I've turned 70 – don't screw with me




David Sherman


I’ve turned 70 and I want some goddamn respect. I’m getting old. I want my feet anointed with oil. I want to be venerated. I want to emulate ancient cultures where ancient members are exalted, pampered and respected.

I’m want obeisance. I want teenagers working stores and restaurants to say “yessir,” “no sir,” and get me a chair and a cup of coffee – black espresso, short, one sugar, – and then wipe my brow and pull up my fly. Do I have to do everything?

“I want mayo on one piece of bread and Dijon on the other slice and extra lettuce with the smoked turkey and I don’t want to wait until I’m 71. Not too much Dijon and make sure the mayo is not oozing out the sides onto the shirt I just changed last Saturday. Now go do it and leave me alone.”


I don’t want any damn banking machine, ipad app or credit card statement to call me by my first name. I'm Mister to you. We’re not friends. In fact, I loathe you all. I can be frank now that I’m 70. I hate banks. I hate Apple and Google and Amazon and all the other leeches that promise to be cool and hip and do no harm while they suck every possible cent from you. To you I'm "Sir," as in Sir Sherman.

Give ‘em your credit card once and who knows what charges you’ll find down the line. And I don’t want to be called by my first name be someone in a call centre on the other side of the planet who tells me how sorry she is repeatedly and does nothing.


See, these wunderkinds behind the technological devil that sits on our lap or in our hand for too many hours a day? They’re really just fiendish kids, a few years out of puberty, too enthralled with their power over microchips, they don’t care hitting puberty meant they can start having naked fun. You spend your time in front of your computers, drinking your meals, writing code, picking at your acne and playing with yourself, call me sir. We ain’t going to be friends.


At my advanced age, I don’t want to wait in line at a restaurant. I don’t want to hear, “It’ll be 15 minutes,” from some young woman still wearing a training bra. I want to hear, “Come this way, sir. Would you like your coffee while you read the menu? We have a Depends dispenser in the handicapped washroom on this floor so you won’t have to climb stairs. If necessary, I’ll carry you there.”

I’m joking about the Depends dispenser.


My friend in Morocco tells me by dint of his age, if he gets a hangnail, the entire town shuts down and people line up in front of his apartment to deliver home-cooked meals so that he might rest and recover with the help of the country’s top cuticle specialists.

I’ve been working since I was 14. I needed pizza and hash money but I’ve been working ever since, dutifully allowing government and banks and telecoms to pluck every dollar they can from me. I’ve put in my time. Now is the hour for payback. I spent 10 years of my life, before the soulless ATMs were invented, waiting in bank lines to cash my paycheques during lunch hour, which, of course, was the same time banks gave their tellers their lunch hours, just so we knew who was boss. Well, I’m 70 now and I want reparations. Now I get no teller to talk to. Instead I pay fees to swear at a machine that says, "Hello David." Bankers wasted a chunk of my life and profited from the rest of it with interest and financial death by a thousand cuts. To banking execs everywhere, next time you use one of your ATMs, may it take your entire arm with your bank card. Or, as a guy suggested to a creditor on TV, “May you swallow an umbrella and have it open up inside you.”


And if I go to the supermarket, which where I live is the only place to buy groceries and important items like light bulbs and toilet brushes, I don’t want to walk the length of a football field once I climb out of the car. First problem, the farther away the wheels are from the store's sliding front doors, the less likely it is I will ever find them. Second, why do pregnant women get premium parking next to the front door? Pregnant women are supposed to walk. They're young. Old farts with arthritic everything are not supposed to schlep groceries half a kilometre to their cars, if they can find their cars. And where are the kids to load the bags and put them in the car and polish my shoes after they've done it? They’re young, they can afford a few sore backs and strained shoulders. It’s a life lesson, get used to pain.


Yes, I’m 70 and if I have to take meds, I want the good shit. Screw Tylenol. Give me the stuff that really kills the pain and convinces you 70 ain’t so bad. Bring on 80. By then I could probably figure out why I have four remote controls for the TV. It’s a “smart” TV which means when I want to watch Netflix or any streaming service, it tells me I can’t. It has to upload or download data, to where or for whom, it doesn’t tell me but I’d wager Google ain’t far behind.


And now that I’ve reached this ripe and rotting age of 70, I can say with perfect frankness, I don’t give a shit about Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Tim Cook or the spineless creatures that make up much of American politics. But, Bezos and Musk’s fascination with spending billions on space craft while going to war against working people is a brilliant development.

Listen to this codger. Belt yourselves and your GOP friends into your shiny toys, strap D.J. Trump to the nose cone and blast off. And listen to your elder – keep orbiting until I tell you to come back. D.J. would make a great heat shield.


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