is a clicker, so they don't to rouse themselves from their stupors in order to get up and change channels. But Geezers will not go out and buy a color TV with remote. If they can’t scrounge one out of somebody else’s garbage or inherit one, they’ll stick with black and white. And if they’re too weak and tired to climb out of their loungers and switch channels, why, that’s OK too. They’ll just sit in front of the same damn channel, hour after hour, day after day. Don’t make no never mind to them if it’s a talk show, confirming their worst prejudices against the human race with an endless parade of physical and psychological wreckage, or a test pattern. True Geezers will NOT climb out of their Barcas, not even to pee and crap. If they have to, they’ll get themselves fitted with catheters and colostomy bags. And if they can’t get either one, why, they’ll just sit there in their own filth.

Freedom From Regret. False Geezers still gnaw on the bitter cud of remorse. True Geezers know they’ve botched their lives, admit it, and understand it’s too late to do anything about it.

Freedom From Rap. Geezers, black and white, refuse to say “Dah Bomb.” They’ve got no more hops. Or hips. The closest they’ll ever come to hiphop is an artificial hip replacement. If they were offered an artificial hiphop replacement, fully paid for by Medicare, their bodies would reject it. True Geezers of all colors and stripes don’t care to listen to rap and if they happen to hear it they don’t and won’t understand it. Geezers are angry, very angry. But the anger of rap is not their anger. Geezers are outlaws, and you might think they could identify with rap’s gangstah ethic. But they can’t and they won’t. Rapsters make a big show of not belonging to society. Geezers don’t have anything to prove. It’s perfectly clear they don’t belong to anybody and anything and that nobody wants them. There is a single word Geezers are willing to share with Rappers. Dis. But they don’t mean no disrespect when they use it. Geezers say dis because their teeth are falling out and they're trying to say “this” but it comes out sounding like “dis.”

Freedom From Pride. Rappers still cling to pride. They’re proud of their allegedly big dicks and their anger and their gangstah ways and their ability to rhyme and dance. They’re proud of their alleged prowess with women and their alleged courage in battle. Geezers know better than to take pride in themselves. They know they have much to be ashamed of, but they’re too tired to be ashamed, as well. Geezers may have once accomplished something*, they may have once wooed and wowed women, or been brave in battle, or even done something smart. But they know those times are past. The present is a holding action, a struggle to subsist. The future? Perhaps it will bring the mercy of Alzheimers, sparing the Geezers from realizing just how bad things have gotten.

OK, that’s Five Freedoms so far, not Four. You wanna make something of it? If so, go pick a fight with someone else. I’m angry enough to quarrel with you, but I’m not vital enough or strong enough or limber enough. Now that osteoporosis is turning my once-steely bones into honeycombs, they’re way too frail to risk in battle. Go pick on somebody your own age.

Up your nose with a rubber hose, here’s the Sixth Freedom: The Freedom to be a Crank. Because Geezers are so frighteningly alone, they no longer have to try to get along. Though they’ve given up, they’re still bitter….about everything. And they’re physically miserable. This accounts for their fantastically unpleasant demeanors. They lose their tempers continually, but are unable to vent their anger. So it just hovers there, rendering them rancid and dyspeptic. I don’t recommend looking directly into the face of a Geezer. You might just get turned to stone. And don’t be deceived by his laughter. If he is laughing, he is once again realizing that he is the butt of a cruel cosmic prank. His irony brings him neither dignity nor relief.

Number Seven, coming right up: Freedom From Being With It. Geezers are out of the loop. Their diction is a time capsule of earlier, benighted, eras. Their clothes come from department store giants----Sears, Penney’s, Montgomery Ward---which once strode the earth like marketing collossi but which now are fighting for their lives. Geezers cling to the mores, styles, gestures and values of now-discredited times. They are like suddenly-rediscovered creatures, marsupial dogs, for example, which were thought to be extinct. Their original ecological niches have been taken over by sleeker, more ferocious and efficient beasts. They cling to freakish margins of the environment. Their survival is an uneasy balancing act. Their appearance, their very existence, is vaguely disquieting to better-constituted beings. There are too many of them, they eat too much, they take resources away from young, healthy, upcoming animals, and they contribute nothing of value to the natural scheme of things. But fear not, more efficient predators, and their own frailties and unfitness for life, will eventually cull them out of the herd. The problem with Geezers is that no matter how frequently they die, and they do die like flies, there are always reinforcements marching into their ranks from what were formerly youthful and appealing generations.

Freedom to Amount to Nothing. The game is up for Geezers and they know it. They’re not taken in by that self-esteem bullshit. They don’t waste energy trying to boost their own or anyone else’s. Nor do they try to make anything of worth of their lives or their moments. They are beyond worth and worthlessness alike. Once they overvalued their existences. Then they devalued them. Now value is beside the point. It takes too much energy for them to worry if they are fulfilling their potential, or if they have any potential at all, though they’re pretty damn sure they don’t.

Freedom to Eat Sugar and Take a Good Dump. Geezers have a morbid fascination with sugar and eat as much of it as they can get their crabbed hands on. It rots their teeth and gives them adult diabetes, but that’s OK because what few teeth they have left in their heads are already yellow and black and they’re going to die soon anyway. Sugar is one of the two comforts left to Geezers. The other is a good solid dump. A Geezer knows for sure he’s a Geezer when he takes more pleasure and interest in crapping than he does in sex. Sadly, few Geezers have plumbing which is sufficiently intact to allow them to enjoy the working of their bowels.

*Some Geezers even have big dicks, but if they do, they’re probably fitted with catheters or at least impotent. If they are still potent, they’re just a bother, because no woman in her right mind would want to couple with a Geezer. And as for self-abuse, well, Geezers are too weary and dispirited to bring themselves to orgasm. They might get started with the task, but once they are embroiled in it, they begin to realize that all the images they once conjured up to stimulate themselves no longer seem to turn them on. They think about the once-beautiful women they yearned for, or possessed, and they realize those women are now menopausal, perhaps even hags. Then the Geezers subside back into their sloughs of despond, confident in the knowledge that their nagging erections will soon wilt and leave them alone. And that’s the Geezers with big dicks. Most Geezers, even the ones who once had big dicks, now have withered genitalia which dangle sheepishly and uselessly, like artifacts in a dusty museum case, like spoiled fruit, waiting to be pecked at by birds, or oncologists.


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