How Not To Act Old

November 1, 2009 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

HowNotActOldBookThe best part of working in a library is being able to see all the new books that come in. Occasionally when examining a new book, staff will find something so amusing, they have to share a few tidbits with fellow workers. The most recent title to have my Boomer co-workers and I laughing is Pamela Redmond Satran’s How Not to Act Old. Satran, creator of a popular website with the same name,, has provided an irreverent guide with advice for how old folks like me can avoid embarassing their kids or themselves by eliminating behaviors and viewpoints that are clearly passe.

The book features at least two-thirds all new material that’s never appeared on the website and while Ms. Satran clearly has her tongue in cheek, much of what she includes is funny because it is so spot on.  For example, tip #1 is Stop Using E-mail.  As the author says, “Leave it to the evil young to get all of us old people addicted to e-mail, and then to abandon the form in favor of texting and Facebook.” I know this to be true because my 23- year-old daughter tells me the only way to reach her is by text – it’s a good thing I have a smart phone!

With each tip the author provides context and explanation. For example for tip #33 Don’t Advise People to Carry an Umbrella, she explains you don’t need to be the world’s mom and with all the energy you’ll save once you stop “nannying the entire world,” you can do something really productive like find a way to reverse the aging process!  She also provides 16 other things you need never say to another adult, such as “Bring some money along if you’re going out” or “Don’t stay out too late.”  I’ve certainly been guilty of repeating all of her list of annoying parental warnings at one time or another.

As Satran says in tip #163 Hold the Moo Goo Gai Pan…”when we first tasted ethnic food, what counted as exotic and exciting was some stew made of indefinable ingredients…but in this era of McDonald’s sushi… and Indian frozen dinners, it’s time to update your palate.”   Her chart of old food/young food is a hoot.  Don’t order or eat pork chops – try pork belly.  Chicken teriyaki – no! Go for chicken lollipops.  Shrimp cocktail is so old school when you can have Kumamoto oysters.  While listening to today’s edition of KCRW’s excellent food program, Good Food, I smiled knowingly, basking in my new found knowledge of old food/young food.  Guest Ruth Reichl, author and editor of the recently defunct Gourmet magazine, spoke about all of the great foodstuffs available to us now and when she mentioned pork belly* I was ready for it!

So when you’re looking for information on how to be cool, when you’re afraid you’ve forgotten how, don’t forget to check out the Library – it’s always got what’s new and hot!

* click here for a recipe for pork belly

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