Current Issue #488

Third Age: New Year Ho Hum

Third Age: New Year Ho Hum

Old Janus, the god of January, has been living up to his two-faced reputation before the month has turned up on the calendar. Janus looks forward and back. So unlike most of our politicians he has an awareness of history, even what was promised a few months before. Let’s hope he informs voters, and doesn’t just hover quietly on the wall calendar showing a nice view of somewhere I’ll never get to.

One of the reasons we foolishly celebrate New Year is to take our mind off the old. It has been a horror, hasn’t it? People having to bear witness in public to their most intimate relationships. My god, they were brave. Can you imagine the blokey-blokes on the green benches doing that? They’d get their wives to make some emollient statement the church approves of.

Especially the priests who have been abusing their wives for years. Funny that this disillusioning story about priests who subject their partners to domestic violence should reach the top of the discussion dung heap now that I am old, but I remember, when I was 17, falling for a bloke who was going to be a priest (he gave it up, as it turned out) because, having come from a violent home, I thought I’d be safe with a man of god. Shows how innocent we were in those days, believing all that stuff that came from the pulpit.

Oh, I can’t go over the horrors of 2017. And we all have on the tip of our tongue the name of someone who was but has not yet been exposed as an abuser. We just can’t face the horrible stuff that goes with historic cases of abuse.

I faced my abuser in the workplace after I had escaped an abuser in the home; the workplace where I believed I’d be safe and had been, for many happy years, until the people and tone of the paper changed overnight.

Someone is yet to mention his name. Not sure I can do it. I just can’t. Let someone younger do it. I have done my stint. Come on.

What has Janus got in store for third agers like me? I am too vulnerable to say what I think of My Aged Care. Does anyone really understand it?

Some screamers on Facebook go for the jugular of politicians, day after day, blasting them singly or as a class, all the while making unsupported statements themselves. Statements that are a dagger in the heart of people reading their posts.

Let me tell you of one that made me ill. He said in so many words, highlighted in that Facebook colour stuff, that he’d rather die than go into a nursing home when he is old.

He was immediately joined by approving posts, by people with more zeal than brains. They’d rather kill themselves than go into care. Oh yes they would.

Tiny little voices finally managed to get through: “My old Dad is in care; I had no choice. I can’t stay home to nurse him”; “I’ve done my best by her; not all care outside the home is bad… I wish I could be with her 24/7, which she needs, but…”;

“I have little kids, I’m sick myself, my husband is sick…”


So I say to those guilt-inducing ratbags touting their own bravery intending to stay home to the last or kill themselves, I say to them shut up.

It’s not necessarily politicians causing the hurt, it’s people like you, with your untested claims, who boast of ending it all rather than accepting care, who are hurting the vulnerable. Not just the sick and incapable, but those who wish to, but cannot possibly deliver, 24-hour care in the home.

Janus turned his face from you. And shows the one he reserves for humans with stupid big mouths and total insensitivity.

Put your energy into improving life for people who need help. Do some volunteering at a nursing home, give a bit of support to that woman in your street (bound to be at least one) who’s trying to do the impossible… keep a job and home going for her kids while caring for an elder. Not on your life.

Dear Janus turn your stern face to the ABC which has broken our hearts this year. It has become toothy, raucous and shouty even in its house ads. Who is it impressing? It’s losing its faithful core audience. The last vestiges of learning and beauty are being swept away. We know it’s not all about funding. It is a great smack at non-mainstream listeners, who bother nobody, but surely need to be represented somewhere on the FM air waves.
I can say no more for weeping.

I will cheer you up with a book. You know books? Quiet things, full of someone’s invention, style and personality to entertain you, without maniacal grinning and yelling. Like me, you could turn your back on the two-faced Janus on December 31 and have a sensible bedtime with chocolate, your cat of choice and a book you can’t put down. That is: The Word is Murder. A paperback, not too heavy, about $33.

You, my readers, will remember Foyle’s War and other great TV shows from the UK. The brain behind some of the best of them is Anthony Horowitz. He has written lots of children’s books. This time he has written a most inventive crime novel in which he features as his idiosyncratic self. A wealthy woman walks into a funeral parlour and arranges her own funeral. Six hours later, she is murdered.

Definitely one to take your mind off the past and the future and the idiots celebrating in the street.

Perhaps you will remember this is the 10th year of this column.

Happy New Year.


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