Have you ever wished you could talk to your dead, older-than-you, relative? I often wish I could talk to my grandfather, Henry. I have so many questions! He taught us a lot when we were children but you know. PUBERTY! We all took off, leaving the riches behind. It’s too late now.
I came across what I thought was a radical statement until I realized it was inordinately accurate. Not necessarily for one hundred percent of the people, one hundred percent of the time but still, I feel this is broadly true.
There comes a point where an older person might know you are utterly wrong about what you’re saying and they’re not going to tell you. It’s easy to see why. Henry told me not to smoke? Did I listen? No. He told me not to gobble sugar, eat bad food or whatever. Did I listen to that? No! Instead, I got some fries and dipped them in gravy, at two in the morning, out with some Italians I knew!
Now I’m the old person and yes. If you ask me directly, I will tell you in most cases, but otherwise? I will keep my mouth shut in most any case – why? Generally, because you won’t believe me, or you don’t value my opinion anyway. You think I’m out of touch? You’re not going to listen, I’m a moron..
It’s all the reasons of that ilk but here’s the problem and the reason for this post: because of this phenomena, real history, real knowledge of what a person has learned, firsthand, is rarely shared. Think how much power that puts in the hands of people who wish to exploit you. It’s astonishing.
I’d like to say, the silence of the older people makes them complicit, but I’m not sure it’s true. If you say something fifty times and no one listens to you, with the fifty-first time do the trick? I think it’s more likely it be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You’re now disinvited.
This leaves old people to sit in silence as younger people get it wrong. Tricked in the same way they were.
I don’t know how to solve this or if it’s even possible. I’d ask, Henry, if I could.
Do you ever consult someone older than you, for this reason: they’re older than you?