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About A Week: Vintage Mature Wrinklies

Please, please, please don't call Peter Hinchliffe a wrinklie.

Please, please don’t call me vintage. I don’t wish to be mistaken for a bottle of Bordeaux’s best red.

Don’t call me mature either. Makes me sound like an ageing chunk of Cheddar cheese.

While we’re at it terms such as wrinklies, old fogeys, and gerries should be chucked into the lexicological dustbin.

Geriatric indeed! There are people in their sixties and seventies who would leave folk half their age waddling far behind in a brisk hike to the top of Bleaklow in the Peak District.

Words dictate attitudes. Words such as “old age pensioners’’. Those three poisonous arrangements of letters conjure up bleak pictures. Zimmer frames. Shuffling feet. Grey-haired ghosts stumbling towards the Post Office to receive a weekly handout…

Facts challenge the tawdry name tags. People these days are retiring earlier, staying healthier, living longer. Go down to the local gym and you are as likely to see a 65-year-old pedalling away or swimming sinuous dolphin lengths as you are a 35-year-old.

Small wonder that a Norwich Union survey revealed that the over 60s resent being branded as old age pensioners. Some of the suggested alternatives aren’t much better.

Matures, seniors, veterans, seasoned, vintage, swels (seniors with energetic life styles).

When I was in my teens I resented being called kid or young ’un. I was eager to be welcomed into the adult world.

Now I’m at the other end of life’s time-scale, and they try to stick another bunch of labels on me. Being called an OAP is derisory as being referred to as a kid.

If you call me anything, call me Peter. Or better still, Hinchy.

Could it be that some of the insulting labels stuck on the over 60s arise out of envy? There you are in the working world, up to your armpits in stressful duties.. And there are folk who no longer have to go out to work, blissfully awakening to another day of leisure.

Can’t let them get away with that. Let’s call them names. Wrinklies. Gerries. Old bags. Old fogeys.

The resentment will increase when younger people realise they face working to 70 and beyond to avoid poverty in retirement. The Pensions Policy Institute says a 25-year-old saving 11 % of earnings will have to work to 72 to achieve a decent pension.

Time for some radical thinking. Time to contemplate abolishing retirement?

Before Britain becomes top-heavy with ever-poorer pensioners, let’s think of rearranging working lives. Work five days a week in your 20s, four days in your 30s, three in your 40s, two in your 50s, and one when you are 60 and over.

More leisure time with family and friends for younger ones. Those of riper years required to go on contributing to society, unless a doctor asserts unfitness to do so.

And less of the name-calling of those with grey hair.


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