Did you know that the average age of the population of Britain is getting older and older? There's a few reasons for this according to the national statistics office.
Every year since 1901 (with the exception of 1976 when everyone was too busy dancing to "save all your kisses for me" by Brotherhood of Man) there have been more births than deaths.
Mortality rates are dropping rapidly - in the first 15 years of the 20th century over half the population (61%) died before they got to blow out 45 candles on their cake. In 2005 only 4% of UK deaths accounted for people under 45, so we're all living longer.
Fact is that 16% of the Uk's population are now 65 or older...by my calculations that's about 3.76 million people.
The good news about us all living longer is that most of us will get the chance to hang around for longer than our ancestors did. More of us will get a chance to know Granny and Grandad, as someone who missed out on ever meeting one of each of mine due to them dying very young, that is a nice thing. It means we're making breakthroughs in health research and are more educated than before...seriously, I have old death certificates for family members of mine back in the early part of the 1900's and I kid you not some of them lost their lives to "diahorrea" and "coughing". I mean "diahorrea" and "coughing" what sort of things are they to die from? I'd hate to have that on my death certificate! Or what about one of Geoff's relatives who's death certificate states "Fall of stone in mine accident, wound to forehead, concussion and shock, asphyxia on blood for 30 minutes, profuse bleeding from wound and fitting, attended, watched and waited for death to certify"...poor George from 1932 had no chance it seems, the Doc actually stood by and waited for him to die as he choked on his own blood! Not nowadays though, oh no...they'd have patched him up and given him paracetamol for the pain and sent him back to work the next day and as for dying from diahorrea? When was the last time you knew someone who died from having a dose of that?
The bad news of course is that most of us will get the chance to hang around for longer than our ancestors did! The queues in the Post Office on pension day are not likely to get any smaller, there will be more adverts on tv for discreet pads to help with incontinence and they'll still produce Spam cause there will be still be old folks who want to buy it. On top of that anyone under 40 will still hear comments of how the old folks fought the Germans to save the world and how we should appreciate bananas or a juicy orange more.
It's all tongue in cheek of course because you need to love the old folks don't you? I mean they are comedy value at it's highest level. Some of the things they say and do are just enough to crack you up. Many of them now have a "I'm too old to put up with any shit attitude". They say whatever they like, whenever they like and are sometimes so damn rude it's hysterical.
I remember being about 14 years old and waiting to get on a bus in Gorgie with my mate, We timed it so we got caught at the bus stop just as the Bingo was coming out. We'd queued for the bus and had been waiting for 20 minutes. The bus arrives and we're shoved out the way by demonic looking Grannies who wanted on the same bus, and I mean shoved out the way, they were using their brollies as weapons! I get on and sit down, about 6 of the Granny offenders are sitting in seats in front of me...you know the ones for the eldery and infirm...being 14 and full of attitude I say rather loudly "Honestly, how bloody ignorant, shoving people out the way to get on the bus, it's not like there was a queue or anything". One of the Grannies turned round and replied "There was a queue was there? well I've stood in queues to get bread to feed a family, men in my family stood in queues to sign up to fight the Germans and if they hadn't stood in that queue there'd be no bloody bus for you to be getting on, ungrateful bugger that you are, think about that!". I swear I nearly wet myself laughing. It wasn't helped by the fact she was wearing a rain mate on her head at the time and the water was dripping from it onto her nose!
Then there was the old man who lived downstairs from my pal. He came to the door one night to complain about how loud the stereo was. After making his feelings clear by ranting for several minutes, my pal told him it wasn't that loud, cause after all she'd heard the doorbell over it and he should calm down a bit before he had a heart attack. The old man was incensed and in his wee fit of anger responded by banging his walking stick down on the stair floor shouting "I lost a leg in the war so the likes of you could live withoot speaking german, but ye cannae understand that can ye, fucking retards, naw ye cannae understand that at aw cause yer fucking mongols that's what ye are, if I'd known then what I wis fighting tae save I'd have told King and country tae fuck off. Bastards the fucking lot o ye" before about turning and heading (very slowly) back to his own flat. Yet again I was left in hysterics. I mean I can be rude when it occurs to me but you don't go round calling folks fucking retards or mongols!!
Only the old folks can do stuff like that!! They just don't give a fuck and to them retard and mongol are acceptable words because they don't understand or bother with political correctness...gays are still poofs and queers, all asians are still pakies, disabled people are still spastics, people with learning difficulties are still backwards and coloured people are still coons. They refuse to acknowledge times have moved on, they don't like metres and centimetres, they still count in old money, shout into telephones, refuse to operate anything with a remote control and still believe that music is only music if it involves a big band sound.
I'd never wish my life away but I'm kind of looking forward to being rude as hell without apologising and getting down on a Saturday night to Dr Dre and the Chemical Brothers with my old homies.