Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh My God, I Am Old.

Even though I retired about 4 years ago I never really considered myself a senior citizen or old. I just considered myself retired at a young age.  I still referred to retirees older than myself as "old farts", especially when they got in my way in traffic. I can still remember my mother yelling at my father for calling a fellow motorist an old fart, even though my father was probably older than the victim of the verbal abuse. I have been living here in Penang, Malaysia since I retired and somehow I think I have gotten older.

I go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, but somehow I can't do what I did before I retired. My body has forgotten how to bound up the steps or climb over a traffic barrier. My mind can still do it, but not the body. My bladder seems a hell of a lot smaller than it used to. Sometimes I find myself forgetting my cell phone, my watch, wallet or keys, but I think I have always done that. If you ask me what I had for dinner yesterday, it might take me a while to remember. Either I am starting to forget more, or my life just isn't that interesting.

I am finding that I don't need as much sleep as I used to, which really doesn't bother me, even though I have to get up to pee a number of times during the night. What is really strange though is when I dream, I am in my thirties probably, no gray hair, very physically fit and at the perfect weight. But when I wake up and look into the mirror I find that I have turned into an old fart. Strange.

Here in Malaysia the retirement age is 55 and anyone over that age is considered really old. When you read in the newspaper about someone in their late fifties or sixties, they are referred to as elderly. I remember once when a reporter interviewed me about a missing manhole cover in my neighborhood, I gave her my name and told her not to call me "an elderly foreigner". She didn't. One thing that annoys me here about being an older person is that they are called "auntie" and "uncle" by people even a few years younger. Excuse me, but when someone calls me uncle I can only think of a senile, perverted old man, who likes little kids to call him uncle and sit on his lap.

I can remember how when political correctness came into vogue and the names of many things changed. I guess I was still in high school or college when "retirement communities" or "senior citizen housing" or "assisted living homes" became popular. One of the older terms I was used to was "nursing homes", which is still being used today.  I was shocked when I first moved to Penang and I drove past a facility with a big sign that read " Penang Old Folks Home". Now that's way beyond politically incorrect. Scary is more like it. Am I doomed to be put into an old folks home?

Well Penang may be a little behind the times in the appellation of residences for seniors, but at least there are many restaurants that offer senior citizen discounts for those over 55 or 60.  I still have my own teeth and I still can eat. Luckily my middle finger still works and I can still remember my  collection of 4 letter words, which comes in handy when trying to cross the road and nobody even slows down, or when getting on an elevator and I am almost trampled by young people exiting. As long as my teeth, my mouth, my middle finger and my mind still works, I guess I will have to accept the fact that some body parts are wearing down and I might be becoming an old fart.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Are Those Walmart Shoppers in the Internet Pictures and Videos for Real?

I am sure that almost everyone who has an email account and friends has received an email with an attachment that includes numerous photos of strange or weird looking people, who are supposedly shopping at Walmart. The people in these pictures have to be the oddest people around. Mostly they are extremely overweight or obese, yet dress as though they are petite young teenage girls. They oddly enough think that they are gorgeous. Many of these people come out in public, minus their teeth and wearing outfits, most of us would not be caught dead in. Obviously none of these people have purchased a mirror on  their previous trips to Walmart.

My nephew Jon loves these photos and is the main source of the photos I receive. Sometimes I think he secretly wishes he could dress like that and join these people shopping. Who knows maybe he does. My question is where the hell do these people come from? Why do you only see these people at Walmart, not in K-Mart, Sears or Target?  I remember the first time I ever went into Walmart, a number of years ago, when I was living in Boston. I had to drive a few miles south of Boston on Route 1 to Walpole, MA. Walpole is a quiet, upper middle class town with a population of about 24,000 people, living in mainly single family homes. When I entered the parking lot of Walmart I noticed a variety of automobiles, including Mercedes, BMW's, Hummers, Lexus, numerous rather expensive SUVs and pickup trucks and some older cars. Frankly I thought the stereotype of the Walmart shopper was overly exaggerated. Upon entering the store I was proven wrong. My first thought was that these people just crawled out from under a rock. I saw many far from good looking older women wearing fake leopard skin outfits with gaudy sequined jackets and garish outlandish eye glasses. I was more amazed at the bizarre appearing people than the great bargains in the store.

I often wondered where these people came from. I didn't think they lived in Walpole, as I had never seen them in any of the surrounding stores. Where were the drivers of the expensive luxury vehicles? Where do these people go when they are not shopping at Walmart? I had a theory. I have a friend who worked with me who constantly berated Walmart and the people who shopped there. Now everyone knows you can't beat the prices at Walmart, especially on electronics, cleaning supplies and things you use every day. For those people, like my friend, who wouldn't be caught dead in Walmart, I think they disguise themselves to shop there and not be seen by people they may know. This would explain why one never sees these shoppers anywhere else, but Walmart.

I still love looking at the pictures my nephew and others send me and when I go back to the US I still love to go to Walmart, for the scenary and the bargains. The bottom line is Walmart has a great variety of products at an affordable price. As far as the Walmart shoppers go, I can only say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".


Thanks to You Tube for this video.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adam and Eve: The First Dysfunctional Family?

I grew up Catholic and attended Catholic school through high school. So naturally I had to attend religion classes where the Bible was the central textbook authority. I can remember being taught about the Creation and the story of Adam and Eve, just like every other Christian, Muslim or Jew has been taught. We were taught that God created Adam from the dust of the earth and then created Eve from a rib taken from Adam. The Bible also teaches us that Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. That was it. No questions asked, just believe it.

Now that I am older and have completed my formal education and am still being educated in life, I have developed lots of questions. I actually think about these questions quite frequently. In biology I learned that in order for the population to increase and be healthy, men and women must reproduce, as in the union of egg and sperm. I also learned that in order for humankind to flourish there must be diversity in the gene pool. This means that the offspring of closely related parents can and will be genetically defective.

I have also learned through history and civics classes that it is illegal to marry first cousins or siblings, even though this may be common in some parts of Appalachia or some third world countries. Marrying close family members is called incest and is considered immoral by all religions and societies, regardless of whether or not it is part of a country's laws.

This is where problems with the story of all humankind descending from Adam and Eve arise.  Okay according to the bible Adam and Eve had two sons. So who did they have their children with? Eve? Some religious scholars say that the Adam and Eve had as many as many as 56 children (poor Eve). So did the rest of humanity come to be as a result of all 56 of these children fornicating with each other?  Many hard core fundamentalists argue that somewhere in the Bible it mentions that Cain had a wife and could not have had an incestuous relationship with his mother, but where did he find his wife? Did he share her with Abel, his brother? And did they have children? Strict fundamentalists, wearing blinders, insist that the Bible is correct in saying Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were the first family, and refuse to entertain any other ideas to the contrary.

The stories of Creation and Adam and Eve are very confusing, unless you accept them blindly like many people do. I accepted the stories of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus until I became old enough to question them and see the faults in these myths. I think that instead of believing that
Adam and Eve were incestuous and the Bible was promoting such a relationship, I will believe that the story is just another myth, which was used by the authors of the Bible to teach an illiterate and uneducated populace lessons of religion.

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