I try to suppress a giggle whenever I hear someone in their twenties
blurt out the assertion that they are getting old. Sometimes it’s
because they try to do something physical and fail, like pull themselves
out of a chair or sofa. At other times, they may have forgotten the
name of a former classmate or are feeling fatigued.
As I approach
middle-age, now that I’m in my 50s, it is mildly amusing when someone 30
years my junior claims to be getting “old.” In my twenties I was
lacking in my knowledge of the world, yet I was still in as good of
physical condition as I had been in high school. (That’s not saying
much.) When I hear such silliness, I think to myself, “If she’s old,
what does that make me?” (The answer is “hanging on by a thread, thank
Like most people, I realize my age yet the affects of aging
haven’t all sunken in. In short, I know I’m getting older, but I
occasionally still think of myself as yet to reach my physical peak. Or
my mental peak. Then I do something stupid, I try to watch a nighttime
talk show like the Tonight Show or Late Night. That puts me in my place.
Because these guest stars are brought out to a wild audience reaction
with cheers and screaming and the like, and I’m sitting there with one
word in my mind — “Who?” If I know one of the guests on the Tonight
Show, it’s a miracle. I remember growing up watching the Tonight Show
when Johnny Carson ruled, not Jimmy Fallon.
Back then, when I
didn’t know a guest, it was probably because the guest’s career finished
a few decades before I was born. That was rare, though, since I knew
and appreciated Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, Lauren Bacall, and the rest of
them. The problem today is that I don’t know the third lead actor in
some series that you can only watch online or on one of the pay-cable
This week, my wife turned on a recorded version of
Jimmy Fallon and I knew a guest. One guest. Barbara Walters — someone
older than me. The new hip, modern stars meant absolutely nothing to me.
And of course the hosts — Fallon, et. al. — kept talking about how much
of a fan he is of this nameless so-called star.
When Letterman was on in the early days, he rarely had even met the
guest before the band played the entrance music. Sometimes it even
seemed that Letterman didn’t care much about the guests, just had to
crank out another show. Usually it seems I’d prefer it that way than
with all the fawning over the guests by most of today’s hosts. I don’t
want to watch a talk show host kiss up to a celebrity who isn’t really a
celebrity in my book!
I miss Carson. He really seemed to enjoy
doing a show. He was genuine in interviews and funny as a performer. I
always enjoyed Letterman. I realize he was an acquired taste, but we
shared a sense of humor through the 80s and 90s.
I think Jimmy
Fallon is usually pretty funny, but I get tired of the kissing up and
celebrating of celebrities, especially when I don’t know who they are.
Maybe his show and others like it need a slow lane for those of us too
old to know who some of these goobers are and why we should bother
tuning in to watch their segment? Or maybe we can all stop pretending
that we care about them.
I saw the little yard-ape called Honey
Boo-Boo on earlier this week. The only reason I didn’t break the TV
screen is that I can’t afford a new large-screen TV. Besides, I know
where the power button is. A while back I just unplugged and turned off
the satellite dish. That was OK, but I wanted to see some select
Please, just hold the celebration of minor celebrities
or put that on the channels that I have blocked, OK? Maybe they can
start a Kardashian News Network (KNN) and play that stuff with marathons
of Inside Edition and the Oscars and Grammys and let the people who
care for some reason indulge and let them worship celebrities to their
Then let them stand in the grocery checkout aisle
for hours at a time at one of those lanes that never open, and allow
them to read all the issues of People, Us, Them, and Star Weekly
magazines. Let me get back to reality. That’s the way old folks like me
want it. And get off my lawn!