My wife and I now cannot sit down to watch TV without one of us asking, at some point during or after the broadcast; “guess how old he is?”
This is because neither of us can fully comprehend how young most famous people are today, or, if they do look ancient, why Wikipedia tells us that they’re actually the same age as us.
It is a phenomenon that has been occurring for a number of years now, made worse recently by the realisation that we are older than the British Prime Minister and the same age as the President of France – both of whom are negotiating complex EU trade deals, while we negotiate Aldi.
Take newsreaders and weather forecasters as a further case in point. When we were growing up, the news was read by authoritative-looking old men with side partings, while the weather was presented by bespectacled physics teachers.
Today, senior TV news correspondents – complete with obligatory North Face jackets – look like they’ve just graduated, and weather forecasters like they’re still doing their A-levels.
Of course, nothing is more satisfying than those rare occasions when you see a celebrity on TV looking old and tired, only to find that they’re younger than you. They may have the fame and fortune, but you can sleep easy in the knowledge that you’d beat them in a 10K road race.
On the whole though, the proliferation of young people in positions of fame and influence – especially those demonstrating a high level of expertise, skill or knowledge – makes for a depressing reminder of how little we’ve actually achieved, as well as of how little we actually know.
For instance, listening to a 25-year-old talk eloquently and with confidence on the finer details of the Northern Ireland protocol on the news this week was soul destroying, mainly because I have scant knowledge of the post-Brexit saga and would probably struggle to locate Dublin on a map.
Furthermore, when it turns out that the actors, presenters, music stars and other assorted celebs are closer in age to your own children than they are to you, it’s only a matter of time until you start to utter the inevitable; “we’re old enough to be his/her parents,” and reach swiftly for the gin.
In the meantime though, my wife and I will continue to interrupt our TV programmes by using our phones to Google the age of the people we’re watching, missing large chunks of the plot line as we debate how good or rough they look for their age.
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