Rage and Age
It was a zany story. And, with the country bitterly divided over politics and a scary polar vortex about to frostbite half the nation, that may be what we need right now.
Perhaps you read about Friday’s Massachusetts road rage incident that caused one driver to leap onto the hood of another motorist’s car and that driver to head down the Massachusetts Turnpike with the other guy hanging on to his windshield wipers.
The driver behind the wheel hit speeds of 70 mph or so, but the angry man plastered to the hood held fast. Heck, according to some news reports, he even managed to phone 911 while serving as a human hood ornament.
Other motorists - including one with a pistol, in Massachusetts! - finally boxed in the runaway SUV and held the driver at gunpoint until police arrived.
Sounds like a scene from a Liam Neeson action movie, doesn’t it? Only no one died.
Check out a few headlines:
Video Shows a 65-year-old Clinging To The Hood Of An SUV As It Raced Through Traffic, The Washington Post
Massachusetts Man, 65, Clings To Hood Of SUV on Turnpike in Suspected Road Rage, Fox News.
65 Year Old Man Clings To Hood of Car In Wild Massachusetts Road Rage Incident, CBS News.
Notice anything about these headlines, other than the fact that none of the writers could think of a verb other than “cling”?
Yep, each included the age of hood clinger, Richard Kamrowski. That’s odd, because ages don’t often find their way into headlines. Unless, of course, the subject of the story is extremely old or extremely young.
And that’s the rub
If a 2-year-old sped down the interstate on the bonnet of a car, THAT would be a headline. Same goes for a 100-year-old hood rider.
But 65 isn’t that old anymore. Let alone very, very old. Or too old to hang onto a moving car. How much youthful strength does that take? Pretty sure I could do it and I can bench press only 45 pounds.
Would headline writers mention the age of Human Hood Ornament if he’d been 30? Nope. 40? Nah. 50? Probably not.
Ageism, my friends.
Sixty seems to be the magic number - in the world of news, anyway - that turns a guy into a geezer. Shoot, Massachusetts even sets the “elderly” apart as a special class of victim, with enhanced penalties for hurting these decrepit beings. Mark Fitzgerald, the 37-year-old driver of the SUV was charged with “assault with a dangerous weapon on a person over age 60,” while the Human Hood Ornament was charged with disorderly conduct.
According to the police, the two men were involved in a “minor side-swipe incident” that escalated. According to reports, Kamrowski - no doubt casting aside his cane and his catheter - leapt onto the hood of the 2016 Infiniti as the whippersnapper attempted to leave the scene.
The young guy drove about three miles with the silver-haired man glaring at him through wrinkles and the windshield, while shouting for him to “stop!”
Here’s my question: Is 65 old?
Not according to a number of recent pieces by researchers who study trends in aging. Thanks to good nutrition and active lifestyles, many scientists say middle age now extends into one’s 70s, with old age setting in around 74.
This is excellent news for Baby Boomers.
So here’s some advice for America’s young headline writers: If a dude can hood slide like Bo Duke, he ain’t old.
Let him just be a “man” in your headlines, no age needed. Someday you’ll be 65 and you’ll understand why.