Berger’s Burg: Don’t expect us over-50s to just go away

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The line was long. I was waiting for a movie-invitation hand-out at the subway station. I grabbed one and it read: “This invitation will admit you and one guest to attend a free screening of ‘Chocolat,’ a current Miramax film. There will be no admission charge. You and the guest must be 17 to 54 years of age and must not be associated with the entertainment industry or the media.”

Well, there it was in black and white — 54 and out. The over-age crowd was again being given the short shrift. There were many outraged seniors who did not take this affront lightly.

I found out later that a representative of Miramax explained that it was standard practice to target audiences to improve word of mouth among moviegoers of choice. Humphh! Do they think that a 17- year-old is more likely to see and enjoy this acclaimed film than me? Very unlikely, since Gloria and I are movie buffs and avid moviegoers.

I guess the youth culture reigns over everyone, even though more than 16 percent of the total population is 50 and older. Well, I won’t see this film, but for all my 54-plus readers, I suggest you make up your own minds. However, remember that seeing that piece of “Chocolat” may not be very beneficial to your sense of esteem.

It was Grandfather’s birthday. He was 82. He got up early, shaved, combed his hair, and put on his best clothes so he would look nice when they came. He skipped his daily walk to the town cafe where he had coffee with his cronies. He wanted to be home when they came.

He put his porch chair on the sidewalk so he could get a better view of the street when they drove up to help celebrate his birthday. At noon, he got tired but decided to forego his nap so he could be there when they came. Most of the rest of the afternoon he spent near the telephone so he could answer it when they called.

He had five married children, 13 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. One son and a daughter lived within 10 miles of his home. They hadn’t visited him for a long time. But today was his birthday and they were sure to come.

At suppertime, he left the cake untouched so they could cut it and have dessert with him. After supper, he sat on the porch waiting.

At 8:30 p.m., he went to his room to prepare for bed. Before retiring, he left a note on the door: “Be sure to wake me when they come.”

It was Grandfather’s birthday. He was 82.

Jerry, a 60-year old man went to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor told him, “You’re in terrific shape. There is nothing wrong with you. Why, you might live forever. You have the body of a 35-year old. By the way, how old was your father when he died?”

The 60-year old responded, “Did I say he was dead?” The doctor was surprised and asked, “How old is he and is he very active?” The 60-year old responded. “Well, he is 82 years old and he still goes skiing three times a season and surfing three times a week during the summer.”

The doctor couldn’t believe it. “Well, how old was your grandfather when he died?” he asked.

The 60-year old responded again. “Did I say he was dead?” The doctor was astonished. “You mean to tell me you are 60 years old and both your father and your grandfather are alive? Is your grandfather very active?”

The 60-year old said, “He goes skiing at least once a season and surfing once a week during the summer. Not only that, my grandfather is 106 years old and next week he is getting married again.” The doctor gasped, “At 106 years, why on earth would your grandfather want to get married?”

“Did I say he wanted to?”

The little old man asked the boss for Monday off to celebrate his golden anniversary at the company. The boss growled, “My God, will I have to put up with this chutzpah every 50 years?”

Readers, I imagine you have guessed by now that it is the time of year when I remember that I am approaching middle age. This strange phenomenon envelops me annually. It happens when I know I can do as much as ever, but would rather not. It happens when I look forward to dull evenings. It happens when I give good advice to everyone since I no longer can set bad examples, and, most distressing of all, it happens when I no longer buy green bananas.

Today I feel great. That middle-age feeling has completely disappeared and is not scheduled to return until February 2002.

I will relax now and take Gloria to an Early Bird dinner.

Reach Times-Ledger columnist Alex Berger at 718-229-0300, Ext. 139, or

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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