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Omdahl: Antiques Roadshow spawns aging issues

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opinion Dickinson, 58602
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Prairie Public’s Antiques Roadshow will be in Bismarck on May 31. Ruth is elated because she wants to have me appraised. She says it will be better than an MRI to have one of those Roadshow appraisers look me over and decide whether I am real or fake. She already knows I am an antique.

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We watch the Antiques Roadshow. It’s nostalgic to see all of those things we grew up with. In some cases, people are getting big bucks for stuff we could have saved if we had known.

Some folks come up with real pricey antiques bought at garage sales or salvaged from dumpsters. The Roadshow has really helped the garage sale market. Of course, the garbage collectors hate to see all of that junk scattered around the dumpsters.

Ruth is on the right track. As we get older, one could start out real and become fake. I don’t know of any aging person who is proud of approaching inevitable decrepitness. So we fake it.

The Medicare people appreciate it when we pretend we don’t need medical help. Of course, there are always some folks who have no self-respect running to the doctor for every hangnail. They think they are cheating the government but taxpayers are the victims.

Auction sales used to be real entertainment for me. I loved the camaraderie of other cheapskates. I would even buy something once in a while. I have 57 screwdrivers to prove it. That’s not an exaggeration; it’s an actual count. I find it difficult to resist those boxes of junk going for a dollar.

But I no longer have any interest in durable goods. The only advertisements in the Sunday paper that interest me are the grocery inserts and restaurant discount coupons. Immediate usables.

One time, Phil Harmeson, my associate in the University of North Dakota Bureau of Governmental Affairs, was trying to persuade former Gov. John Davis to buy airline tickets 30 days in advance to save money on his travel to a gathering of governors we were sponsoring.

“Look!” Davis exclaimed. “I don’t even buy green bananas.”

It was an old line but really funny when said by a former governor.

Folks respond to becoming antiques in unpredictable ways. Some decide to splurge on fancy vehicles to burn up the estate before they go. Apparently, they doubt the intelligence of their spendthrift kids. Often, for good reason.

At our house, we are on the frugal side. In fact, our car is so old it eats hay. I buy tires one at a time — as needed. A gas fill is now five gallons. As for my aged pickup, it has none. If it were a horse, I would shoot it.

Pharmacies are now authorized to go from 30-day to 90-day supplies of drugs. Just think of the windfall with folks leaving huge drug collections behind after Medicare has paid for them. Most medications are going to outlive people.

Gun fever has seniors behaving as though they were fighting snakes. The National Rifle Association has them believing they needs guns to “stand” their ground even though they don’t have anything worth stealing.

With reduced cognitive skills, they are more likely to shoot themselves than a burglar skulking in the dark. Their homes have never been burglarized but everybody needs something to fear. It justifies irrationality.

The man said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. It seems that fear is back. I am beginning to fear the fear of others, especially when they have guns.

I wonder if the Antiques Roadshow will have rest areas.

Omdahl is former North Dakota lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email him at ndmatters@q.com.

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