By Jim Selman | Bio
I want to create a new organization to stamp out stupidity and indifference and restore common decency and goodwill into society. I think I’ll call it the National Organization of Pissed-Off Elders (N.O.P.E.).
What’s pissing us off?
A lot more than just ‘aging’ issues like Social Security, pharmaceuticals and our sex lives.
First, it pisses us off that the people in charge are squandering away the opportunities they had to make the world work, or at least be a better place. For example…
- Thinking we get stupid as we get older
- Growth at any cost
- Special interests
- Contrived controversy
- Bullying, greed and intolerance
- Turning an economic mechanism like capitalism into an ideology
- “Us versus Them”ism
N.O.P.E. could have both positive and negative strategies. For example, when we’re talking to someone who is speaking baby talk to us or raising their voice so we can hear, we could shout back as a kind of negative counter-attack. Or we could speak more softly and get closer and closer to them, well inside their comfort zone, until we’re whispering in their ear.
As for the inhumanity of computerized answering systems, we could press our way through until we get a real person and then, using the authority of age, work our way up to as high in the organization as we can get. At that point, we could lapse into a geriatric mindwarp and begin to tell the person in charge the story of our life in excruciating detail and remind them why they should be ashamed of their insensitive and customer-killing phone ladders. Didn’t their mothers ever teach them about having good manners on the phone?
We could hold classes on how to get through to clerks and bureaucrats who don’t listen to us and who more or less ignore the fact we are human beings. It is true that many of these people are equal opportunity ignorers and ignore everyone. The N.O.P.E. class could teach garlic eating as an effective way of increasing the efficiency with which people serve us. We could add sound effects to our requests for customer service: explaining to a store clerk that the ticking box attached to our chests is a new kind of external pace-maker might help speed up their responses.
Then there’s traffic. Eventually the 70 million Boomers in the USA will be eligible for those cool little motorized scooters. If we all got one, then there could be 70 million scooters (or more, taking into account two-scooter families). If we all took to the highways, we could slow down traffic and save countless lives. It might even return us to a kind of horse-and-buggy pace of living and start a ‘stop and smell the roses’ movement. We could even have scooter parties where we all hang out at the Dairy Queen and listen to loud music while trying to pick up a ‘cutie’. My favorite possibility: crank up the scooters and have drag races. I think that might add new meaning to the buzzword for us ‘Zoomers’.
Pissed-off Elders could also get involved in politics. What if we organized as independent candidates, kind of like the independent movie producers organized to break the power monopoly in Hollywood? If we voted in a couple of hundred independents into the Congress and 50 or so into the Senate, then independents would be a block of folks that would not be beholden to a party. They could follow their own conscience when they vote, and try to represent the equally independent people who voted them in. This could break the back of the two-party power cartel, reduce the costs of elections by billions, and put democracy back in business (rather than democracy being the business). Our slogan could be “Don’t be a Dope, vote for NOPE”. The platform would be simple: common sense, maximum individual freedom and compassion. Our foreign policy would be "apologize and homogenize" while respecting and valuing differences—we’d negotiate based on principle, rather than power.
N.O.P.E. would also take responsibility for all the stuff we would be complaining about. Our motto would be “Clean up the Mess before we Die”.
So what do you think? Want to join?