Jem Beedoo

Jem Beedoo is an Auckland writer

Jem Beedoo: Different kinds of things bring happiness through the ages

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Olo Brown. Photo / Getty Images
Olo Brown. Photo / Getty Images

"Olo Brown wants a boat and he'll be happy; my daughter wants my attention and I know she'll be happy. Where's the balance in that?"

These are the words of Craig Dowd, the great, great loosehead prop, in a Wellington hotel lobby in 1997. And what he says is so relevant to different things pleasing different ages. It really is.

The young-uns (2 to 4-year-olds) will have their morning made by a simple bag of sweets, or two. A grotesque old man of 25 in parting with a couple of bucks will have his morning made seeing their reaction. Boy, are they elated. Gee, are they elated. So much so, your own neuroses are firmly forgotten and take a back seat, for a good half-day.

A woman of 37 will rejoice if someone remarks on her youthful appearance. She'll be a box of birds for a good six months, let me tell you. Her better half will hear all about his previous failure to remark thus. You can bet your bottom dollar she'll live it to the full and he'll suffer for it. Priorities differ down the generations, needless to say.

A young fellow of 14 will be mightily chuffed if his mate's elder brother gives him a lift home, especially if he doesn't have an elder brother himself. To him, a lift from someone other than an immediate family member is a minor miracle. Not to mention, someone's elder brother is so darn cool when one is so young. Their comments on everything will be gospel, especially those to do with the scarier sex. The five-minute car ride will be the highlight of the young bloke's year, no doubt.

Fast forward a few years and the same youth will be as happy as a sand boy to be driving a car around on his own. While his elders are dreading putting pedal to the metal amongst the other hostile Kiwi drivers, you better bloody believe he'll be content and well-pleased having his own set of wheels. You wait.

Many in what I like to call Generation Renovation (35-49) are happy with flash holidays, flash sunglasses and ridiculous bursts of binge fitness to prove eternal youth. Free time doesn't exist to this lot. They just go and they go and they go. Why should you be allowed to have a two-minute beer with your mates while I'm with the kids all day?

A woman of 18-20 will do all she can to look five to seven years older, so when she isn't "ID-ed" for this, that and the other, it's party time. To be acknowledged as a woman is paramount to her happiness.

Then, ironically, a man of the same age will innocently tell a woman of 23-25 she's "become a woman" and there'll be hell to pay. She'll have his guts for garters, never you mind! So, you grow up and learn: a girl wants to be a woman and a woman wants to be a girl. It's tough to get one's head around, that sense of irony.

A man who turns 50 is cheesed off, by all accounts. He figures "it's all downhill from here" and will be maudlin all year. He feels old, old, old. I feel like telling him: Everything sags in time. However, I was told by a Hawaiian health coach "if you're over 24, you're in the older half of the world's population".

By rights, I have every right to be maudlin all year, but who cares?

- NZ Herald

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