Welcome To Geezer City!

Welcome To Geezer City!
(Where Geezers Are State of the Art.)

There comes a time in every columnist’s life when you realize that you are indeed getting older, a time when you feel you must “vent” just like your father or grandfather did before you. If you are a “baby boomer”, like myself and my compatriots, then maybe you remember your grandfather harping about how “bread used to be five cents a loaf”, and how ‘we didn’t have any of that fancy …….” you fill in the rest. No doubt, you also had a father, or perhaps an uncle, who “walked sixteen miles to school in raging snowstorms”. Of course, you knew right away that dad, or uncle was full of horse manure, but you had to play along. Besides that, grandma told you the truth later, when dad or uncle were well out of audible range.

Well, I think my time has indeed come. The other day, someone circulated something by email, about how this year’s incoming freshmen were mostly born in 1985, and that none of them has ever had to deal with such things as school dress codes, or a parent saying something like “be quick, it’s long distance!” or the often used “do you think I’m made of money?” when you wanted some cool toy or something. (Today’s parents, as near as I can figure, don’t use that line. Instead, they max out their credit cards, and when they are maxed out, they simply apply for more. And they get them, no problem at all.) The email tidbit went on to mention how these freshmen had never been without cellular telephones, computers, or MTV. They cannot imagine a television program not being broadcast in color, or any household not having at least three televisions.

That bit about the phone got me to thinking some. I must ask myself, are you a geezer? I know that I am well on my way to geezer city, but what about you? Well, maybe you are, and maybe you are not. There’s only one-way to find out, isn’t there? With that in mind, I offer up Bruce Black’s totally uncertified Geezer Test! Below, you’ll find twelve hypothetical situations or questions from everyday life. One answer for each question indicates that you are a geezer, or at the very least, you are on the road to geezer city. The other two answers are answers, which would be chosen by “non-geezers”. Take the test, and good luck.

Question 1. What ominous words of warning were at one time, printed in bold typeface, on the bottom of every telephone, in everyone’s house, everywhere, without exception?

A. “A genuine Microsoft Product.”
B. “Radio Shack. Made in China”.
C. “Bell System Property. Not For Sale.”

Question 2. Who Sang “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things?”

A. Britney Spears.
B. 50 Cent.
C. The Cowsills.

Question 3. “For Good Nutrition, you should eat….” (From a black and white health film which was actually shown in grade schools across the country, circa 1963.)

A. Only low-fat, high Fiber foods from the base of the Food Pyramid.
B. Only organic vegetables from collective farms and food “Co-ops”.
C. “Three helpings of red meat every day”.

Question 4. You are on a family vacation in the family station wagon. Dad needs a road map. Where can he get one?

A. From a specialized “Map Boutique” at the nearest shopping mall, where his map will be “personalized” with a carrying case with his name on it, priced at $21.95 and up.
B. From amazon.com.
C. From a gas station, where maps are given away for free to customers, and anyone else who needs one. The smartly uniformed attendant is very courteous, and glad to help.

Question 5. You are in the grocery store with mom, and you start to misbehave. Mom’s response is to:

A. Kneel down, and tell you in a quiet voice that “when we go home, we’ll sit down and discuss you feelings, is that alright?”
B. Say “Now you know we don’t do those things. Remember what we discussed about your aggression. You need a time out”.
C. Grab you by the arm; right at the shoulder, and say in a loud, firm voice, “You are in trouble, mister”. Mom then proceeds to drag you out of the store, and lock you in the car. Mom does not get trouble with the police for doing this, and other shoppers admire mom for disciplining you. Your arm and shoulder hurt like hell.

Question 6. The words “Fallout Shelter” on a yellow and black sign on a building mean what?

A. That the building is a music store, and “Fallout Shelter” is the latest grunge band from Seattle.
B.”Fallout”” Shelter” is the latest group of protesters, sort of like the “Anarchy” group. They toss trashcans through the windows of Starbucks, they burn flags, and they fight with cops, to make a political statement.
C. The building contains a fallout shelter, designed to protect large numbers of people from radioactive fallout particles. They are to be used in the event of a nuclear strike by an enemy power.

Question 7. You have heard a cool sounding piece of music on the radio. You quickly write down the title, and decide you need to have it. The correct course of action would be to:

A. Log in to, or one of the totally illegal share sites, and download it to your PC. Hey, they’ll never catch you, and that makes it OK, right?
B. Buy it at the iTunes Music store for the very reasonable price of 99 cents. You are a Mac user, and you know that Steve Jobs is absolutely right when he says, “Don’t steal music.”
C. Head to the local record shop on Main street, where they owner knows most of his customers by first name, and buy the “45”. While there, you want to pick up some more “spiders” for your other 45s.

Question 8. The most popular house in the neighborhood, the house where all the kids want to hang out at is:

A. The one where Mom is divorced, and she encourages everyone to just walk around naked.
B. The one where the parents are never home on weekends, and dad doesn’t keep careful tabs on the booze.
C. The one where they have a (Gasp!) Color TV, and they let the kids watch “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In”.

Question 9. “Duck and Cover” means to do what?

A. Slip out the back of the illegal rave club when the cops show up.
B. Slip out the nearest exit when you see the police and school principal searching your locker for drugs, guns, knives, and pornography. You don’t what their problem is, because all the kids have these things.
C. To squat down and shield your face from flying debris and the “nuclear flash”, if and when we are attacked by an enemy power.

Question 10. You are a ten-year-old boy. Mom has just caught you with a copy of Playboy Magazine. You are about to.

A. Receive a long, stern lecture on women’s rights, and how you, as a male, cannot objectify women based on their gender.
B. Be sent to a mandatory class in “sensitivity training” for ten-year-old boys.
C. Get whacked repeatedly on the behind, screamed at, yelled at, and made to stand in a corner until your father gets home, at which time “you’ll really get it then mister!” (Dad’s reaction is not nearly as violent as mom’s though.)

Question 11. You need to buy some batteries. Batteries may be purchased:

A. Only in “blister packs” containing an odd-numbered quantity.
B. Only from the Home Depot, since all the other hardware shops in town are now closed for good.
C. At almost any store, from plastic chutes right near the register. You may buy any quantity you need. When you take a battery, the rest slide down the chute.

Question 12. You could be sent home from school for wearing what?

(Male answers.)
A. A baseball hat, worn backwards.
B. Gang clothes, or a t-shirt with the “F Word”, in huge letters, on it.
C. “Dungarees”. (Except for a “field trip”)

(Female Answers)
A. “Dungarees”. (Except for a “field trip”)
B. Slacks. (Except for a medical excuse.)
C. A skirt more than two inches above the knee.

Okay, so how’d you do? If you answered with more than six of the “C” answers, you are well on the road to geezer city. We’ll be expecting you. When you arrive, (any second now) pull up a chair. Have a nice bowl of fiber. Your reading glasses are ready. If you picked mostly “A” or “B” answers, congrats, you have a way to go yet. The only exception is question 12, where each answer is correct. That’s right kids, there was a time when wearing blue jeans to school was a big no-no. Not to worry, your time is coming. Assuming they’re still publishing “Trivial Pursuit” in twenty years, you can look forward to reading the names of Britney Spears and 50 cent on the backs of the cards.

Aside from all that, there’s no real way to score this test. Doesn’t matter though, we’re old geezers, so we don’t have to care.

Bruce Black.

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