Thursday, July 2nd, 2009...5:03 pm
#138: 50 Is So NOT The New Dead
I was going to blame the suddenly-ubiquitous saying “50 is the new dead” on Joel Stein, because he’s the first one I saw tweeting it, but I don’t think he coined this week’s favorite catchphrase. (Correct me here, Joel, if you dare.)
Googling the phrase yields 100 or so hits, most linked with Michael Jackson and Billy Mays, both dead at 50, though a couple date from earlier. And on twitter, “50 is the new dead” was retweeted and chortled over thousands of times.
That’s going to mushroom even further, I predict, until everyone looks at you, if you’re over 50, with an expression that says: What are you still doing here?
Wait, that’s right, they do that already. That’s what they really think: How come you’re making that big cushy salary and hogging that beautiful house when you walk so slow and keep forgetting what you were going to say and have that disgusting neck wattle? Why don’t you shuffle off a cliff and leave the goodies for us bench-pressing, thumb-typing, baby-having young hot people?
What’s that you say: I’m paranoid? Maybe, but when tout le monde starts equating your age with annihilation, it can make you a tad touchy. You know, the way it would if a couple thousand people were standing around laughing and saying things like, “American is the new dead” or “Female is the new dead” or “Jewish is the new dead.”
Yeah, haha, not so funny. This is not merely ageism; it’s a genocidal wish cloaked in a joke made all the more frightening by its bizarre social acceptability.
How to combat the murderous urges of the young? Yelling is only going to make them want to kill you more. Offering them money won’t work: They’ll just think how much sweeter things would be if you’d keel over and leave them all your cash. They might want to keep you around to babysit when they have kids, but ultimately they’ll figure they can buy that kind of service cheaper at ten bucks an hour.
The ultimate revenge might be to keep on keeping on. We hate to break it to you, kids, but not only is 50 not the new dead, for most people other than rock stars anyway, but neither is 80 or 90 or even 100. We’re going to be around long enough for 50 to start seeming like the new adolescence.