Nov 18, 2019

Geezers for President

By Ed Goldman
Now that former three-term New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to enter the race for the democratic presidential nomination, the ages of some of the contenders for septuagenarian Donald Trump’s job—Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Bloomberg, also all in their 70s—are making this look less like a presidential campaign than a contentious meeting of the board of a senior-living homeowners association.
I almost expect their position papers to address, rather than tariffs, trade deficits and climate change, a mutually acceptable temperature for the community pool’s water. I can almost hear Sanders declaiming in that highly imitable mono-baritone of his, “Well, it has to be something we can all live with, that’s a given. Watuh temprachuh must be decided equitably.”

Responses to that remark might be something like this:

Biden: Barack always kept the White House pool at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a decision I was deeply involved in helping him make, along with killing Osama Bid Laden.

Warren: I have a plan for that! And while we’re at it, let’s start calling student loans student gifts. And free healthcare for everyone. And ponies!

Bloomberg: I have not personally swum in a community pool in the past seven decades. However, my staff is looking into it. Are we spelling “pool” with two o’s or a long u?

Let me state unequivocally that I would have no business being president of the United States

—Now before you accuse me of ageism, let me state for the record that this column launched the other day on November 15, my 69th birthday. And let me state unequivocally that I would have no business being president of the United States. Or even of a homeowners association.

I realize that advanced age can confer on many people a better sense of judgment, powered by experience. But it can also make you a lot less patient about incredibly stupid issues—and at the same time, much more tolerant of incredibly shallow people. But enough about Twitter, Facebook and homeowners association boards.

As examples, for the past 20 years or so, I despised Halloween, partly because I lived in a neighborhood in East Sacramento in which as many as 3,000 trick-or-treaters could show up at your door by 8:30 p.m. Many of them came in SUVs, shuttle buses and decommissioned moving vans—and many of them were a tad old to be begging for candy, which in turn begged the question, “Why are you casing my living room?”

“I’m not doing that.”

“Sorry, Pal, the clipboard-with-built-in-camera gave you away.”

Yet now that I live in a community where neighbors who forget my name call me “Kid”—now you know why I live here—I find myself hoping a few kids will pop by, all dressed up as space heroes. Preferably on Halloween, natch. I miss the adorable interplay:

Biwwy (Billy): Twick aw tweat!

Me: Oh, how cute! Jack Sparrow, a pirate of the Caribbean!

Biwwy: Hawww (harrr).

Me: But where are your little buccaneers?

Biwwy: Unduh my buckin;’ hat.

Finally, as robust as everyone in the race claims to be, at a certain age, your back goes out more often than you do. I think it’s great to see peppy geezers in daytime commercials horsing around with their grandkids. But what do those commercials advertise? Betablockers and sanitary napkins. Then come all the disclaimers:

“Maybe Crudderol isn’t for you.”

“Do you suffer from frequent anxiety attacks while watching commercials for Crudderol on daytime TV?”

“Before beginning a regimen of Crudderol, call your doctor. Ask him or her if you’re dead.”

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Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).