I’ve never watched much TV. That is, I’ve never watched much TV until I got married. When I got married I inherited Netflix. Now I spend hours browsing shows and movies and filling my free time by filling my ‘to watch’ list. I have become obsessed.
The other day, I felt as if I slipped back into my childhood when I randomly rediscovered the 1991-1994 TV show, Dinosaurs. I vaguely remember the details of this show (I was four years old during the last season) but I fondly remember spending Friday nights in front of my TV laughing at the baby. Needless to say, I added it to my list. Yesterday I had some free time after I got home from work, so I decided to start watching. Three episodes in was ‘Hurling Day’. In this episode, it is explained that when a dinosaur turns seventy-two, they are hurled off of a cliff into a tar pit. The son-in-laws get the privilege of hurling their mother-in-laws. We are then introduced to Ethyl, a soon to be seventy-two year old dinosaur and Fran’s mother. This means that Earl (Fran’s husband) will get to hurl the old lady off a cliff. Eventually, Robbie (Ethyl’s grandson) convinces the family that they don’t have to send Ethyl to her eternal tar resting place.
Basically, the tradition of hurling stemmed from ‘olden times’ in the dino world, where old dinosaurs would be a burden and possibly draw predators towards the pack. But Robbie teaches us throughout this episode that older dinosaurs can be helpful. Way to tug at my heartstrings, guys.
Very often, I find myself serving an older generation. As I sit with widows and widowers I often listen to their stories about their lives. And many times, I’ve had older folks unload their fears and concerns on me. I had one woman who needed a walker or a wheelchair to move around. Her husband took care of her because of her limited mobility; that is, until he unexpectedly passed away. As she sat before me and gentle cried, she explained that her sons all lived far away from her and she didn’t want to become a burden to them; but more so she didn’t want to go to a nursing home. She then looked at me and very adamantly explained that she was supposed to die first.
My heart breaks for these people who have lived full lives and have seen things that I couldn’t even imagine. Many of them fought in wars and lived during the depression. They have gone without so many things and survived. I look at my life and cannot imagine living without my cellphone…basically my reality is much different from what theirs was. What I’m trying to say is, they lived. And the sad part is, if my generation had its way, I’m sure we would be in favor for hurling day. Because old people are a burden to our fast pace ‘all about me’ lives. This needs to change.
I think we all need to take a second and step back from the cliff. We need to talk to our Robbie and see the value in age and wisdom. We need to find a place for the people who have made our lives what it is today, and show them that the remainder of their lives are anything but a burden. The remainder of their lives should be filled with respect and dignity. After all, when I’m seventy-two I won’t want to be hurled into a tar pit. I’ll want to be sipping a margarita next to my husband looking at the youth of 2062 and talking about how ‘when we were kids’. And maybe if those crazy rascals are lucky, I’ll share some of the wisdom I’ve gained with them.