CARMICHAEL: With age comes freedom of speech

Published 10:55 am Friday, July 10, 2020

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I am a realist — not a pessimist — a realist. I must make that distinction.

I don’t consciously look at the world in a negative fashion. I merely see it as it is, warts and all.

I negotiate the bumps in the road of life by expecting the worst and rejoicing when I’m wrong.

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This is the armor I wear to protect myself from heartbreak and disappointment, because there was a time when I was overwhelmingly broken.

I don’t know this to be a fact, but I’d be willing to bet that there have been times lately when the cruelty of the world in which we’re living has also saddened most of you.

You have no doubt seen many journalists promoting peace and love and asking everyone to be nice to each other.

As a realist, I know that’s not likely to happen in today’s political and social climate.

Surely, there must be room in the world for both the terminally happy and the perpetually realistic. I think the balance should lie between understanding what is making so many people angry, some sad and some turning a blind eye to it all.

For the most part, we all wish to be happy and live in a utopia where it’s all sunshine and lollipops, but there’s a little devil sitting on our shoulder who wants nothing more than to fling barbs at anyone who angers or hurts us.

I often compare my tongue to Swiss cheese because I bite it whenever I force myself not to say whatever thoughts are running through my mind. I do my best to fit into polite society.

Most people choose to ignore the darkness lurking within, but by the time we reach our senior years, we find ourselves celebrating our longevity by turning off the filter and letting ’er rip.

Jenny Joseph wrote a poem called, “Warning” in which she says, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me. I shall spend my pension on brand and summer gloves and satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.”

In my book, “Elderhaus,” I dedicated a chapter to the ladies of The Red Hat Society. 

The Red Hat Society is an organization whose members wear red hats and purple dresses and squeeze as much fun as possible into the latter part of their lives.

I’ve seen these joyous ladies on occasion. They’re usually having lunch in a public venue, laughing, reveling in each other’s company and having the most outrageous time. Were I not a confirmed introvert, I think I just might join this club. 

Most of the Baby Boomers I know have also harkened to Dylan Thomas’ cautionary message, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Thomas told us to “Rage, rage against the dying light,” which I took to mean that the sunset of life is rapidly setting, and we should make hay while the sun shines.

Unfortunately, at this time, those of us over 60 are in the high-risk group for contracting the coronavirus.

We’ve been cautioned to stay at home and social distance as much as possible. Therefore, I sit at my keyboard and spew whatever irreverent comments happen to be simmering in what’s left of my aging brain for all to read. 

When it is not imperative to be polite, I say whatever comes to mind.

I write the words you wished you could say. You’re welcome.

And thanks to each of you for continuing to read and (I hope) enjoy Geri-Antics: The Ramblings of a Crazy Old Broad.