Age is Not Mandatory to Possess Common Sense

Lately, I've noticed a trend starting on this site, especially amongst the older. . .achem. . . I meant more EXPERIENCED. . . gentlemen. It's nothing that doesn't go on in normal society, but it's relatively new here. I'm speaking of the tendency to dismiss, even deride, the opinions of us young bucks based purely upon our age.

Surely, there's a lot of younger men and boys on here who are what my granddad used to call "broadcasters without sponsors", but age is not the only requirement for knowledge or common sense. Plenty of men with gray in their beard are just as full of it. I agree that experience is vital. So, to those who might question my credentials for dispensing advice, or projecting an opinion, here they are:

As a child, I chose to listen to the elderly rather than kiss the asses of the youthful. I listened, and I learned. I started and operated a successful business at the age of thirteen. It's still helping to pay the rent (barely). I've worked for my money since I was the same age. I've stood watch over a cancer ridden mother and cared for a dying grandfather. I've felt frustration, pain, anger, shame, and guilt. And I've moved past them. I've paid for my college tuition. I've worked in jobs where you needed boots to wade through the shit, and ones where a suit was required. I've worked beside political candidates, and watched as the best man (or woman) consistently lost to the worst. I've rubbed elbows with the rich and the somewhat powerful, and I've lived next to the poorest and the lowest of society. I've bled in a fight, I've sweated under the sun, and I have paid my way. My hair may not be gray, but my shoulders are broad and my eyes are open.

These are my credentials. I possess neither advanced age nor advanced wisdom. But I have been paying my dues since I knew such a thing was required. I've been around the block, through the neighborhood, and become far more familiar with its dark alleys than I would ever like to admit. I'm not perfect and I'm certainly no genius. What I am is a man who has experienced just enough to have an opinion, and survived enough to know he has some common sense. Choose not to listen, if you wish. That is, after all, your prerogative.


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Comment by Cora Evans on January 27, 2011 at 2:57am
Thank you. Choice words I'm inclined to agree with.
Comment by Clint Connolly on January 18, 2011 at 7:03pm

"As a child, I chose to listen to the elderly rather than kiss the asses of the youthful. I listened, and I learned."

 

Great blog - great point!

Comment by Jamie Q on August 31, 2010 at 10:42am
Well said, Jack. Respect should be given based on the content of a person's words, not based on his age.

That being said, the younger guys on this site need to keep a healthy respect for the older, more experienced men who have "been there, done that." Their elders may not necessarily be smarter, wiser, or more "right," but they usually have a heck of a lot more life experience to draw from; there's simply no substitute for decades spent walking the earth.
Comment by Bob Farvour on August 29, 2010 at 1:06pm
I can't help but laugh at shaving advice from a fifteen year old...
Comment by Justin on August 29, 2010 at 12:59pm
I think that is true enough, Jack- but as you have before noted and some of us have observed, you have on occasion allowed an over-assessment of your own experience and wisdom to cause you to speak when you should not. I have done the same. Hubris is a quality that good men unlearn through trial and error.

Write with conviction, by all means, but stay in your lane.
Comment by Will on August 29, 2010 at 9:12am
I'm going to say I don't think you need your credentials for dispensing (solicited) advice. (I think all advice should be solicited, but there's another issue.) If your advice is worthy, I don't care who gave it. Know that us old and old-ish guys don't pat every young man here on the head and say "wait 20 years and then open your mouth." At our best -- when we aren't being immature jerks ourselves -- it's only the ones whose words show a lack of understanding; and we listen to *you* as an equal. Because as far as I'm concerned, all men are men, from initiation to death.

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