an old man wearing a blue face mask

We’re seasoned citizens, not expendable! Don’t count us out.

When in my 30s, I was a bit saddened when businesses and establishments stopped asking me for my ID. It seemed to happen all at once.

After all, when I passed through the halls of Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, supervisors on this large campus stopped me and tried to shoo me back to class — until I showed them my teacher ID badge and enjoyed a little chuckle within myself after seeing how young they perceived me to be.

I never really minded it, but started to miss it as I understood I was aging.

But it came around again, in a manner unforeseen.

The pandemic we are experiencing has kept the majority of us seniors hunkered down at home, venturing out only for a short walk or a run to the grocery store if we have no one to shop for us. When I do make my way to the store, I treat my shopping list as a permission slip in case I’m stopped on the way (not being able to totally discard my teacher mentality).

Special hours have been set aside for us on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the grocery stores to keep us safe from the onslaught of shoppers, and I’m pleased to see they are checking IDs to see that we are old enough to take advantage of early entry times.

But now it’s on the other end.

So being carded when you’re young may be a delightful nuisance, but being carded when you’re older now has certain advantages. Even Ross Dress for Less has learned this, establishing Tuesdays as a 10-percent discount day for seniors.

Yes, we do all show up, and most of the time we’re not even asked for our ID because our faces are all the ID the cashiers need, unfortunately.

As we entertain ourselves at home online, reading the newspapers and watching TV, we learn how little value some assign to our existence.

Certain loud-mouthed politicians whose brains, if they truly have any, have been hijacked by their bigotry, economic self-concern and lack of compassion, spew quotes opining that life comes second to a robust economy, and seniors should consider themselves expendable.

If we, and the infirm, homeless and minoritized, would only disappear, things would be better for all. How old is Dr. Fauci? Should he disappear, as well? I know some on the right are trying their best to make this happen, but the rest of the world cheers him on.

The majority of us, seasoned citizens who have enjoyed professional careers, are not about to turn off our brains and not respond. We’re not at home lying in coffins dressed in our funereal best awaiting what some wish for us. We’re not ready for shiva sitting.

We will unite in our own ways, show our strength in numbers and work for the indivisible from home to unseat the empathy-lacking elected who would lead us all to hatred, ruin and death.

Don’t count us out. Instead, count on us to get done what others can’t or won’t.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.

Evie Groch

Evie Groch of El Cerrito works for Cal State University East Bay, supervising new and aspiring administrators. She has a Ph.D. in education and is an educational mentor, consultant and coach who enjoys writing in a variety of genres.