Tuesday, July 08, 2003


Robert Kirby writes:

I have waited a long time to become a member of a legally protected group. My entire life I have been white, male and English-speaking middle class. In the eyes of the American political scene, I was the problem. All of that changed last month when I turned 50 and qualified for membership in the AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired People. I am now officially elderly, one of the most powerful disadvantaged groups in America. I don't feel old. I can still make it to the bathroom (generally) on time, I can dress myself and when people flip me off on the highway it's not because I was driving too slow. But now that I technically have the right to complain, I shall make the most of it. No longer am I a faceless persecutor. I am the most powerful force in America -- a victim.

Not all old people feel this way. My wife has been elderly longer than I have, yet seems to be ashamed of it. She wears makeup, does her hair and makes prolonged, complicated efforts to appear younger than she is. Not me. Being old is my ticket out of complete accountability for whatever opinion I choose to have. No more do I have to shut up for fear of being politically incorrect. Damn it, I am a victim. You can't get more politically correct than that.

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