Turning 60: Reflection #1 — Do I Qualify For My Statler & Waldorf Badge
As I approach my 60th birthday, I wanted to take a little bit of time to think back and look ahead. It’s a little self-indulgent. I realize that. But hopefully, there may be some relevance for others.
So, I guess I’m a few days away from qualifying as a senior citizen. No matter how young I feel, it seems as though society is pushing me towards that view of myself. I’ve been retired and receiving a pension for six years now. I now qualify for a seniors discount at my local Shoppers Drug Mart. I am eligible to receive my CPP Benefits, albeit with some penalty. I’m still 5 years away from receiving my Old Age Security cheque each month, but that’s only one colonoscopy away!
I’m certainly not living into most of the narratives that these threads would suggest and, quite frankly, I don’t intend to in the immediate future—with one exception.
I have been dying for the chance to earn my official Statler & Waldorf Card for some time now. I usually refer to W & S as the two old guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show who, by virtue of their age, were given a pass for criticizing pretty well everything and everyone appearing on stage. Crotchety old men of the highest order whose crotchetiness was forgiven, if not anticipated.
All kidding aside, I don’t want to become either Waldorf OR Statler and I hope that people call me on it when my fists start to wave too wildly in the air. At the same time, there are days when, as an attempt to pretend that I’m acting my age, I may just pull out my W & S card to push back against a new-fangled idea or remind my children that there was a time when life was simpler, winters whiter and music more meaningful.
Although I don’t turn 60 for a couple more days, I found myself playing that very card last week when Brent Jensen invited me into his studio to record an episode of No Sleep Til Sudbury. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to prove to be as engaging or insightful as previous guests—Molly Johnson, Rik Emmett or Ron McLean—but the concept of Brent’s podcast was compelling enough to draw me into the city for a live sit-down with the man himself: What are the songs that make your skin vibrate?
A great experience to compile my list. And an even greater experience to have the opportunity to share and reflect on that list with someone else.
In listening back to parts of the conversation, I really did feel like one of those old guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show, declaring that view of music education isn’t what it could be or the idea that we don’t demand as much from our music these days. On the one hand, I extend my apologies to those people who are pouring their hearts and souls into either of these endeavours. You do make the world a better place.
At the same time, however, it felt really good to shake my fist in the air and publicly declare an affinity for some of those bygone days. Allow me to play my Statler & Waldorf card from time to time. it’s kind of fun!
I hope you take time to listen to other episodes of No Sleep Til Sudbury and then compile your own list. And, if in the process, your right arm starts to twitch into a fist, fear not! Your W & S card may be in the mail!