Senior Center Moment



By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

I read in the Indy that the senior center is looking for a younger crowd.  Be careful what you wish for.  Suppose they get what they want.  The demographic goes from 63 to 11. Won’t we have to change the name to the Susi Q Senior Boys & Girls Club? And then, the parking consultants will have to order more parking mats to convert Susi Q parking to a safer play area because anybody who knows an older person knows they like to lick asphalt drenched motor oil any chance they get. That’s why I go to the center.

This past June 13h they had a rock n’ roll event.  Nobody showed up.  Even Elvis left the building.  I’m shocked that seniors don’t like rock n’ roll. Heck, we grew up on the sound during the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. We had speakers and woofers just two stories shorter than the Sears Tower.  Oops.  The Sears Tower isn’t the Sears Tower anymore. It’s called Dollar Tree.  Price check, aisle one.  Reality check, aisle two. Seniors can’t hear. Have you ever tried to dance to the sound of silence? Not easy. It’s harder than marching to your own tune, which is what seniors aspire to. They figure after years of trying to please family, friends and associates and getting nowhere, it’s about time to raise the white flag and sit quietly. I’m getting good at it. I can sit for hours watching surfers and reminisce about yesterdays when I could twist myself into a pretzel, too. Now, I wonder if I remembered to pick up Synder’s Pretzels at Ralph’s. I sure hope so, because I sneak in the salted ones. If my wife picked them up, she gets the unsalted and then I’ll have to go to the senior center to get a quick fix on the salted motor oil.

My grandfather was a man of few words because my grandmother won’t let him be one of many. He sat quietly while my grandmother brought out the TV trays to hold bowls full of candy and glasses full of soda pop for us grandkids. Even then, I was smart enough to know my grandmother was trying to keep our mouths full because children should be seen and not heard. Grandmother talked so fast at my father that for the first two years I thought she was speaking a foreign language. Now looking back, I can’t imagine what my grandfather’s tired ears heard or didn’t hear. I know he could hear some things, though. Grandmother would tell him to go get some exercise. She would direct him to walk a block to the corner that housed a fire station. He would refuse and say he didn’t want to make a fool of himself in front of the firemen. My grandmother would say it was important for them to know the bad shape he was in, so they would respond faster when a true emergency arose. I think he didn’t want them to know.  It was his escape plan. Smart guy. He had two advanced degrees in pharmacy and optometry from the early 1900s. I don’t have his book smarts, but I do have street smarts and tend to avoid fire stations, too.

The center’s current program includes daily activities, which range from ukulele instruction to free mental health counseling. I’ve done both. The first leads to the second. When fellow residents hear me play, they seek counseling.  Maybe I should go sit quietly for the sake of the others.  Salted or unsalted?


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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