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The Battle of the Ages



Old People

They're obviously mortal enemies.

(Today’s battle theme was suggested by Mr. Joey Samaniego.)

Babies. Ugh. Just the word itself brings a sour spittle taste to my mouth. Babies are sticky, unpredictable, and can’t be reasoned with. For some reason, they all put off a faint McDonald’s french fry smell. (And not the “I’m about to grab a fist full of fresh, hot, deliciously salty fries” smell you get pulling out of the drive-through. This is the “Who left a bag of McDonald’s fries under the couch for a week?” smell of neglect.) Yes, we were all babies at one time, so any complaints I have can also be lobbed at 1980s’ Jillian. But that’s another big dent in their appeal: everyone worships babies like they’re some sort of ultra-rare, mythical beast. Like that one species of unicorn that drools champagne and has teeth made of Kryptonite. Well, they’re not. There are a lot of children in the world, and most of them aren’t as-seen-on-Oprah genius-babies.

Old people, however, often are the stuff of legends. They’re living history lessons. What can your grandparents teach you? Oh, what it was like to live through World War II firsthand. Your neighbors’ baby might have a similarly inspiring story in 70 years or so, but it won’t matter to us. We’ll be dead, and just hoping the children of today aren’t corpse-desecrating grave pirates.

Besides actually having life experience and stories to recount, you know what else makes old people’s stories worthwhile? They can talk. To interact with a baby, you have to make up some nonsense language and just pretend to be making a connection, while everyone nearby judges your baby bilingual skills. Maybe this isn’t babies’ faults in particular–they didn’t request that our primary means of communication with them be an utter joke. But that means that baby proponents need to canvass for equal speech rights for babies. No more of this “googoo” crap. “Whoojywhoojywhoo!” is out of the question. I can’t even acknowledge the use of “widdle” anymore. If I want to tell a baby their fat little cheeks are adorable, I should be able to say “Hello, miniature sir. I find your corpulent jowls quite pleasing to the eye.”

There’s also a key percentage issue that comes into play here: every baby—no matter how smart, adorable, advanced, or talented—needs to be taken care of. Yes, some elderly also need assistance once they reach a certain point in their life, but many live out the entirety of their post-baby days with no help whatsoever. 100% of babies need care, attention, and your valuable time. I’m not going to make up some wacky and inaccurate percentage for old people, but it’s obviously not 100%. Probably more like 63%.

Finally, my personal vendetta argument: babies don’t like me. I’m not sure which came first, babies disliking me or vice versa, but I’ve always found people older than myself quite amiable. That might have something to do with being raised with Southern politeness: “sir,” “ma’am,” “please,” and “thank you” will usually rank you favorably with the elderly (and gentlemanly) crowd. Babies don’t really response to pleasantries, and the tike that spit his applesauce all over your dress will be a repeat offender in spite of your “Please don’t do that, sir,” request. And yet you will get in trouble for spitting back. You can’t win with babies.

Old people, for the win.