Seniors are so preoccupied with the ongoing assault on their bodies that they have very little else to talk about. Young people do not experience this kind of physical warfare so, instead, they spend most of their time talking about the latest apps they got on their phones and tablets.
One thing the two generations have in common, however, is that they have learned to speak in code. Contemporary communication has become one big abbreviation, usually made up of the shortening of common phrases. Examples: OMG for oh my God, LOL for laughing out loud or lots of love. I am sure you are familiar with these and many more. (There is an extensive list of them at http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php). The main difference that sets senior code apart from any other is that it usually translates into various health issues and conditions. Here are some examples that are common and some that I have developed on my own:
PD – Package Disability
Many packages are difficult to open because product manufacturers have to make an honest effort to combat tampering and shoplifting. Unfortunately, this makes PD a growing problem for everyone, especially the elderly with arthritic fingers. Many people may die from this disability which makes it practically impossible for its victims to open everyday packaging. As a result, they could starve to death or, worse yet, not be able to get to their medicine. Releasing a pill from those little blister packs with the foil backing is always a challenge. I usually give up and reach for the scissors.
Speaking of scissors… I once bought a new pair of scissors so I would have something to open those plastic blister packs with. But the scissors came in a plastic blister pack. Chicken and egg….
Meanwhile, seniors eat a lot of cereal. The box is easy to open. The bag inside the box is not; likewise many other foods that come in sealed sacks. You think all you have to do is grab each side and pull open the seam. You think.
Teeth make a great package opener. I see many people using their teeth to start a little rip in a package or bite off the plastic seal wrapped around a lid or pry loose that little red string thingy that you pull on to tear a package open. If I ever lose my two front teeth I’m in trouble.
Band-aids are another contributing product to PD. Don’t tell me about separating the two paper flaps at one end of a band-aid and then pulling apart each side of the paper wrap. That does not work, or it takes at least 15 minutes to achieve. By then you’ve lost considerable blood. Of course, the finger that is bleeding all over the place is the same one you need to open the band-aid. Why don’t they used the large overlapping flaps that cover the band-aid itself on the outside wrapping, too? That would work.
Okay, enough about PD. I think someone should start a foundation to do research and find a cure…but maybe I’ve opened a package of worms.
SUP – Sudden Unexplained Pain
Have you ever been sitting or standing somewhere, really not doing much more than that and pretty much minding your own business, when you experience a sudden and excruciating pain. It could be in your leg, you ear, your 3rd rib on the right or in one of your pinky fingers—anywhere! It is the most incredibly sharp, piercing pain your have ever felt. It lasts only seconds—one, two or three at the most. You have absolutely no idea what it was or what caused it. All you know is that you thought, “This is it; this is the big death pain and I’m on my way out. Holy crap.” And, as fast as it came, it went away. There is no explanation. It never occurs again in the same place. You just know it is over and you are glad it is. You just had a “SUP!”
MAI – Mysteriously Appearing Injury
I am prone to MAI’s, always have been. The first tell-tale signs are the drops of blood that begin appearing around you. I could be anywhere, doing anything and, suddenly, there they are—little perfectly round droplets of red. I hold out my arms, examine my hands, look at my legs (I’m usually wearing shorts here is Florida). I know it won’t be a big surging gash. It’s always a little cut or a tiny pierce, nothing alarming, but certainly bloody. All I need, if I can open one, is a band-aid and I’ll be back in service. So where did this injury come from? Don’t know. It’s a mystery. I felt nothing. I had nothing sharp or pointed in my hands. I was not replacing the garbage disposal or putting away the dishes or anything like that. It’s simply….an MAI!
CRS – Can’t Remember Sh*t
They say memory is one of the first things to go as you age. Feet and back are not far behind. Speaking of “behind,” that gets to be an issue, too. Anyway, CRS is more inclined to affect short-term memory than long. Most seniors have no trouble recalling explicit details of their wardrobe when they were 16. They can spontaneously harmonize every lyric to a song by The Supremes or tell you the precise rules of some street game they played with other kids in neighborhood. Imagine that—kids went outside of the house and played simple games in the street. Meanwhile, ask a senior if they took their pills five minutes ago, or exactly where do they remember leaving their glasses or whether or why they put the tube of toothpaste in the refrigerator…well, those are questions they usually need to ponder for awhile. If you need further explanation, scroll down and read my blog posted January 3rd, titled, Writing From Memory…if you can remember!
So those are a few of the more common codes we seniors use, if we can remember them. Actually, I am pleased the older generation today is sophisticated enough to handle abbreviations. But the future of our languages rests with the young. If the new texting generation continues at its current clip, I suppose our language will continue to become considerably condensed.
Imagine, some day words may actually go away. There won’t be a need for a dictionary, just a code app. We’ll all simply be mumbling two or three-letter abbreviations to each other. That will lead to shorter conversations, faster comprehension and overall improvement in communications. And books! What about books? Will they disappear or just become a page or two of run-on code? You could sit down and read WAR AND PEACE in a minute or two. Wow! Just thinking about it leaves me at a LOW.
Marc Kuhn is the author of three books. Recently published is an adult historical novel, THE POPE’S STONE. The other two books are for children: NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE…And a bunch of other things you should never do!; and ABOUT A FARM, lessons for life regardless of where you live.
All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.