The Pecking Order

I never gave much thought to the existence of a pecking order, until I became one of those folks who are growing older disgracefully. I recognize how pervasive the pecking order is, in particular, where the generations coexist and seniors are in the minority, and now, it has become a part of my consciousness.

For example,I registered on Facebook – as I register at many other sites – just because they’re free and I can. Unlike my grandchildren and myriad friends, I never change my profile picture. Why would I? I was three years younger and I’m just about the only one who looks at it, anyway. Most of my peers are not computer aficionados, their notebooks are frames for their photographs, and their cell phones are mainly for texting. Besides, my friends at my senior complex are happy to tell me how they feel, if I ask them. more graphically and in greater detail than they ever could on Facebook.

My visits to Facebook are occasioned by an email informing me that I have a notification, frequently pertaining to people I have never met. As for the ones I have met, I’m not always sure that they have met me. Or at the least, remember me. I use that invitation to visit Facebook as an opportunity to become, at least pictorially, reacquainted with my grandchildren, especially the ones who grew up with me, before our geographical distancing. I never visit Facebook to chronicle my fascinating or more often, boring life, at least in the eyes of those who have anteceded me.

I’m delighted to see the changing profile pictures of my granddaughter and some of the insightful comments about life in general, but I wonder if I need a formal application to be included, or at least get honorable mention, as a friend of the family. After a visit to Florida, the highlight of her visit was a photo of her and a dolphin. Shows good taste, anyway. Dolphins are so smart. I like Ahi Tuna and so does my grandson, so maybe there’s a raw fish connection between me and the dolphins and my grandson and by extension, the rest of the family.

What has all the above to do with pecking orders? My opinion is that Facebook strongly reinforces the belief that grandparents are the lowest persons in the pecking order of the family. In fact, when former United States President, Bill Clinton, began a discussion with former United States President George Bush, pertaining to Bush’s role as a grandparent, George Bush defined a grandparent as the lowest person in the pecking order of the family. Amazing, two men who didn’t fall off a turnip truck in their former lives, but who held the position which belongs to the most powerful person in this country, and they have been, or will consider themselves, relegated to the bottom of the family pecking order.

Like Tina Turner, who asked what’s love got to do with it?, I paraphrase and ask what’s age got to do with it? Plenty, and that’s the problem. We are a civilization which is hung up on numbers. Social Security used to be the identifier, but now, in addition, you’re asked for your birth year, which you offer sotto voce, the way you used to mumble your weight at weight watchers.

I admit I do play the age card when the lines are very long, and someone offers to let me cut in. Don’t get to play that card very often in a state where there’s so much white hair and lots of accompanying wrinkles. However, when I’m out in the world and people can only guess at my age, and it’s every woman for herself, I do as I’ve done all of my life. I cope. In fact, I sometimes more than cope because it’s the only option in town.

However, the pecking order comes into play when I am in the rightful place in which my family places me. I can’t find my keys. Understandable. I am old and my memory has been seriously eroded. I have to make a decision to change my health plan. Someone needs to step up to the plate. I was a Health Care Executive for 25 years, but that was before my apparent lobotomy. As for anything wireless? Inappropriate time of birth. When it comes to uploading and downloading? Hopeless. I don’t really want to play with your toys, anyway. You can wear your Google glasses but you still won’t be able to decipher my cursive letters. So there! At least I’m not an Android, but dinosaurs have more fun. For now. Just remember extinction!

2 Responses to “The Pecking Order”

  1. A grandparent is the lowest person in the family pecking order? That should make everyone stop and think. Because, I bet in most families, the grandparent is everyone’s favorite.

    I say this from the perspective of never knowing any of my grandparents. They all died before I was born. I certainly missed being coddled and spoiled and doted upon by a loving grandparent!

    Surely all that wisdom and unconditional love should rank a person higher in the pecking order. (I believe in some other cultures it does!)

    • Evelyn says:

      You’d think that wisdom and experience should count for something, but we who have grown older disgracefully, have discovered, ageism is alive and well in our society- Poor old dinosaurs – not well wired – mostly short circuited- also, with the disappearance of the nuclear family, where has dear old grandma gone?

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