Happy Days Question #5 - Being Different

by Laurent Graff

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Depputante
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Unread postby Depputante » Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:19 pm

Charlene wrote:
Parlez wrote:Good point, Charlene. I think what we've been trying to come up with here is the reasons why he got 'old', volunarily, before his
time. You're right about his kids - seeing him in the circumstances he's in, they treated him like they'd treat a grandfather or some other aged relative in a retirement home.
I'm not sure why we tend to treat our elders with such reserve,
even with revulsion sometimes, as if they've done something
wrong....but that's another story, right?


Yes, why can we kiss and cuddle a newborn who's bald and toothless, pees himself, and yet we recoil from older ones with all their "barnacles" (a phrase my Mom's doc recently used to describe an old persons' skin...I almost laughed as Davey Jones' crew came immediately to mind).


:biglaugh: :cool:
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Parlez » Sat Dec 09, 2006 7:27 pm

Liz, the story about your Dad and his friends is very appropriate to this discussion because it points out how elders internalize society's conclusions about this time of life. They've come to think of themselves as outcasts and not worth spending time with, so why would anyone? Their pariah-hood is so complete that they are suspicious of anyone who might come into 'their' world without a specific reason.

I got the same treatment when I started going into places like
Happy Days, and I had a reason to be there! More than a few residents would say, 'What are you doing here?" meaning in their view my time and efforts would be better spent elsewhere...amongst the living. How sad is that?!? I had a hard time convincing some of them that I liked them, actually, and I didn't want to be elsewhere.

When elders are treated as though they're sick, or bad, or have done something wrong, they've no choice but to circle the wagons and get defensive and suspicious. Who's the enemy, I wonder? The young guy in your story deserves more credit than he's been given so far...hopefully he'll stick around long enough to prove he's okay to your Dad's friends.
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Unread postby gemini » Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:19 pm

Catching up here with a few new opinions. Liz's story about her father and his friend mistrusting the younger man who hangs around and does the driving for the residents, brought up a comment my elderly mother made about people who offered to buy her house when she and my father were downsizing to a smaller place. She told me several people were feeling her out to see if she still had her wits about her or if they might get a steal of a deal. I think elderly people hear of a lot of their piers being fleeced out of their life savings and are hesitant of friendly young people until they are sure of their motives.
I think the residents of Happy Days are accepting of Antionne because he does live there and they realize he is not threat to them and just another resident even if a bit younger.
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Unread postby Liz » Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:26 pm

Parlez wrote:Liz, the story about your Dad and his friends is very appropriate to this discussion because it points out how elders internalize society's conclusions about this time of life. They've come to think of themselves as outcasts and not worth spending time with, so why would anyone? Their pariah-hood is so complete that they are suspicious of anyone who might come into 'their' world without a specific reason.

I got the same treatment when I started going into places like
Happy Days, and I had a reason to be there! More than a few residents would say, 'What are you doing here?" meaning in their view my time and efforts would be better spent elsewhere...amongst the living. How sad is that?!? I had a hard time convincing some of them that I liked them, actually, and I didn't want to be elsewhere.

When elders are treated as though they're sick, or bad, or have done something wrong, they've no choice but to circle the wagons and get defensive and suspicious. Who's the enemy, I wonder? The young guy in your story deserves more credit than he's been given so far...hopefully he'll stick around long enough to prove he's okay to your Dad's friends.


It is very sad that they would feel that way about themselves. And I was surprised when I heard the same point of view from others besides my father. I tend to think he is on the paranoid side--always has been. To be specific, he was sure this man had less than honorable intentions towards my dad's woman friend. Unfortunately, we will not know the final outcome of this man (unless he commits a heinous crime) as my father has cut off all ties with the woman who moved to that facility.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Unread postby Parlez » Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:48 am

Pity. It would've been interesting to see how the young man
fit in, or didn't, over time. I've encountered quite a few surprisingly romantic triangles amongst elders in facilities - with all the accompanying high drama. Life (and love) goes on, often at a very lively pace and with great emotion, in the most unexpected places! Gives me hope, it does!
:heart:
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Unread postby nebraska » Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:39 am

[quote I haven't answered the question as I couldn't quite see the relevence to the quote, but I agree with Betty Sue's answer here. He has shown no affection so why would they treat him any other way.[/quote]

I had trouble grasping the connection between the quote and the question, too, but it has certainly created an interesting discussion. I agree with you that the children had no real reason to feel affection for their distant father unless the part of the story Antoine passes over so quickly (namely, marriage and family) had more deppth to it than he told us.

In many cultures the elders are honored and treasured for their experience and wisdom and the sacrifices they had made for the next generations. It is sad so many are losing that! The elders have much to offer.

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Unread postby Endora » Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:35 pm

I'm just adding this because it is one of the things Johnny has said that has impressed me most, and actually one of the things I admire most about his attitude, and it sort of sums up this topic.

"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it’s OK to be different, that it’s good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, or is a different color."
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:15 pm

Endora wrote:I'm just adding this because it is one of the things Johnny has said that has impressed me most, and actually one of the things I admire most about his attitude, and it sort of sums up this topic.

"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it’s OK to be different, that it’s good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, or is a different color."


Endora, that quote crossed my mind too. Thanks for posting it for us! :cool:
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Unread postby rainbowsoul » Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:39 pm

Endora wrote:I'm just adding this because it is one of the things Johnny has said that has impressed me most, and actually one of the things I admire most about his attitude, and it sort of sums up this topic.

"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it’s OK to be different, that it’s good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, or is a different color."


Endora - mybe you have just hit upon the answer to an earlier question - "Why this book?"

Because it speaks to what Johnny believes is important in our day-to-day life and in how we interact with and treat others.

Thank you for posting that quote - as soon as I read it I wondered why I han't thought of it too
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Re: Happy Days Question #5 - Being Different

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:08 am

Liz wrote:Pg. 23. “My kids kissed me—just barely--on the cheek, the way you kiss old people.”

What do you think this says about how people view the paths people take in their lives, the image they portray and how people treat them differently if they stray from the norm?


I'm not sure if the answer I've got really answers the question. :-? We know that at every stage of our lives, there are expectations given to us by others (parents, children, friends, colleagues). When we are either unable or don't want to meet those expectations, we are seen as deviating from the norm or as a disappointment. Sometimes I think that in certain circumstances we place to much importance on our expectations for ourselves and others, but I also realize that some expectations have to be met because the consequences of not meeting them can be overwhelming. I think that our reaction to disappointment varies between, sadness, anger and indifference. I think Antoine's children had become indifferent to him, he after all had abandoned them and was probably never that involved before he left home. I think their response to him was normal considering the confusion, sadness and anger they were probably experiencing regarding their relationship or lack there of with him.

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Unread postby Depputante » Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:16 pm

Boo wrote:
I think that in certain circumstances we place to much importance on our expectations for ourselves and others, but I also realize that some expectations have to be met because the consequences of not meeting them can be overwhelming.


Well put Boo! Your comments always amaze me.

I also find that Antoine is overwelmed by his own dissapointment of society, hence his inability to comfort his own family, perhaps out of fear of dissapointing them.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby thatgirl » Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:57 pm

gemini wrote:How people treat them differently if they stray from the norm?

I think it depends on how their difference effects them.

Antionne's wife realized she married someone incapable of love. I am sure she wondered if he was indifferent to her and their children or if he was actually sick? From the way they treat him now I think she decided he was ill and the children follow suit.

The staff in the hospital seem to think he is odd or slow and let him live the life he wants. The outside people who dont know him well enough and think him normal just assume he is the gardener.

Strangely enough, it is only the elderly that accept him as he really is and treat him like anyone else in the home.
I agree, Gemini. Especially with this:
I think it depends on how their difference effects them.
I think that people generally don't care what others do or how they do it as long as it doesn't effect them or cause them any discomfort or change.

People who judge and are nasty about others, in my opinion, are either (1) people who feel badly about themselves and are looking for someone to use as a boost to their self-image or (2) they are fearful; of change, of how others will perceive them, etc. Sadly, being judgemental doesn't seem to help them feel better in the end.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:01 pm

thatgirl wrote: People who judge and are nasty about others, in my opinion, are either (1) people who feel badly about themselves and are looking for someone to use as a boost to their self-image or (2) they are fearful; of change, of how others will perceive them, etc. Sadly, being judgemental doesn't seem to help them feel better in the end.


Well said! :cool:
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby thatgirl » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:21 pm

Boo-Radley wrote:
Liz wrote:Pg. 23. “My kids kissed me—just barely--on the cheek, the way you kiss old people.”

What do you think this says about how people view the paths people take in their lives, the image they portray and how people treat them differently if they stray from the norm?


I'm not sure if the answer I've got really answers the question. :-? We know that at every stage of our lives, there are expectations given to us by others (parents, children, friends, colleagues). When we are either unable or don't want to meet those expectations, we are seen as deviating from the norm or as a disappointment. Sometimes I think that in certain circumstances we place to much importance on our expectations for ourselves and others, but I also realize that some expectations have to be met because the consequences of not meeting them can be overwhelming. I think that our reaction to disappointment varies between, sadness, anger and indifference. I think Antoine's children had become indifferent to him, he after all had abandoned them and was probably never that involved before he left home. I think their response to him was normal considering the confusion, sadness and anger they were probably experiencing regarding their relationship or lack there of with him.

Live in Depp
Boo


This part of your post,
Sometimes I think that in certain circumstances we place to much importance on our expectations for ourselves and others, but I also realize that some expectations have to be met because the consequences of not meeting them can be overwhelming.
reminds me of myself (more how I was before having children than now)- and of my son.

I tend to be have higher expectations for myself than anyone else ever could have.

I need to read the book again, I think. I wonder, now, if I would see that sort of perfectionism / high expectations in Antoinne.
My eyesight's as good as ever, just so you know. ~CJS


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