Department Of Veracity For Sale
Sub-department Of The Suspect Authenticity of User Reviews
This was underneath a peel-off sticker on a product I recently purchased from Amazon:
Yeah. It’s not so much that they are trying to bribe me, but do they really think my integrity can be bought so cheaply. Considering what the product cost, a 50% refund means they think moiself – any of their buyers – can be had for $6.99? 
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Department Of I Was Not Made For This World
As I was writing this post, I received an email notification from my blog host platform:
” firstname.lastname@example.org just started following you at https://theblogimnotwriting.com.
They will receive an email every time you publish a post. Congratulations. “
Moiself has received these notifications one to five times per week, ever since the “birth” (or onset…although that sounds like symptoms of a disease) of my blog, some nine years ago. So, to get the approximate number of followers of this blog…do the math, if you’re interested. I, however, am not, so I won’t.
“In social media, a follow represents a user who chooses to see all of another user’s posts in their content feed. Getting users to follow their accounts is a primary objective for online businesses with a social media presence.”
( “What is ‘following’ and what does it mean on social media?” bigcommerce.com )
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,  I had a conversation with a friend (who also wrote a blog), which went something like this:
A Blogging Friend ® :  “How many people follow your blog?”
ABF ® :
“Follow your blog – readers who subscribe to get an alert so that they can read it on a regular basis.”
“Yes, I know what it means. I was “Huh”-ing you because I don’t know how many people follow my blog.”
ABF ® :
“Well, you know you can find out by checking your blog post, the administrative page, under stats, and….”
“Yep, I know about that option. I just don’t care about the numbers;
so, what would be the point in knowing?
That’s not why I write it.”
ABF ® :
“But aren’t you curious?”
“About many things, but this? Nope. Although, *you* obviously are.”
ABF ® :
“No, really – don’t you want to know?”
“If I did, I would.
Okay: I assume my blog has fewer followers than someone who posts cat-fart videos on YouTube, and more than my dead grandmother
– oh yeah, who doesn’t even blog, so there’s that….
Besides, where I come from, knowing that people are ‘following’ me – that’s not a good thing.”
ABF ® :
” ?!?!?!?!? “
‘Tis a sad thing, to see an otherwise witty person not get the joke.
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Department Of Hahaha – That’s Not Funny
Content Warning: Yes.
Moiself showed this picture (from a social media post) to MH. We both found it mildly amusing, and also mildly annoying. The picture’s caption flaunts the inherent ageism that people posting pictures and memes are seemingly okey-dokey with. We bantered about the fact that most people seem to have no problem making fun of the cognitive deficits that a minority of people experience as they age, thus reinforcing that stereotype of the Doddering Elderly. Whereas, making fun of the cognitive deficits experienced by the majority people with certain, non-age-related, genetic conditions, life situations and/or circumstances is a big NO NO NO NO what’s wrong with you?
“What do you think would happen,” MH wondered aloud, “if, instead of making fun of ‘old people,’ the picture’s caption read, ‘Corn maze for retards’ “?
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* * *
Don’t listen to that doddering old goat – the following is, in fact, something quite similar.
Department Of If I Ran The World…
This Would Be The First “Ism” To Be Dealt With
Translation: dealt with = “cured.” I’m talking about  the ism of ageism.
Synonyms & Antonyms of old (Entry 1 of 2)
being of advanced years and especially past middle age
Synonyms for old
aged, aging (or ageing), ancient, elderly, geriatric, long-lived, older, over-the-hill, senescent, senior, unyoung
Words Related to old
centenarian, nonagenarian, octogenarian, septuagenarian, sexagenarian, oldish
adult, grown-up, mature, middle-aged, pensioned, retired, superannuated, matriarchal, patriarchal, venerable, anile, decrepit, doddering, senile, spavined, tottery,  overage (also overaged)
Phrases Synonymous with old
long in the tooth, of a certain age
dating or surviving from the distant past
Synonyms for old
age-old, aged, ancient, antediluvian, antique, dateless, hoar, hoary, immemorial, venerable
( Merriam-Webster thesaurus, entries for “old” )
Dateline: Several months back; a gorgeous spring afternoon; sitting with friend CC on her back porch overlooking her and her hubby’s pastureland. We are having one of our regular, COVID-distance-safe, takeout-Thai-lunch-and-chat sessions. As we look out at the farmlands behind CC’s pasture  we chew the proverbial fat  about everything from family stories to political opinions. As per the latter, we basically (and succinctly!) solve the problems of the world, as long-term friends are wont to do.
CC and moiself spoke of our mutual pleasure at our reactions to the new Presidential administration – of how refreshing it is to (once again) have a national leadership team which is too busy trying to do good to have the time (or inclination) to snipe at critics on social media.
We were pleased and surprised by what a fine job Joe Biden is doing, and surprised to realize the source of our surprise, which came from the fact that each of us had not wanted him, at first, to be the Democratic nominee. It’s not that we thought Biden was unqualified or didn’t have good ideas – far from it! It’s that we wanted him and the other members of his age group to hand things to the younger folks. His generation had done their share; it’s time to move on.
It was, simply and ultimately, about his age. It was ageism.
And there we were, both pleased and embarrassed to see what he is doing. He’s diving right in, being quiet and mostly not having press conferences because there are so damn many problems to fix and he’s in there doing it, working the system with the knowledge he’s acquired after years in Washington, with a sure and steady hand…. Being pleased about that is obvious; the embarrassment came from the fact that his commitment and passion for this job – fixing the country – might have been denied the country, if ageist biases, like the ones we both held, had prevailed.
And that led to our conversational “tour on ageism.” We spoke of our own issues and challenges with the physical aspects growing older (while acknowledging that the things we complain about are actually privileges denied to many  ). We’ve both become beyond frustrated with the way aging is portrayed in – well, in *everything,* from literature and film and media to medicine to product marketing. This has always been especially true for women; however, men are starting to get more of it, too, when it comes to the detestable, “anti-aging” label which is attached (as if it “stopping aging” should be a desirable, attainable goal) to every sort of thing which can be merchandised, from clothing to vitamins to exercise equipment and regimens to, of course, cosmetic products and surgical procedures.
The only sure-fire, anti-aging product is death. Wrinkle cream, shrinkle cream – die now, at age 59, and you’ll never look like you’re 60!
No matter what your age, you are older today than you’ve ever been,
and are younger today than you will be tomorrow.
“It’s not that aging is wrong, it’s just that people will judge you and treat you differently if you look old,” is the advice I have actually heard (translation: ” ‘Other people,’ but, uh, not me…the one who is telling you that your gray hair and wrinkles need erasing”). And, gawddammit, that is (at least partly) true…but it’s not going to change if these Judging People don’t have positive models of those who gracefully accept getting older sans product intervention.
The stop-aging/anti-aging product world has learned from criticism: recently, most of its advertising (that moiself has seen) takes the proactive approach, emphasizing the “be the best that you can be/look the best you can, at any age!” messaging. That’s a tiny step up from “Your naturally graying hair makes you look like a hag;” however, it still conveys the undercurrent message, which is that “looking your age,” which is whatever you look like at whatever age you are, is not a good thing. Those wrinkles that you earned, the gray hair, all of the physical changes which are the natural, inevitable result of being alive – get rid of ’em! You don’t want to look “old,” because in our culture equals incompetent, senile – and, and creepiest of all, in a way – ugly. Old equals ugly.
I’ve seen many movies (back in the movie theater, yay! ) this summer, and also, during the previews, several trailers for a M. Night Shayamalan movie, which I’ve decided to put on my fuck no no thanks list. The movie is being marketed in the horror genre. Just the title alone is insulting – I mean of course, so descriptive. As in, what could be more horrifying than…becoming this:
A Curiosity Daily podcast I’d recently listened to presented studies showing that younger people who saw themselves as advocates for equality are most likely to hold discriminatory views re older adults. Yep, it turns out that those often involved in fighting, say, racism and sexism (and such people are in their twenties, thirties and even forties) are likely to discriminate against older folk because they view the oldsters through the lens of their own ageism – they think that people older than themselves are more likely to be racist and sexist.
“Social justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, have done huge amounts to address racism and sexism in our society…. However — and this is a big however — people who are keenest to advocate for women and racial minorities harbour more prejudice against a group that reports almost as much US workplace discrimination as these two: older people….
Ageism is so condoned in American culture that many do not see it as an ‘-ism’, in the same manner of other forms of prejudice…
…people who scored higher on (egalitarian advocacy study tests) scale were more disapproving of racism and sexism but also more likely to endorse ‘Succession-based ageism’ — the idea that older people should step aside to improve younger people’s job opportunities…
… researchers found that the more that (study participants) endorsed egalitarian advocacy, the more money they wanted to go to women and racial minorities — and the less they wanted to go to older people. Questionnaire results showed that this was driven by a belief that older people block women and racial minorities from getting ahead….this research suggests that when it comes to egalitarianism, equality for all may only mean equality for some….”
( “Advocates Of Equality For All Are More Like To Show Prejudice Against Older Adults At Work,” The British Psychological Research Society Digest, 3-4-21 )
Oy, the futility of it all. Ageism, in moiself’s opinion, is the stupidest of the isms. It should be the one discrimination which is in everyone’s self-interest to combat. So, why don’t we? It seems that everything else which divides us – country of origin, religious and worldviews, political affiliations, culture, gender, sexual orientation – cannot be fully reconciled, and I have heard people (well-meaning, sincere, actively-working-for-the good-for-all people ) despair that, ultimately, there is no commonality. But, there IS.
White and black; female and male; hateful redneck third generation Texan and hopeful Latino immigrant; blustery climate change denier and introverted renewable energy supporter; nattering homophobe and flaming drag queen – we all have one commonality: We will all be Old People ® someday.
Only death will relieve or prevent you from joining The Senior Set ®, that denigrated demographic. Thus, it is in everyone’s best interest to work to eliminate the stereotypes of old age. One of the most effective ways to do that is to make sure that vibrant aging minds and bodies still have vibrant and ample opportunities to contribute to society.
If, as a young person, you do not see people decades older than you being ( or, being *allowed to be* ) active and engaged members of any and all professions; if all you see of “the elderly” is images of people being warehoused (whether in their own homes or in golf course-infested retirement communities); if you can’t joke about someone’s gender or ethnicity but sharing a meme about feeble-minded old dudes who can’t navigate a corn maze always gets a laugh – well then, of course, what will you think?
One of my solutions: Unless it can be scientifically demonstrated that no one over age 65 can continue to be, for example, an airline pilot, get rid of age-related mandatory requirement. *Do* require training and testing, not forced departure, for certain jobs at a certain ages. It’s no secret that certain physical capabilities and mental facilities can decline in some (but not all) older people. And there are ways to test for these deficits, ways that, unlike mandatory retirement regulations, do not discriminate. A lot of the removal of people from physically and mentally taxing jobs is voluntary; for where it’s not, yearly/periodic training or retesting could help weed out those who are no longer performing at the proper capacity for their particular profession.
Consider The Notorious RBG, who even months before her death from pancreatic cancer – hell, who, even from the grave – could run intellectual circles around SCOTUS colleagues decades younger than herself. ( Yeah, I’m talkin’ *you,* Brett “I like Beer” Kavanaugh and Amy Originalist Conehead Coney Barrett.) .
Two of my cousins (both now deceased) were firefighters in LA County. Years ago, when there’d been some public consternation about firefighter recruiting and testing requirements, firefighter/EMT cousin TTB told me the following story: TTB’s captain had surprised his crew one afternoon by ordering the crew – all of whom were at least fifteen-year veteran firefighters – to take the physical abilities testing given to recruits. The crew, like all firefighters, participated in regular training drills, but the captain without warning made them do the grueling physical test give to wannabe firefighters. Almost all of the veterans failed.  Yet, they were good at their jobs. Should they have been fired/dismissed on the spot? Just the previous day, the crew had responded to a fire and a medical emergency, and had done everything that needed to be done, in each case. Apparently, their lack of peak/youthful brute strength was more than compensated for by their years of experience.
Also, the strapping young man who easily passed the physical challenges tests at age 21 might not be able to do so again, even at the relatively young age of 32 (like my cousin; see footnote). But if the skills testing is not done across the board (i.e., is only given to people above a certain age), by virtue of his youth, he may be allowed to continue on the job for which, according to that test, he is no longer qualified…or, it just might be that his experience will outweigh the somewhat random application of a physical skills test.
* * *
Punz For The Day
Reverse Ageism Edition
Why do Generation Z-ers always type in lowercase?
Because they reject capitalism.
Why are today’s youth are so odd?
Because they can’t even.
Why does Santa Claus outright refuse to employ any Gen Y’ers to work as elves?
There are already too many snowflakes at the North Pole.
What do you call a bird that likes avocado toast?
The Millennial Falcon.
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May you have fun getting lost in a corn maze, no matter your age;
May all of your product reviews be kickback-free;
May you, if you so desire, have people “following” (and not stalking) you;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Now, triple that and then we’re talkin.’
 Or maybe…like…six years?
 The friend was over a decade younger than moiself …which might be considered significant, given the topics which follow.
 Okay; actually, I’m writing it. Picky, picky.
 Okay; these words are pejorative, but I really do like the sound of, “tottery.”
 Our conversation is punctuated by a neighbor farm’s loquacious bovine, whom I have nicknamed B4: Bill the Boisterous Bellowing Bull.
 Monosaturated, of course.
 We both have friends and family who have died “young”…how we wish they could have lived to complain their aching joints and wrinkled skin….
 Including my cousin, who had a pot belly the most calorie-seeking, nearing-hibernation-bear would have admired.