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Adultism: A Condition That Afflicts Those of a Certain Age

07/21/2014 12:24 pm ET | Updated Sep 20, 2014
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Don't judge someone else's parent. That might be Adultism.

My 30-year-old son thinks I don't notice that he cringes and distances himself from me when my behavior embarrasses him. I know he doesn't really need to use the bathroom when he jumps up from the table in a restaurant after I've asked a server how much longer we will have to wait before the food arrives, or when I've used an unpleasant tone while requesting -- what he calls "demanding" -- more water, napkins or a larger portion of amuse bouche.

I don't deserve to be criticized. I have a condition. It's common among people of my age though it hasn't yet been officially recognized by that organization, oh, what's its name, don't tell me, The World Health Organization. Forgetting is another symptom of this syndrome that will, I'm sure, come to be known as adultism. I should check if www.adultism.com is taken. Turns out it's a porn site. Okay, maybe www.adultism.net. Yet another porn site.

Those of us who are afflicted have a tendency to be unrestrained, have a readiness to criticize and to speak too loudly. Restaurants are particularly difficult for us. We automatically reject the first table we're given, assuming the management has a policy of seating us so that we won't be seen or heard by other diners. We complain about the noise level, the service and the way every dish has been prepared. We choose shoes for comfort and repeat stories, steering the conversation to health issues whenever possible. We are fixated on doctors and never tire of saying how things used to be better. Other symptoms of adultism (not the porn sites) are the inability to open attachments, difficulty with remote control units and a habit of misplacing thin

There is no such thing as early detection for adultism. It strikes somewhere between maturity and assisted living.