Archive for the ‘Old Man Traits’ Category

Old Man Word 91: Miserly

Old Man Word 91: Miserly

Lobster aren’t indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.  They tried to come up this way but ran into our crap crab population.  Lobsters were all “don’ mess wit’ us southies” but the crabs were wearing socks with sandals which scared the lobsters half to hell.  Lobsters turned lobster-tail and left.  If the lobsters had fists they would have bunched them up and shook them angrily at the crabs but they don’t so they didn’t.

This is a round about way of saying I have never cooked lobster.  Word on the street, however, is that lobsters brought to boil in a pot engage in odd behavior.  Once they figure out the heat is on the ‘sters will attempt to climb from the pot.  But if one lobster gets close to escape the other lobsters will reach up and claw the over-achiever back in.  If there’s one thing that angers a lobster more than being boiled alive in a pot of water it’s the thought of one’s fellow lobster not being boiled alive in a pot of water.  So they all end up dead.

(This is the true meaning of the phrase “lobsters in a pot” by the way, it’s not a euphemism for being “boiled alive.”)

If you’re like me you’re probably feeling a little superior to the lobsters right now; damn selfish lobsters.  But lest we get to feeling too superior, it’s important to keep the following in mind:

In their native environment, strippers have been known to call other strippers “sluts.”

It is not entirely unheard of for the Wal-Mart set to describe their fellow double-wide dwelling brethren as “white trash.”

Old people will unabashedly describe others as “cheap” while standing in line at the Old Country Buffet.

In other words humans, like lobsters, take great delight in pulling folk down to their level.  And nobody does this better than the timers.  Indeed timers so love calling someone cheap they’ve invented hundreds of words to discern the type of cheapness they’re pissed about.  They call people penny-pinchers.  They say big words like penurious and tight-fisted.  They’ll even risk the black folk ire by using words like “niggardly.”  They love calling people out as cheap!

In fact, most scientists now believe that old folks’ obsession with thrift exhausts their ability to undertake tasks we take for granted; such as remote-control consolidation and the wiping of white junk from the corners of their mouths.  Pretty good theory all things considered.  Do you have another theory to explain why old people purchase stuff like the “Jitterbug” here:

The only cell phone that has fewer features than a normal phone.

The only cell phone that has fewer features than a normal phone.

Let’s face it, the boys at Phone Tech deserve a medal for dreaming up this little shenanigan.  Each of those three buttons is carefully calculated to lure the elderly in…

First, old people think of an operator button like you and I think of candy-cigarettes.  Pure nostalgia.  Back in the day timers spent their afternoons chatting with Dolly at the at the phone company about laundry soaps and washboards.  Of course Dolly is now Daulananja from Bangledesh but old people don’t know that.

Second, throwing a “tow” button in front of an old person is almost cruel.  Cruel but effective.  No one who owns a Jitterbug can drive.  But everyone who owns a Jitterbug wishes they still did.  That little tow button?  Makes em feel young again.  Score two for the Jitterbug marketing wizards.

Third, 911 is crack to the elderly.  Old people spend half their lives making sure their’s some sort of button or lever or switch they can reach that will instantaneously dial 911.  Your grandma can be ninety years old and live on a farm fifty miles from the nearest town.  911 is — to her — zero percent faster than calling the doctor.  But she cuts her hand on a bottle of metamucil and guess who she’s calling?  911.

The point being this crass little product was perfectly designed to lure in the elderly.  But even old people could resist its charms if they weren’t spending 100% of their energy thinking about them cheap buggers next door what run off with their fishing poles.

Alas.  They do.

Miserly. Adj.

1.  Sordid; niggardly; parsimonious.
2.  Word that takes the place in the brain of common-sense in the elderly; thus leading to purchases of Jitterbugs.


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