A Bumpy Ride on the Road of Betty White

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As usual, several burning concerns need your attention and action, so as Bette Davis warned in All about Eve: "It's going to be a bumpy ride." The May 17 New York Times City Room blog post "A Target Older Than the Jokes at Her Roast" dismissed anyone "easily offended" by Friar's Club roast jokes. The "older" target was Betty White, "still going strong" at age 90. But you don't have to be easily offended to object to jibes about the many vicissitudes of old age that cause so much-often untold-hardship, above all the brain failures that cripple both body and mind and strokes where the mind is painfully aware of a helpless body. My dear cousins, Virginia and Paul, recently departed this life after prolonged suffering from respectively, a stroke and brain failure. And jokes about countless debilitating developments make elders ashamed, even of using a cane or wrinkles, hair loss and other superficials-forget walkers, hearing aids, dentures and incontinence. "But White is known to get as down and dirty as anyone?and chided the attacks as being too tame." The "attacks" derided all the above. These awful ailments need to be cried about-and cried OUT about, for infinitely more empathic understanding and all-out passion to find effective treatment and cures. If only White would include human elders in her animal activist work. And let's lament the's benefit concert's small audience in the Heavenly Rest Church chapel last Saturday afternoon while multitudes cycled, jogged, scootered and strolled right by on their way to Central Park. Blame physical obsession and spiritual indifference, perhaps? The latter also endangers the Christian Science Church on East 63rd Street I only learned of because the CEO of Our Town and The West Side Spirit, Tom Allon, has spent most of his adult life providing community news "we need to live by." So on your 50th birthday, Tom, we wholeheartedly wish for whatever you and your family need most! And, of course, scowl, not laugh at any ageist joke and card in response to your half-century of living. Join the protest against toxic environments such as those created by Duane Reade's new zigzagging aisles and lowered claustrophobic ceilings exuding blinding fluorescent lights, which had civic activist Ellie Sankey so stressed she chose a graduation instead of a birthday card and "couldn't wait to get out of there!" To quote Russell Baker, "Progress strikes again!" dewingbetter@aol.com

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