I’m fifty four years old. The older I get the more I’m required to associate with very old people. When I was still actively involved with Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s Knights of Columbus council 794, in Lindenhurst, I was constantly surrounded by a significant number of couples who were well into their seventies and eighties. My oldest living relative, Uncle Frankie, will be ninety years old in August. He was married to my mother’s older sister, Aunt Mary Theresa. My parents both died last autumn when they were eighty. I’ve learned from having to associate with them all that old age brings with it a combination of extreme good and extreme bad. Old people can be quite a source of story telling, humor, wit and insight into bygone eras. Because of all the physical, financial, emotional and other problems that come with the passage of time, though, they can also be very hard to handle. Their habits, because of the passage of time, are so irrevocably entrenched into their lives that they can’t get rid of them. I’ve never liked the Willard Scott mentality, that refers to the very old as a hundred (or whatever) years young, as if to refer to someone as old is somehow an insult. This does a major disservice to both the young and the old as it renders the concepts meaningless. Language must never be exploited as an ideological tool. It must be used only at the service of the truth. To the degree that a culture has been infected by liberalism it inevitably respects neither the old nor the very young, the ill nor the handicapped. I agree with what I recently read in Communio, the International Catholic Review, that the left’s ideas, influenced by John Locke, want a world populated only by young, healthy, autonomous, self-sufficient adults. They want a world where the only people who really count are the kind who are the equivalent of Adam before Eve showed up. In order to be worthwhile, each individual must be entirely self-sufficient. Our culture now puts children into school as soon as possible in order that the state can have as early and as thorough a control over them as possible. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s claim that “It takes a village to raise a child” is lethal to healthy family life. The old and otherwise incapacitated, thanks to the mentality espoused in Obamacare, are subjected to treatment based on what’s cost-effective rather than on the absolute dignity that inheres in each specific individual simply because he’s a human being. We desperately need more people like the little sisters of the poor, at Queen of Peace Residence in Queens Village, New York, and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, at the Little Flower Manor in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. I’ve never liked the idea of being young at heart, as young as you feel or any other such cliche’. That type of language reinforces the ideas, espoused by the left, that only the young are worthwhile. I like the idea that each age range has a share of beauty, truth and goodness that are intrinsically proper to it. I can also understand, though, that it seems so odd, and gets odder with passing time, that I’m as old as I am now. Whenever I see my sixteen year old niece, a high school junior , or my two nephews in their twenties, I have all sorts of flashbacks to when I was that young. It seems as if it were only yesterday. Minutes go by too slowly and decades go by too fast. I should really like to think that by the time I am old enough to qualify as undeniably old I shall have more of the quick-witted story-telling throwback in me than the self-pitying creep who lets his aches, pains and regrets mess up what’s left of his life. Maybe I shall be like Arte Johnson’s Tyrone F. Horneigh character from “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in”, who’d always hit so hysterically on Ruth Buzzi’s Gladys Ormphby. I’ve always been quite a walking anachronism anyway. By now I know quite well that hep Larry always seems to have ideas that are much better than what real Larry puts into practice though. I should imagine that people will find me quite seriously ornery and cantankerous. They will be expected to put up with even more references to how my current surroundings stack up against Jackson Heights and Lindenhurst, and what the current administration is like compared to those of Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter. Pain and death are as scary for me as for anyone. Eventually I shall have to succumb to them. That will be the hardest thing for me.