The Golden Oldies: An Awards Show for the Grey Generation

We’re right in the middle of award seasons, the Grammys, the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Oscars, and others great and small. It is the Who’s Who of modern entertainment, an array of oversized personalities, and luminescent celebrity. Everybody who is anybody will be at least one of them, maybe several.

It is a time of the year to celebrate the things we love, the things that move us, bring us joy, brings tears to our eyes, and tears out huge chunks of our working capital leaving us a little short of funds for food, utility bills and causes us to buy the vodka off the bottom shelf, the one in the big, plastic bottle for $9.79. Distilled in Toledo, almost as good and a lot cheaper.

I’m old and I listen to old music. I’m not sure I’ve heard a song by any of the artists who won a Grammy. It’s not that I question their talent, or the artistic merits of modern music, it just isn’t made to appeal to an elderly person from the Midwest. I haven’t been to the movies since the first Pirates of the Caribbean, coincidentally, people tell me I pronounce that wrong. Caribbean, not pirates, but it was so long ago I don’t remember how they pronounced it. It’s a foregone conclusion I haven’t seen any movies that are nominated for awards. Again, it isn’t because I don’t think they’re good, I’m sure they are.

I listen to old music, and I watch old television shows. And, they seem to be getting older all the time, many of the television shows were filmed in black and white. And, when I talk about music, my co-workers look slightly bored, their eyes glaze over and they slowly back away, they think, since I’m old, I don’t notice they’re getting smaller. I have no-line bifocals, so my vision is almost superhuman, except for when I’m going down the stairs and the reading magnification portion, spanning the bottom of my glasses makes the steps look fuzzy and indistinct, and I have to point my head almost straight down to keep from stumbling and rolling to the bottom.

Still, though, I feel left out when some anchor person talks about the winner of the award for some best thing of the year, and I’ve never even heard of it, let alone seen it or heard it. Musically, often I’ve never heard of the artist, in movies I don’t recognize the names of the actors.

I decided to present my own awards. I’m still trying to work out all the details, I’m not sure what to call them, The Elderlies, or The Golden Oldies, or Generic, Inexpensive Plastic Trophies. Naming them can wait. It’s not safe to stand in the way of a good idea. Or a bad idea. In fact, once, when I was a masonry laborer, over forty years ago, someone told me, “If you’re just going to stand around, at least don’t stand in the way.” It was such good advice I still abide by it today and use it as an excuse to set around. Out of the way, whenever possible. But that isn’t important.

On to the awards:

Up first, I would like to announce the winner of Trail Boss of the year. This year’s award goes to Gil Favor, Solomon of the Sedalia Trail. He dispenses frontier justice with wisdom and sarcastic wit. A rough mixture of Confucius and Napoleon. Consider his dilemma in A Woman’s Place. His employee “Harv” suffers numerous fractured ribs under a toppled chuck wagon. The only doctor to be found is a woman. Today, that wouldn’t be much of a problem, but in those days, women doctors were rare and the object of dread and suspicion.

Gil Favor decides, against the wishes of his men, and Harv, to let her operate. To complicate matters a charlatan, witch doctor in town is rousing the rabble to have the real doctor run out of town, mostly because she is a woman, but also because she might cut into his profits. Tensions are ratcheted up when the mayor accidentally shoots his wife (who has leprosy and was running away to save the whole town). The charlatan tries to pin the crime on the woman doctor, who had, up to that point, threatened the sheriff, Clint Eastwood, and several extras with a shotgun, adding some credence to his false accusations. Though through a tragic miscalculation the quack accused the doctor of poisoning the mayor’s wife, not shooting her. There was no record of her threatening to poison anyone.

There is a climactic scene at the graveyard, involving Clint Eastwood, the lady doctor, Gil Favor, the body of the mayor’s wife (who remained off camera, thank goodness) most of the townsmen, and several shovels. In the end Harv recovers and stays to help the lady doctor, who no longer seems to be persona non grata, possibly not welcome, but not reviled. Gil Favor rides out of town. Another crisis averted. Looking back, he may not have solved any problems and was only a character in a drama unfolding around him. But it happened in so many episodes you get the feeling he has some extra-natural influence.

Well, that took longer than I thought it would, we’ll have to pick up the pace.

Father of the year, actually Greatest Father of All Time; Ward Cleaver, on Leave it to Beaver. Any doubt, just watch the show.

Lawyer OTY: Perry Mason, he wins them all, and he does it with a dry sense of humor.

Album of the Year, well that depends on the year, in 2006 it was Feedback by The Electric Prunes. The year wasn’t that long ago, but The Electric Prunes have been around since the 60s, and it’s a great album. I might go as far as album of the century.

That’s it for this year. We will mail out the awards as soon as we can afford to have some made or find some in a yard sale or rubbish pile. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter, Old People Have Rights, Too, You Know. I am mobilizing a gray insurgency. We’re going to demand more options in comfortable, attractive shoes and clothes that are stylish, but roomy and have a little elasticity, if you know what I mean, and we want to see better representation of old people in public. More Judd Hirsch and less Mitch McConnell.


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