The Grandpa Simpson Syndrome

Abe Simpson is a crusty ol’ cartoon Grandpa who’s known for saying things like, ‘I don’t like the look of those teenagers!”

Now comes a study that shows something incredibly obvious in this youth-obsessed society.  Its conclusion: that older people enjoy reading negative stories about young people because it boosts their self-esteem.

The study was conducted in Germany.  It found that teens and twenty-somethings were able to pick up self-esteem boosts easily but for older people, who are considered not as valuable by society, the self esteem boosts came from digs against the young.  People were tested with magazine articles and surveys.  Researchers noted which magazine stories they went for and then asked them self-esteem questions later. Older folks in the study were drawn to negative stories about younger people and ignored stories about those older than themselves.  Young people were lured by the positive stories of the young.

I find this predictable but kind of funny in light of a thought I had the other night while I was sealing the new covering on the entry steps.  A bunch of teenage girls came along and they were giggling and talking loudly as if they owned the world which, as far as I can recall, they believe they actually do.  Older people are just accessories in the photo-layout of their lives.  So now that I’m closing in on a half-century myself, I am aware that it’s how I’m seen by young people.  And I find that amusing because, in most cases, they are just irritating little specks in MY life!  It’s not that I don’t care about them on a human level.  I would toss myself in front of a bus to save anyone’s kid, no question, no hesitation. But outside of a life-and-death situation,  passing them in herd on the street, lined up behind them at Tim’s, they’re not so important and they’re certainly not more important than me!  Admit it – they can be damn annoying if you don’t know and love them. Just because they think they are the only beings that truly matter doesn’t mean I have to subscribe to the theory.  Youth is, indeed, wasted on the young.