“Good job!” = “Old!”

Four years ago I wrote about how I was officially old because young women now smile at me when I’m running on the trail. They can tell I’m too old to be a predator. Today, as I was finishing my run (only five+ miles, but short of the usual 6) when I passed a couple in their 60s, I estimate. They made room for me on the trail, so I said thank you as I passed. The man replied, “Sure thing.” Then he took a good look at me and added enthusiastically, “Good job!”

There are only two categories of people who are praised that way for accomplishing an ordinary activity: young children (I’m including those with the mental capacity of young children), and old people. In particular, I refer to old people who are perceived to be feeble of body or mind. Admittedly, I am looking more and more feeble at 76, but I’m actually pretty healthy. My “running” is a euphemism these days. It’s more of a trudge and often interspersed with some walking, but, hey, it’s five or six miles. At the time I passed them, it was downhill and I was actually moving along pretty well. Still, my running days are numbered; I can tell from my joints. So I don’t blame the young whippersnapper (with gray hair) for his well-intentioned words, but it was a bit dispiriting to be tagged with that unspoken sobriquet: Old man.

One thought on ““Good job!” = “Old!”

  1. Russ Post author

    Today, 10/23/2023 I was hit with a double whammy. A very cute young lady passed me from behind near the beginning of my run. She looked over at me then but didn’t say anything. She was very fast and quickly disappeared into the trails ahead. Nearing the end of my run she passed me again, still moving apace. This time she turned to me as she came alongside, gave the thumbs up sign, and said enthusiastically, “Good run!” She proceeded to leave me in the dust as I mumbled something banal in response. So I qualify for the “Safe 70” putdown (too old to be a predator) and the Good Job category of the above post reserved for doddering, enfeebled old men.


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