Gero-punk Dream: The saga continues

I am a gero-punk graffiti artist. Only I know that my spray paint is impermanent and will wash away with it rains.

 There is a person – look at them frown and fume! – striding toward me as I begin to spray

                       YOU DON’T WANT TO BE….

on the sidewalk in front of the playground at the park.  I am asked what I think I am doing. I respond by asking them what they think they are doing. 

We look at each other, eye-to-eye, for what seems like a long time. They have really lovely eyes: deep blue artesian pools surrounded by crags and crevices. We share silver hair though I have peacock blue streaks in mine. We are about the same size and height, it seems to me, though what do I know—I always feel like I am the same size and shape, even the same age, and like I am similarly embodied, in relationship to whatever creature I happen to be observing (Remember the story I told about trying to walk like the goose with the lame leg?).

Enough already. I have surfaces to deface.

I tilt my head to the right and hold up a can of silver spray paint.

They tilt their head to the left (are they mimicking me?) and hold up their splendidly ornamented walking stick.

I say: Care to come closer and take a look?

They are frozen at first. Then they shuffle side-to-side in a dance of indecision.

So I shrug my shoulders in response. I return to my work, finishing the gero-punk inscription

                                                     …OLD? STFU!

My peripheral vision sucks but I feel movement, energy originating from behind me, arcing wide to home in at my right side.

I keep at my project until it is complete.

                        YOU DON’T WANT TO BE OLD? STFU!

I turn to look at the old one beside me. They are sussing. And either they have intensely bad hyperopia or they are about to kick my ass.

Right hand on my hip, can of silver spray paint in my left hand, I ask: So? What do you think?

They say: What the hell do you know?

I say: I am not sure what the hell I know. What the hell do you know?

Then I offer them the can of red spray paint.


About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.

I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator. I am former Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University. I joined the faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and since that time, I've been involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including in Gerontology. As an undergraduate I attended Willamette University, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; my interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. Over the past twenty (or more!) years I have been involved in inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; older women's embodiment; sexuality and aging; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and inter-generational friendships and cross-generational collaborative inquiry. I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (now in its 10th edition!) and first author, also with Moody, of the recently published Gerontology: The Basics, as well as author/co-author of several book chapters, articles and essays. I am on the Portland Community College Gerontology Program faculty.
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