My descent into old-fogey-hood is turning out to be steeper and more precipitous than I expected. When discussing the younger generation, whom I always refer to as "these kids today," my voice assumes a squeaky note, that is simultaneously outraged, contemptuous, and powerless. Powerless outraged contempt is the very cornerstone of fogeyism.
Some of my complaints are - "The dancing they do! It's indecent!" "The music they listen to - it's just noise!" "They have no respect for their elders!" "They expect everything to just be handed to them!" These complaints are invariably followed, for comparison's sake, with corresponding examples from my own youth, preceded by, "In my day..." or "When I was a kid..."
Another thing sure to bring on an old fogey rant is technology: "These kids and their dang Smartphones, constantly texting..." (By "kid," I mean just about anyone under the age of forty-five.) Old fogeys in the past complained about, "these kids and their fancy transistor radios," or "these kids and their new-fangled flivvers," or "these kids and their dag-nab tools of sharpened stone."
The descent to fogey-hood is changing me outwardly as well as inwardly. I've taken to wearing reading glasses halfway down the nose, so I can look over the lenses at the youngster I'm advising about the importance of oil changes, eating enough fiber, and saving for retirement. I've learned to tie a bow-tie, but truthfully, the look is too hip for my comfort. I think I also want some suspenders I can put my thumbs behind, and maybe a lightweight bamboo cane to shake impotently in the air, as I mutter tremulously, "hell in a hand basket." Then all that will be required is a straw hat, and the transformation will be complete.
I just realized the description I put together is not an archetypal fogey, but a member of a barbershop quartet. Oh well. It's the same thing, really.