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SATURDAY’S CHILD – You’re over the hill …

marciadottin, [email protected]

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On July 10, a man went to a bank in Manhattan, New York, holding a threatening note under a leafy plant, in a pot, and handed it to a teller. He reached over the counter andd grabbed the cash before he fled, leaving the plant behind.  This was perhaps the first ever case of robbery with violets.  Then the man staged a second hold-up, this time with a bouquet of flowers.  According to news reports, a man who looked more like he was on his way to a date than a bank job, strolled up to staff in the Manhattan bank carrying the flowers.  He then plucked a card from the bouquet and handed it to the teller. But it was far from a declaration of love and demanded they hand him wads of cash.  “Give me all of your $100s, $50s and don’t be a hero,” said the note.  After being given the money, the robber quickly fled the scene. He did however pause for long enough to leave the flowers behind for the distressed bank teller.  In New York, the press and police call him the “bouquet” bandit – a thorn in the side of law enforcement. However, the “bouquet bandit”, despite how quickly he “rose” to prominence, is not in the same league as the old-timer known as the “Geezer” bandit.  According to a CNN news report: “A Southern California bank robber dubbed the “geezer bandit” has struck again, possibly knocking off his 11th bank, the FBI said.  “The suspect held up a Bank of America branch in Temecula on Thursday.  ‘During [the] robbery, the robber approached the victim teller and presented a demand note for cash,’ a statement from the FBI said. ‘The robber carried a leather case which contained a small calibre pistol that he threatened to use, if the teller did not comply with his demands.’   “The FBI believes the suspect is responsible for robbing ten banks in San Diego County and one in Riverside County.”The “Geezer”, or old-timer bandit, reminds me of a 1979 comedy/drama called Going In Style.  According to the film’s synopsis, “Joe (George Burns), Al (Art Carney), and Willie (Lee Strasberg) are three senior citizens who share a small apartment in New York City.  They live off social security cheques and spend their days sitting on a park bench, reading newspapers, feeding pigeons, and fending off obnoxious children. 
It is a dull life, and finally Joe is driven to suggest something radical to break the monotony: why not go on a stick-up? . . . The trio, disguised with novelty Groucho Marx sunglasses, pull off their heist to the tune of US$35 000.”So what motivates this “Geezer” bandit apart from the need to demonstrate that truth is generally much stranger than fiction?  Money, obviously, but could boredom and the need for celebrity status, something that seems fundamental to the American psyche, be responsible?  According to the FBI, the “Geezer” is between 60 and 70 years old, approximately six feet, 190 pounds, of average build and has been known to wear prescription eyeglasses and various hats and caps, including a blue baseball cap with a script style “P” on the front.  While some people have suggested that the bandit might be wearing a mask to make him look old, the majority of eyewitnesses believe that the “Geezer” appearance is not a disguise.While I am not six feet tall even with platform shoes, and 190 pounds is literally behind me, I am right between 60 and 70 and in less than a month would reach the mid-point.  What do other people of that age do apart from carrying out armed robberies?  I looked at a book by Andrew Postman called What’s In An Age? and discovered that at the age of 60, Alfred Hitchcock directed Psycho (something that happens to you in old age if I judge by the behaviour of a few people I have worked for).  Dom Perignon created the champagne that made his name famous. This is despite the fact that at the age of 60, you’ve spent over 20 years in bed and three years eating.  At 61, Annie Oakley, the famous sharpshooter, destroyed 98 of 100 clay pigeons in an exhibition in North Carolina.  When Louis Pasteur was 62, he gave a patient the first ever injection against rabies.  Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French engineer, did not complete the Suez Canal until he was 63.At that same age, Hugh Heffner married a 26-year-old Playmate while conductor Leopold Stokowski married the 21-year-old Gloria Vanderbilt.  Walter Noble shot a 64 on the Oakland’s golf course, becoming the youngest golfer ever to shoot his age.At 64 going on 65 and not being a golfer, what is there for me to do?  Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the first of her Little House on the Prairie books at 65.  Winston Churchill became the British Prime Minister.  Mary Leakey discovered fossil footprints in Tanzania that were 3.5 million years old and self-styled “Colonel”
Harland Sanders drove around the United States looking to license his special “finger-lickin’ good” chicken recipe and started to build the Kentucky Fried Chicken empire. So there is hope for us all even if we have no secret recipe or eschew banditry as a vocation, unless we are over the hill.  There are many signs to let us know. These include – happy hour is a nap in the afternoon; you can live without sex but not without your glasses; your ears have more hair than your head; and even your birthday suit needs pressing.  Worse, it is when you reach the point that comedian Rodney Dangerfield feared when he quipped: “I got up this morning, put on a shirt and a button fell off.  I picked up my briefcase and the handle fell off.  I’m afraid to go to the bathroom.”lTony Deyal was last seen saying you know you’re over the hill when your partner says: “Let’s go upstairs and make love” and your answer is, “Darling, I can’t do both!”