An aching legion of pine box evaders

Logan’s Run, now there’s a movie.

Based on the life expectancy figures that edge ever upwards year after year, most people eventually get old. Some don’t; there will always be a child exploding in an electricity substation after reaching for his battered red Frisbee while the girl who made him go in there shouts “Jimmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”, and we call that ‘Darwinism’.

If you don’t know what that refers to, that means two things: one, you should probably put ‘public information substation danger’ into Youtube and watch how the government used to routinely shit us up over our fish fingers; and two, you’re probably not old enough to need to care about getting old any time soon.

Good for you, because that might also mean you won’t have to turn into a complete arsehole any time soon. Old people, almost universally, are scum, potentially deserving of the millions of volts poor Jimmy received, though in most old people that would probably have the same effect as Berocca does on the rest of us.

I have two examples from today alone. Firstly, obviously, an aching legion of pine box evaders in Clacton-on-Sea have voted in their greying thousands for UKIP to win their first MP. For weeks they have been on TV news moaning about anyone they’ve not known for decades as regular patrons of the local butcher. Foreigners eat dog and that’s reason enough alone to vote UKIP, to protect JM Morley & Sons and ensure I get my pound of liver every fortnight without having to visit a supermarket filled with brown people. Old people eat liver by the way, another black mark.

The other example comes from Estonia where, in a rare good news story in the time of Ebola, ISIS and, well, UKIP, MPs have narrowly voted in favour of legalising gay marriage. The vote was 40 to 38 in favour and the massed ranks of decrepit Estonians were predictably furious at the result, having corralled their motorized pavement-clearing death machines into Talinn’s main square to protest against this affront to decency. Honestly, my dear old ageing army of Estonia, I’d say you’re overestimating your personal appeal if you think that law will affect you in any way.

Why do old people have to be so scared and angry about things the rest of see as basic human decency and equality? There’s a natural tendency for old age to bring on a creeping move to the right wing of politics but, though it’s generally accepted as fact, does anyone know why? They’re getting nearer the grave, many of them believe in some form of afterlife, so should their last act on Earth really be to act the total fucking bastard to minorities and anyone they’ve not known all their lives?

I know an old guy in my neighbourhood; I once helped him out with a website of his and now I’m stuck with him. He’s in his 70s and has loads of extraordinary stories about his countless jobs and japes, and though half of them are no doubt balderdash he’s still quite entertaining. He also thinks HIV/AIDS is a disease the ‘organism’ that is the Earth created to wipe out homosexuality. He fully believes in the death penalty as a way to reduce the prison population. He’s also a UKIP activist though I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

My grandfather, who I love dearly, has professed clearly racist views in the past and I do everything I can to ensure the conversation goes nowhere near any vaguely related subject. My 72-year-old stepfather is worse. I have a mate who absolutely idolises his ageing father and who I heard use the words ‘fucking poofs’ the other day, fully imitating his wonderful old man, completely without sarcasm.

There is the odd ray of light. I read about an old gent at Labour’s recent party conference who made an impassioned speech in favour of workers’ and human rights. My chest swelled with pride, and by all accounts he brought the auditorium close to tears. My pride and their tears were a direct result of the astonished delight that we’d found an old man who wasn’t a bigot railing against any form of change and the way ‘naive’ people below the age of 70 are ruining things for everyone.

The obvious assumption is that old people look back on their lives, realise they’ve wasted a huge majority of their time in jobs that amounted to bugger all, and set about raging at the injustice of it all. But why exactly they home in on ‘progress’ as the cause of their unspeakable futility is anyone’s guess. Can they honestly believe that the world would be a better place if they’d been allowed to live like the peasants in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, eventually to be carried away on a cart of corpses while pleading “I feel happy! I feel happy!”?

That’s where we’d be without progress – the past. In almost every single example anyone could ever provide, the past wasn’t a better place. Progress is good. Death is inevitable so, please, take my advice: when you feel the first stirrings of old age tugging at your mind with the words “But why does everything always have to change?”, accept that your time is up.

You’re no longer relevant to public life in any way, but that’s fine, because we’ll look after you. We’ll reform health and social care so you’re cared for properly and with dignity. You can laugh out your final years with your friends and family, protected from frightening current events. And the rest of humanity can get on with the business of tolerance and fairness without you beating us about the brains with your bitterness.

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