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Guest column: A millenial, a boomer, then old and forgetful!
August 14, 2014 04:15 PM | 8195 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Judy Elliott
Judy Elliott
I should never complain about commercials after a political season. Even the Geico gecko looked good to me once the election was over.

But I am weary of the Cialis logo popping up on the screen, a couple, each silhouetted in an old-fashioned bathtub. There are 76 million Americans — baby boomers — born from 1946 to 1964. I like to think the boomers, clutching their AARP cards, do not identify with a couple in a commercial watching football and playing golf, the guy shaking his head over the endearing habits of his loved one, cute as she can be, but not quite his equal.

No commercial in the Cialis archives highlights a wife walking in the door after a long day at work to find her thoughtful but novice-cook husband, knee-deep in pots and pans. Is Madison Avenue still hooked on a 1950s image of women baking dough and men making it, or are actors in the commercial caught in the gender gap because women don’t take Cialis?

In real life, who has side-by-side footed bathtubs? In most households, couples are partners, in the best sense of the word. Both husbands and wives cook, bathe children, drive carpools and fold laundry because the workforce shares the footprints of men and women.

The advertising world longs to put money where the millennials are, more than 80 million Americans, born from 1980 through 2000. They are savvy consumers who crave the newest technology and, once hooked on an advertised brand, stick with it.

But the AARP, with a vested interest in the lifestyles of baby boomers, is hoping Madison Avenue will woo boomers, whose bank accounts are healthier than in years past, and whose interests include the “perks” of success — luxury cars and travel, two homes to furnish and food as dining, not a staple.

To that end, we are assured Target and Chrysler and food giants Procter and Gamble and Kraft all have ads oozing with appeal for the 50-and-over crowd.

As the AARP celebrates older Americans, the hope is the boomers will feel empowered when their membership cards come in the mail.

I don’t remember the AARP card in the mail basket, but I do recall my first senior-citizen experience. Quietly, as my groceries were tallied at Kroger, I was asked if I qualified for a discount. I had no idea, but once I was told the age to qualify, I wrote a check for groceries, feeling like an old squirrel, hoarding nuts for winter.

When the young man bagging my groceries offered to take the food stash to the car, I accepted, with thanks, but walking to the parking lot, I could not remember where I’d parked.

“My grandmother wired a pink plastic rose to her antenna so she could find her car,” said the guy pushing the grocery cart.

He meant well, but the senior-citizen discount was sticking in my throat. I felt old and careless.

Finally, I spotted the car. Driving home, I was mired in self-pity. “Next time, I’ll carry my groceries to the car,” I pouted. Lugging bags of food into the kitchen, I took off my sweater, feeling rough edges in my hands.

Then, I sat down, lower lip quivering. I had worn the sweater to the store, wrong side out, its seams exposed. No wonder the young man at Kroger took pity on me. He was too kind to mention the sweater error.

The saving grace of being old and forgetful is dredging up a good sense of humor. I shared the “lost car, wrong-side-out sweater” story with my friend, Allison, who told me she had spent the morning looking for a banana, lost in her kitchen.

Finally, she opened the butter keeper in her refrigerator. There it was. At least, she laughed, the banana was the right color!

Memory, hiding in a corner, reminds me to ask. Have I told this story before?

Judy Elliott lives and writes in Marietta.

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