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  • Writer's pictureJerry Della Femina


I could have beaten the coronavirus to the punch. Today I would be a wonderful dead memory. Instead I’m a live pain-in-the-ass being kept under house arrest by all those who love me. My kids are putting on rubber gloves and masks before they talk to me. The other day I put on some white rubber gloves so that I could go out for a "coronavirus free" walk. My wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, took one look at my white rubber gloves and snickered. "Why are you laughing?" I asked. "I think these white rubber gloves make my hands look they belong on Mickey Mouse." "You look like each hand is wearing five condoms," she said. Even before the coronavirus, being old was hell. To begin with, when you're old, it's impossible to get in or out of a car or taxi with a shred of dignity. Older people's hands don't work so well, so they keep dropping things, and God's joke is the older you are, the harder it is to pick up something you dropped without falling on your face. You have to deal with the politically correct and "MeToo" idiots who weren't around when you were young and having fun. Plus, you are obligated to outlive the Trump presidency, since every day he behaves more and more like Clarabell the Clown from the old Howdy Doody show. The other day I realized how serious the coronavirus is. I think I just caught Trump telling the truth. And then there's remembering ... When you're old, you have a mind full of mush, and words are flying in and out of your head like demented sparrows. You can't remember anything. Here's a great example. These are lyrics from a song:

"Venus de Milo was noted for her charms.  But strictly between us  You are cuter than Venus  And what's more, you've got arms!" Those lines from that song, which I've heard a thousand times, have been bouncing around in my brain for three days. I've been singing it morning, noon and night. For the life of me, I can't remember the title or the rest of the song. I know it's an old song because no one would write those lyrics in these politically correct times. "Venus de Milo was noted for her charms." What do they mean by "charms"? Is "charms" a code word for something more sexually suggestive? Are they hinting that the beloved Venus de Milo statue was a slut? And the line "You are cuter than Venus"? In today's politically correct world, the word "cute" is only used to describe a very young person or a baby. Therefore, if you use the word "cute" to describe anyone over the age of 12, you are a sexist ageist pig. And don't get the politically correct started on the lyric "And what's more, you've got arms!" "Sure," they'll say, "it starts with a song about a statue without arms and next thing you know there'll be a song making fun of the statue of David's tiny pecker. And you just know that sooner or later, humans with no arms and men with tiny peckers will feel hurt. Clearly, that line is meant to hurt the feelings of the handicapped." And I know there are those of you who are saying, "For crying out loud, just Google the line to find out the song title and get it over with!" My answer is, "NO, I'm not Googling anything anymore. Google is part of a plot to weaken the minds of old people. Remember when you used to strain to remember who played second base for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers? Now you don't try to think, you mindlessly Google." Old people who rely on Google never try to remember anything, including their wives' or husbands' names. That goes for Amazon, too. Amazon delivers everything to your front door. The only exercise an old person ever gets these days is opening an Amazon package. Soon, every meal we get will be delivered to our door by Amazon, and how far off is an app that will chew the food for us, too. The fact is, with Amazon delivering everything we need so we don't exercise, and Google in control of our minds, we will soon all be living in a virtual internet nursing home. Here's how they did it. Here's how the internet took control of our lives. They started with passwords. People who were in control of their lives suddenly found themselves with the task of having to remember a password for everything they did. First it was one password ... then two. Now, I estimate I have 837 passwords, and I can't remember even one of them. I can't remember the password I use to get mail, to send mail, to log in or log out of my bank account. What the hell is my password to get on Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Amazon, the Apple Store? Everything has a password for my security, and this is making me insecure. For those of you who are saying, "Why didn't you write the passwords down someplace?" The answer is, "Yes, I wrote them down, but I can't remember the place."

I'm an old person. I go back to the time when the only thing you had to remember was the combination to your lock on your high school locker. I always had a problem remembering those four lousy numbers to open my locker. Fifty years later, there are still a pair of my sneakers rotting away in a locker in a building that used to be Lafayette High School.

In the beginning, passwords were easy. Everything I owned or belonged to had the same password: "winter." What could be easier than the word winter? Then, they started chipping away at me.  All of a sudden, I was told to make it "Winter" with a capital "W" for security reasons. Next came the news that my password was too easy to figure out, so they asked me to create a password with a digit in it, so I became "Winter6." But that wasn't enough for the password gods. They wanted more than one digit, so I became "Winter 66." Not enough, said the gods, so I became "Winter6666." "You're almost there," they said, "but for maximum security, you must add another capital letter." So, I became "Winter6666J." "Almost perfect," they said. "You just need to add a symbol to make it impossible to break into." So, I became "Winter6666J%!!" Okay, that took care of Apple, but then Google wanted me to come up with a new password, and then of course I could no longer remember the Apple password. And on and on and on. I GIVE UP. If you're a password thief reading this column, come and get me. I'm going back to my old password, "winter," or maybe just "winter6." Oh hell, "winter66666666666666666666." Getting old is hell. Come and get me, coronavirus. You’ll never take me alive.

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