It is no longer to be denied. Old age and shrinking are synonymous. My grandson (politely) asked my dear wife; is Opa still bending over SO MUCH? Oh yes, more every day. “I am stooped over like buggery and shrinking in front of your eyes”. I could have said. I should have admonished them further, “yes, that’s what happens when you kids give us so much worry, but I didn’t”. In any case, why spoil such delightful curiosity. Some years ago, when same grandson was about 4 years old he asked a very bent-over man at the local supermarket wearing many war medals on his jacket; “What is wrong with you?” Fortunately the old man was deaf, very wise, or pretended not to hear it.
Perhaps, bent over men, now features very much in grand-son’s perception of ageing and realises his granddad has now reached a similar level even without wearing medals. It is really amazing how acute the power of observations are with children. They still see things without too much prejudice or inhibited by societal imposed restrictions. That, together with their innate creativity is what sets children apart from adults who for the most have learnt to behave and toe the line, which in the process often leads to conformity and losing creative ability.
Even more ominous than shrinking granddads are the signs found in the world of consumables, especially the divisions of ice cream, hamburgers and toiletries. Yesterday we were in Sydney again to look after our grandsons. One was (feigned) sick, the other had to be picked up from school as their mum would be working late. The heat and humidity were both impossible and on high alert. The trees were listless, birds depressed and gathering storm clouds on the horizon bode for an exciting day. You know when that sort of electric crackling atmosphere heralds the sirens starting up of the State Emergency Service getting ready their ladders, chainsaws and fluoro jackets to deliver first aid to torn roofs and uprooted trees bending over the Porsches and Mercs of the well lubricated patrons of sailing clubs and members of prominent golf and bowling clubs.
At exactly 3.10 PM both Opa and Oma with sick grandson took off to pick up grandson from school. My wife thought it would be nice to shout a cold treat, not least because of the heat but also as a way for time to keep moving on. The heat was now seen to vibrate above the bitumen roads and some dogs had already fainted in front of an air-con shopping mall were people had managed to crawl into.
The timing was perfect. No sooner we arrived our grandson run towards our car. He was bright red in his face and I could tell he desperately needed an ice cream. We parked around the corner near a shop that without school kids’ generous contributions of pocket money, would have carked it long ago. It was run by a forever smiling Chinese family who improved it even further by placing some small tables and chairs outside. Summer-heat is a gold mine for those sort of little corner shops. Mothers and grandparents, both with hanging fore-arms, are cajoled into ice cream buying as never before.
Helvi and I rarely eat sweets or ice cream. I prefer salty stuff, sliced salami or herrings and Helvi a sturdy soup with lentils and celery. Everybody knows and that’s how it goes.
TThe poor stay poor,
The rich stay rich
This time we all went for the frozen stuff. Helvi chose the Cornetto and granddad and grandkids all had Gay-time ice creams. All of a sudden and this happens more often lately than not, we came to the same conclusion when studying the Cornetto, it had shrunk in size. The bastards, the maddening way we are all exploited by the Emporiums of Capitalism gone mad. Instead of increasing prices, consumables are now made smaller. Imperceptible to the novice but not to canny grandparents.
The shysters have done the same to hamburger patties. Go to the Golden Arched Big MacDonald’s and take the tape out. Measure the diameter of the minced patty. Even a shrinkage of a millimetre works out at millions more profit for shareholders. The same with toilet paper. Here the most favoured brand of toilet paper is the 4 ply ‘Symphony’ brand. I often see shoppers carrying huge 24 pack rolls to the basement car park. I smile and am pleased recognizing soul mates in the choice of at least that item. Sadly, the manufacturers have narrowed the width of the rolls. Have you not noticed? Or did you perhaps feel that there was a widening of girth in some areas? No, it is the Symphony toilet paper that has narrowed. Rest assured.
We are all being exploited.
The storm afterwards was fantastic. We had a nice day.