For months, I have been looking to write a new ‘mildly amusing’ (I hope) Vegas Di piece. However, my life hasn’t recently presented funny situations other than that recently two people, within two days, seriously reminded me, “You Are What You Eat”. I am a chocolate brownie.
But what has not been so amusing is the news about the Coronavirus. If I am over 65 years old (and I am), I am now considered “elderly” hundreds, maybe thousands of times a day. If I am even more elderly (over 70), the cruise lines are saying my cruise days are over. Elderly folks don’t seem good for much these days except for hunkering down in a La-Z-Boy watching the same house on TV being renovated (again), reading a book with big type, calling in to radio sports shows reminiscing about NBA seasons past or simply staying home by the phone and cheerfully telling children and grandchildren they haven’t gotten sick…yet.
Oh shit. I live in Las Vegas, and every night things happen or at least they used to happen. My life has involved lots of great inexpensive live entertainment. If I am encouraged to stay home and keep hearing that I am elderly, I think I will scream. You see, the “elderly” don’t think of themselves as elderly. Some days we’re teenagers; some days we’re in our early 40s.
Yes, we may have a few aches and pains, but consider data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When asked to rate their overall health, 82% of adults ages 65 to 74 described it as excellent (18%), very good (32%) or good (32%) — on the positive side of the ledger. By contrast, 18% of this age group had a negative perspective, describing their health as fair (14%) or poor (4%).
So here are 82 percent of the over 65 population living a good healthy life — golfing, working, traveling, hiking, gambling — and staying home is NOT what they had in mind for the years they have left.
Note: If elderly is age 65 or older, a candidate for President that is “just” 65 might be refreshing.
What about other words for “elderly”?. How about “venerable” or “mature”.
Or how likely is it that the healthy elderly person, the one in the 82% category, is likely to become ill and die from the virus? I haven’t seen that question asked or answered and it needs to be.
In the meantime, I did cancel a trip to a convention this past week. Why? In part, because large agricultural equipment is not a particular interest, but also because I didn’t want to scare younger folks attending the event. I suspect younger folks who have been listening to the cable channels would take one look at elderly me, assume I am some sort of carrier and either call Security or offer to pay for my UBER ride home. The convention, incidentally, closed a day early.
However, there is good news for me as a non-hugger of folks who aren’t family members or great-looking older men reminding me of my late husband. Strangers or folks I barely know aren’t likely these days to say hello with an unwanted hug or flimsy cheek kiss. That elbow and fist bump stuff are just fine with me.
On a serious note, I do have some friends with important medical issues, and I do worry that so many people will be using health services for the virus that the folks with real concerns may not get the treatment they deserve. Another worry? All the businesses and employees who will not be earning the incomes they expected.
And otherwise? I plan to continue my Las Vegas outings carefully, finances and venues willing. If, in the end, I am dealt the short straw virus-wise, well, at least I won’t die at an early age.
I also happen to have a freezer full of food and a pantry stocked with toilet paper, so I’m good. My investments have gone to hell, but then again, I didn’t do a lot to earn the steep increases in their value the last couple of years, so frankly I’m OK with a ‘correction’.
Before the investment losses began, incidentally, I opted to install solar panels. Just got my first full-month electric bill after the installation: $13.70. Whoopee!