[The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased a punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. We continue this entertaining series with Daniel’s brilliant insights about the formerly-young on the Internet. —Ed].
By Daniel Will Harris
My mother used to be unable to work a clock radio. Now she's reading e-mail and working the web. If that isn't an indication of how pervasive the web is, I'm not sure what is.
Why? Because mom was born 95 years ago (last Sunday). Not really, but that's her story. While most people adjust their age to make themselves younger, she's always taken the clever tact of claiming to be 25 to 30 years older than she really is so everyone who sees her will say, "You look so young!" It helps that she bears a resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor and has an unforgettable personality.
I think the reason she claimed not to be able to work a clock radio was that it was a good excuse not to set an alarm. She's always been good at logic like that and has been a constant inspiration when it comes to seeing the world from a different perspective.
For example, when I was little, she invented the "between meal snack" not just as a treat, but as a way of life. It took years for science to catch up and claim it was better to eat a lot of small meals than a few big ones. When I was sick, she let me sleep on her mink stole, redefining luxury. She always felt that you could learn more from real life than from a class, so as a kid I won the "worst attendance record" award in school, while at the same time I could identify a Frank Lloyd Wright building, a painting by Monet, a sculpture by Claes Oldenberg, and every model of car on the road.
When she went back to college, she had me study with her, so it was like I got to take college classes when I was 12. In high school, when I wasn't doing well in one class, she blamed the teacher instead of me. She went to every show I was ever in, and sat in the audience saying, "That's my baby!" (just a little too loud, but that was OK).
And she gave me lots of good advice:
- Enjoy today, you could be hit by a bus tomorrow.
- Eat something good, you'll feel better.
- Be open to everything except infection.
- Pickles count as a green vegetable.
- There'd be no reason for all those big football players to fight if someone would just buy them each their own ball.
She's managed to survive everything that life has thrown at her. She's even written cookbooks:
She may not have passed on the world's healthiest genes (you can't have everything), but she's passed on something more important—spirit.
So, what's the point of all this, other than scoring points with my mom?
First: sometimes people think that there's no one over 30 on the internet. The truth is that there are people in their 80's and 90's on the web—I know, because they e-mail me, telling me things like how they've built their own computer. (Hey, they could build a crystal set, why not a computer?) Mature people appreciate the web more than kids do, because they can remember the world without it. (I know kids who can't remember the world without remote controls and personal computers).
These days a lot of companies focus on teens because they figure a teen can be a customer for a lot longer than a grown-up. But adults are more loyal to brands—and they need more help, because even though teens have all that angst, adults actually have it harder.
Second: Every once in a while it's good to stop and remember that your parents had a lot to do with the good things about yourself (not just the bad :)
Third: E-mail your mother. She's sitting there, by her computer, waiting. Who'd have believed it?