Thursday, September 15, 2011
The Jersey Shore of the Geriatric Set?
One of my daughters (much to my dismay) admits to watching Jersey Shore! I am appalled. I can't believe she admits to watching this TV trash! For this I sent her to college? (Bad enough to do it in secret, but to admit you do? Face it, The Jersey Shore is the equivalent of soap opera watching but with a trashier twist!) Even though I grew up in the 70s in the era of free love and drugs, the antics of the characters on that show are embarrassing...especially since I am originally from New Jersey.
But when I go out to visit my mom at the retirement community where she lives, I realize that she (and many of her neighbors) watch the antics of another group that are just as bad, if not worse, than Snookie or The Situation and friends. All right, maybe they're wardrobe is a bit more sedate (all that gray fur that actually covers most of their little bodies wouldn't work for the Shore group), but their antics and swinging certainly make them closely resemble the Jersey Shore characters. And the days of watching the squirrels offers the geriatric set the same sort of anthropological and cultural studies that Jersey Shore offers the MTV generation. Scientists have spent years observing wild life in the same way future communication studies majors and psychologists will watch and observe the antics of reality television stars of The Jersey Shore.
These gray haired players (the squirrels, not the residents) jump from eating at one feeder to attacking yet another feeder or one another in much the same way the Jersey Shore favorites bar hop and bed hop. The squirrels go from apartment to apartment, checking to see who is willing to put out more food for them. They swing from feeders in outrageous ways much the way the Snookie and friends bar hop and they fall almost as often as the drunk Jersey Shore-ites. And they are watched just as avidly by their fans -- the over eighty set at the retirement home.
In the dining hall, ladies with perfect blue rinsed hair and gently balding gents in wire rimmed glasses avidly discuss watching their favorite squirrels in hushed tones over the dinner table (well maybe not such hushed tones when hearing aides are left at home). They talk about their ingenious attempts to foil the squirrels who are attacking their feeders with the same gravity of solving weighty political problems.
Is it as embarrassing to have a mother who's a squirrel watcher as it is to have a daughter engrossed with the Jersey Shore characters? Not quite--I can always ascribe the squirrel watching to scientific observation. But it makes me wonder, what will I be doing in thirty years? Hmmmm...