There are curmudgeons and then, there are curmudgeons.
Webster defines a curmudgeon as a crusty, ill-tempered old man. I know this even though I don’t yet qualify on age. Even so, at one time or another, I’ve been accused of being a “curmudgeon-in-training.”
Then again, with baby boomers increasing in number, supposedly 330 every hour, I say, “take a number” on the golden road past our middle-earlies. Some of us will be taking the curmudgeon frontage highway. Live long enough and it blurs into a universal transition to dotage. <http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/>
Oscar Niemeyer turns 102.
These reflections are prompted by Oscar Niemeyer, a well-seasoned citizen of Brazil who was born in 1907 in Rio de Janeiro. He turned 102 this week.
Oscar is a famous architect for those in the know. He designed some of the buildings in the futuristic Brazilian city of Brasilia. I doubt Oscar is the oldest person around but he’s certainly one of the more noteworthy.
With 50 being the new “40″ and 60 the new “50,” then it must follow that as each of us advances a decade, we’re supposed to move the goalpost back 10 years. It’s a baby boomer phenomena.
When I was in my 20′s, I thought 40 was old. At 30, I was depressed until a 50 year-old friend on seeing my sullen birthday face said, “I’ll trade places with you.” There’s nothing like a reality check to give the foolish a little perspective.
So what happens at 102? Are the goalposts moved when someone gets to that wizened age? By the same
self-serving baby boomer stratagem of shifting the goalpost back, centenarians ought to credit themselves 10 years, too. 102 must be the new “92.”
A crap birthday.
However, I don’t think Oscar Niemeyer buys into the nonsense. The goalposts don’t keep moving backward ad infinitum as we age. Inescapably, at one point, the game is over.
Oscar made headlines because he said, “Turning 102 is crap and there is nothing to commemorate.” See Brazil’s 102-year-old architect spends ‘crap’ birthday. Even if sounds crusty and ill-tempered, Oscar’s to be saluted for his reality check affirmation as well as his continuing zest for life.
The U.S. Census Bureau projects there will be 131,000 centenarians by 2010. And by the year 2050, there will be an exponential increase to a projected 834,000. See Gerontology Research Group Centenarian Study and http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/p23-199.pdf
So for the sake of the many approaching Oscar’s century mark next year and beyond, let’s hope they find more to commemorate beyond the obligatory candor advancing age and curmudgeonry bring. After all, Oscar’s still smoking cigars and still working and that’s not all bad.