Last Laughs

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So “Old age – what is that? And who thinks they’re old?” Some kids look at 20-year-olds and think they are over the hill. Others think when you turn forty it’s time to chuck it all in. Then, there are those who are young at heart, invigorated and refuse to let any age get them down.

So, what’s so terrible if you want to sit in your favorite easy chair and watch an old movie reread your favorite book or just stare off into space? How about waiters that annoy you throughout dinner to find out if you are enjoying your meal?

Last-Laughs-Everett-MattlinWhat about dealing with voicemails, service people and others that do not understand English and have lived here forever? Author Everett Mattlin brings to light these issues and many others that plague, haunt and annoy the not so elderly but those who have lived their lives reached 80 and want some recognition and respect. Like Rodney Dangerfield would say: I get no respect. But, by the end of this review, I know this author will definitely not only get respect but a great review.

Many people believe that the elderly are useless and done with their lives. NOT SO! But, as the author states when do they get to reap the rewards or benefits of living 8 decades, doing what he wants and not worrying about the requests and requirements of others. So, if he does not want to watch his grandkids- he shouldn’t. If he decides to hire a Gardner and not do the weeding himself because his knees hurt: Go right ahead. Some people deal with their limitations and age issues and others refuse to acknowledge them.

I really love when he writes in the essay Groucho Lives about sitting through a movie and wanting it to be over. Not wanting to read books than 275 pages. Imagine if all of the books I reviewed had only 275 pages how many more I could read in a day. But, my favorite is the clothing issue or the proper clothing to wear to the opera. My mom always told me to dress for the occasion and never ever go out looking anything but your best.

Weddings, the opera, restaurants, and even a simple date required being dressed with taste and class. I have to agree that going to the opera definitely requires more formal attire and those that come dressed for the beach or a card game seem to demean the grandeur of the occasion.

Coffee is definitely too much more, but how many of us can live without that first cup. Meals are more expensive and portion sizes at some restaurants miniature. My computer is my best friend but I use it for different reasons. But, the author makes some great points about aging, people and the younger generation who should definitely get up and give an older person their seat on the bus. I would and still do.

The reality is no one wants to admit that they are old or feel old. Being grumpy, grouchy and definitely allowed to speak their minds older people as we call them or the elderly need to be allowed to exercise their own way of dealing with life and not worry about what the rest of the world deems the norm. So, why is it when you go to the doctor or call a charge card on the phone to just pay your bill they need your date of birth. I never give it. Why is getting older or an elderly relative an embarrassment? I know younger people that take naps in the middle of the day, sit in front of the television set watching old movies or playing computer games. What is wrong with doing nothing because doing nothing to me is doing the something you want that will make you happy even if it is for a short time.

Complaints about dieting, overweight adults, going out to dinner and reading the dessert menu first and the rest last, life can be a real pain when you get older. But, despite his complaints, his sense of humor shines through and you have to laugh when he discusses exercising and those that try to lose weight, exercise and eat ice cream after they are done. Smaller portions, leaving food on your plate and many old adages never work. Dieting would mean he would have to be thin and give up the good stuff he loves to eat like French fries, cakes, pies and much more. Being grumpy goes along with getting older and hating diets and diet foods totally allowed. Doctor’s appointments, cell phones you forget to turn on and you get the message too late, all part of what he complains about. Everything the author relates we all think about within ourselves and few say out loud. He is just writing or saying what everyone is really thinking to themselves.

Talking about organic foods, losing weight and giving up sugar, cakes and other desserts plus beer and wine would make this poor man shrivel up into nothing. So, what can he do: Give up vegetables. It’s a thought but I’m not sure I could live without my steamed spinach but then again I am weight conscious.

My Aunt Tova wore hearing aids on selected days that she wanted to hear. The funny part is that when she played poker, bingo or gambled at Atlantic City she heard everything. Selective hearing and non-hearing is what we used to refer her way of communicating with others. When the author tells about the hearing aids, the huge price tag on them and the discomfort they provided for him it brought back memories of when my Aunt Tova needed hers replaced because they were not properly made or the batteries wore out after a week and the fact that she really didn’t want anyone to know she wore them. You are right Everett: How can you contradict everyone if you don’t know what he or she is saying? Wear the aides!

Dementia is what my mom had actually Alzheimer’s and I know that she had memory problems so don’t worry Everett you are fine. As far as separate rooms you might have a point there to keep your room your way and snore away!

Mirror, mirror in front of my face: WHO IS THAT? NOT ME! Don’t be so sure? Images change. Everyone’s does and consider it your own timeline from start we hope to a very long finish. Age is not something I care to deal with or discuss. Wrinkles, although I do not have any, consider them signs of distinction and a life well lived. The author also includes a discussion about the facts of life, teens and their viewpoints on sex, movies and music, tipping and how to avoid it and the ailments that befall the elderly. Doctor’s visits seem to be the norm for him and discussing back problems and more the topics of interest when getting together with friends. The many remedies that work, don’t work and the search for the best mattress are all included in this book that will definitely make you think, laugh, smile and wonder where all the time has gone.

From lack of energy to his wife going out with her friends, his ups, downs, and in-betweens this book has it all and more. Living up to the challenges of marriage, life, never faltering and more the author gives the reader reasons to stop and think: Is old age what it is cracked up to be or is there more to my young life that I can still salvage? Going to a bookstore rather than buying online, visiting the library and doing research with a real set of an encyclopedia is definitely the way to go. Bookstores are great and reading on the nook, kindles, and eBooks, not for me.

There are rules about how women should act, dress, night flashes, cold flashes and when we were just cooks, laundry ladies, shoppers, sewers and much more. Don’t you know that we have definitely been liberated from the kitchen, behind the stove and are part of the working force? Of course, just about everyone can identify with foot pain. Going to the mall is a haven for anyone. When stressed and upset shopping is definitely the best cure rather than a visit to any doctor. Shopping in high -end stores I rarely do but finding something I always will. I do agree with the author that buying it yourself makes you feel like you earned it but I do accept presents.

What lessons have we learned? He will never figure us out. HE might have learned from his mistakes. The true meaning of love, dealing with people in general and the rest you will have to read and learn for yourself. Finally, if he can teach me and everyone else how to avoid the stress that would be great and less money for those that are paid to analyze us. Stress is definitely a part of life at every age. Of course, there is so much more and reading page 174 and his analysis of how kids are raised, children live beyond their means definitely hit home. So, getting old. You can’t avoid it. Finally, his sentiments on death and his demise and where he hopes to wind up when the time comes. The final chapters deal with death, heaven, hell and his final thoughts on life. Let’s hope he lives many more years and is able to share more of his thoughts, ideas, humor and sage wisdom with us. For writing such a humorous and honest account of life and because I am sure your wife would agree with me.

1 Comment
  1. Jack Eason says

    There is only one answer to those who say “What use are the elderly?” Fran. Wait until you’re my age young feller, then ask the question once more. With age comes wisdom, gleaned from a lifetime of learning and doing. 😉

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