Not long ago ago, I told you about a book I recently purchased titled The Art of Aging with a lot of quotations from writers of many historical eras. It continues to engage me. Here is the editor, Wayne Booth, on the subject of age humor:
”Why is humor about aging so effective – when it works – and so exasperating – at least to the elderly – most of the time? No doubt because effective comedy preserves the losses while transcending them, while too many attempts at humor simply fall into denials…”
Booth then calls on James Ball Naylor for preserving the full sense of loss of sexual prowess, while having his fun:
DAVID AND SOLOMON
King David and King Solomon
Led merry, merry lives
With many, many lady friends
And many, many wives;
But when old age crept over them,
With many, many qualms,
King Solomon wrote the Proverbs
And King David wrote the Psalms.
Continuing the theme, Booth writes:
”Autobiographers play with [humor], though not as often as I wish they would:
“’A year ago,’ writes Bruce Bliven, ‘when I was only eighty-two, I wrote somebody that I don’t feel like an old man, I feel like a young man who has something the matter with him.
“I have now found what it is: it is the approach of middle age, and I don’t care for it.”
Later in the chapter, Booth collects a few one-liners about age from some well-known people.
“I am in the prime of my senility.”
– Joel Chandler Harris
“I’ll never make the mistake of bein’ seventy again.”
– Casey Stengel
“Old Age is when you know all the answers but nobody asks you the questions.”
– Lawrence J. Peter
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Memories