People Share Anecdotes From Older Generations That Changed Their Point Of View
There is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to be gained simply by listening to our elders. The stories they can tell, and the advice they can give, are invaluable!
Reddit user u/flyingkumot asked:
"Askreddit, what's the most interesting anecdote an elderly person has told you that has significantly changed your views in life?"
Just Have To Get Through It
Sometimes you're not meant to go over, or under, or around it. Sometimes, you're meant to go through it. You just have to get through it.
Elderly client in a lucid state, describing his battle with dementia.
Don't Miss Out
I was at a close friends wedding and most of his family was fairly well off. Many of them were feeling nostalgic because they were surrounded by family and everyone has grown up. Many said they regretted how many hours they worked when their kids were young in order to be a better provider. Up until recently I was making great money and working 60+ hours a week. When I noticed what I was giving up I did some networking and took a job as a contractor in a small consulting company. I work 40 hours a week now and leave my laptop at the office and don't have work email on my phone. I now feel like more of a provider because I'm a lot more active in my family's lives and it's awesome.
One Crime At A Time
"Don't do more than one illegal thing at a time. That's what gets you caught." Security guard at my high school. It's good advice.
- Don't break the rules
- If you break the rules, don't get caught.
- If you get caught, take responsibility for your actions and make yourself better.
- If you can't do number 3, refer to rule number 1.
The World Won't Change For You
Met a woman in a nursing home while on clinicals who the nurses called a nightmare. Actually talked to her and she was not only incredibly kind, but also wise.
Not an anecdote, but she said something she lived by was a poem she had memorized in grade school. "Suppose", by Phoebe Cary. Just a snippet, but I recommend reading the whole thing:
And suppose the world don't please you, Nor the way some people do, Do you think the whole creation Will be altered just for you? And is n't it, my boy or girl, The wisest, bravest plan, Whatever comes, or does n't come, To do the best you can?
She allowed me to record her reciting the poem. I'll remember her fondly, and I hope the nurses treated her well after we left.
Love Isn't Found, It's Built
Met an elderly hispanic lady at a bus stop in Albuquerque. We went back and forth in Spanish for a bit (I'm a white guy so she was pleasantly surprised) and she told me about her travel plans to go to her son's wedding--a real cute story involving him and his high school sweetheart finding each other after a long time being broken up.
I had recently been dumped, and said something a bit mopey like "I wish I could find love like that someday."
She smiled, shook her head and said "Chico, love like that isn't just found. It's built. How many perfect, decorated temples do you think my ancestors stumbled across in Tikal or Tenochtitlan? No. They found a good, level spot, maybe some water nearby, and said 'Here. We can build something here.' Look for a clearing in the forest, young man. Not a hidden city."
That one will stick with me for years.
Do It Smart
"If you're going to do something stupid, do it smart." We were playing with... "Fireworks" at the time
That was a lesson that I've taken to every job I've worked at since. Every time I go to do a job I look it over and see the stupid things I am about to do (Dangerous parts of my job) and try to figure out how to do it smart (Figure out how to minimize the danger in my work.
Tougher Before You Start
"The path looks tougher and longer before you start walking." My grandad used to say something similar to that , can't translate it perfectly. He passed away a couple of years back. When I think of him, I always remember these words.
My Nannie grew up in rural NC after the Great Depression to a poor family. She had hundreds of great stories about life growing up "on the Charles" or her grandparents' farm, but one that sticks with me, and will color how I raise my daughter, was about Christmas. She and her siblings believed in Santa, but they rarely got more than fruit or maybe new clothes as presents. She would return to school and see a little girl in her class that was a notorious bully and particularly cruel to Nannie with fancy new dolls, new clothes, things money could get you and she felt awful because she believed she was doing her best to be a good student, to be a caretaker for her younger siblings, to follow her religious beliefs. Traditional Santa mythos tells you good gets rewarded but that's devastating for kids who work hard at following the rules, being kind, etc. and still get nothing.
If You Know Better, Do Better
Once you become aware of a wrong doing or injustice - the responsibility to correct that in yourself can not be ignored.
Basically if you know better - you're required to do better.
Olowale was his name , he was a family friend originally from Nigeria. He was super smart and very humbled. He taught 14 year old me a lot about self responsibility and has no idea how much that one thing clicked for me and changed my life.
The Past Affects Us Forever
For my college religion class, we visited a Jewish Synagogue and observed their service. They have a ritual where they pray for loved ones who have died, and an old woman (80-90) participated with tears in her eyes. The Rabbi explained to us that she was a Holocaust survivor, and only she was able to escape as a girl. She didn't know if anyone in her family was dead or alive, but since they're presumed dead, she still prays for them every service. That really hit me, because people my age tend to think of the Holocaust as more of a historical event that happened a long time ago. But for these people, it's ever present in their lives. They also had a Torah that was badly burned that had been recovered from the Holocaust, I think as a reminder of those that were lost.
Have you ever found yourself in an argument so stupid and/or pointless that you were sure you were being punked? Like you keep looking away from the other person to check your surroundings for places Ashton Kutcher and a camera crew could come popping out of?
You're not the only one.
u/Anti-hollowkid asked: What is the dumbest argument you've ever been in?Brace yourselves, folks. Some of these arguments are breathtakingly bonkers. The sheer number of people who are willing to argue with someone over provable facts and what that other person likes or doesn't like is just ... stunning. It's stunning, you guys. Just not in a good way.
I Know What I LikeGiphy
My wife and I once argued over whether or not I liked mustard on my hot dog. I was for me liking mustard, she was against me liking mustard.
The argument lasted way longer that you could ever imagine it would.
A Stair Step
My brother and I argued if our staircase had 13 or 14 steps, based on an argument about if the floor of the second floor counts as a stair-step or not. We still have no solution.
My dad is a stairbuilder and I spent many summers working at his warehouse, so I can clear this up. 14.
My husband and I have this thing where we only say "I love you" on Saturdays. Every other day it's "I love you, but only on Saturdays." I don't know how it started, but it's been going for 11 years now.
We're both shiftworkers, so sometimes we have to stop and think what day it actually is. We had an argument recently over whether it was Saturday or not. I said it was Saturday, he said it was Friday. It was Monday.
I remember when I was about 13 my parents had an hour-long shouting match that ended with them almost getting divorced. The issue? Whether or not the nation of Iraq has a coastline.
My mother arguing that Iraq had a coastline, while my stepdad argued that it did not. This was back in 2004, and they are still quite happily married to this day. That incident is something they look back on and laugh about, and both of them admit it was really a pretty stupid thing to argue over.
With an ex:
"I owe you $80 for the bills of ours that you pay, and you owe me $40 for the bills of ours that I paid. Here's $40 in cash; we're even."
She did not understand this.
I literally had to go get another $40 out of the ATM, and hand the $80 to her. Then I had her hand me the $40 she owed me.
"Now how much do you have in your hand?"
She still didn't understand.
She somehow has a college degree.
When we were kids my brother and I got in a physical fight because he said I like mini wheats and I insisted I didn't. His argument was that I always sang the mini wheats song and I was deeply offended that he wasn't aware that it was just stuck in my head but I hated the cereal. I actually did like the cereal I'm not sure why I was arguing with him about it but I remember how genuinely angry I was.
I'll tell you about the only legal trouble I've ever been in, the fight that got me arrested. It started over whether we should return a box of crayons or not, and to this day I don't have any idea how it escalated to the point of the cops being called, but they were and I was the one taken in.
My boyfriend insisted that when two people are in an argument and one makes a point so reasonable and logical the other one can't disagree with it - it's unfair. I tried, logically and reasonably, to explain several times why that is just winning the argument, proving your point thoroughly and is completely fair.
His answer was that I was being unfair.
How the ch in masochism is pronounced. My friend caught me saying "masoKism" while he would say "masoSYism."
To be fair, he grew up speaking French, in which the ch in masochism is pronounced in "his" way. But he insisted that I was the wrong one here and that was just infuriating.
A woman was adamant that looking at the big solar eclipse on the television was unsafe unless you were wearing glasses. She wouldn't believe us and insisted on emailing NASA to check.
A Non-Standard Ruler?
I worked for a company that made signs. We had a customer ask for signs that were 7mm wide that were to go on a door. Our sign makers figured the order meant inches because 7mm is pretty small, so made them 7 inches. I got a phone call from the customer who went mad at me for making them the wrong size. So I put a reorder through for 7 mm.
Argued with the sign makers over it but they eventually agreed to do it after I shown them the order in writing. I even had the customer put her complaint in writing, reiterating the size they wanted.
7mm signs went out and a day later I get the customer on the phone literally screaming at me.
Cue the dumb argument - we ended up having an argument over how big a millimetre is, and obviously everyone in the office were laughing, but this customer just wouldn't accept it and said we must be using a non-standard ruler to measure.
Ended up being escalating to the sales department manager who refused to issue a refund. We still don't know what they actually meant.
This Unusual Vegan Argument
Was in a pub with a few friends, and some random Dude dropped an ear, and somehow figured I'm vegan. Well, people like him are the reason I usually avoid mentioning it. He came up to me and insisted on starting a discussion about veganism. He claimed that by the end of it, I would be eating meat again.
He listed some stupid arguments, I told him I was not convinced and then tried to keep on drinking beer with my friends. He followed me, and wanted me to "try to convert him to a vegan." I stupidly listed some of my reasons thinking it would make him go away. He told me he still was not convinced, so I was like whatever. Again, I really just wanted to drink beer with my friends.
That dude followed me all night and expected me to try make him vegan. Doesn't matter what I said, and all the reasons that for me are obviously good enough to be vegan. He'd be just like "No, that doesn't convince me, therefore your argument and how you life is stupid."
Didn't matter how often I told him that I honestly don't care; 5 minutes later he would come up to me again "I'm still not vegan, so veganism is stupid, all your arguments were stupid, now give me a good reason to become vegan!" At one point, I was literally yelling at him that I don't give a single flying f about what he eats and why, that it's in no way my responsibility to "turn somebody vegan" and in no way his business what I eat.
Honestly, for that dude, I would have bought a whole ham, just to shove it up his stupid annoying face.
In college my roommate and I argued about a line in Monty Python & the Holy Grail. The scene with the Black Knight where the line "Alright, we'll call it a draw" is uttered. We argued about who said that line, whether it was King Arthur or the Black Knight.
It went on for hours longer than it should have because I was stubborn and refused to admit I was wrong.
Albert or ArnoldGiphy
Whether Albert Einstein or Arnold Schwarzenegger would be more useful to have around during a Zombie apocalypse. How on earth would Albert Einstein come in handy!?
Below Sea Level
I live on an island and when you go upland and you look out the sea looks like it's higher than or on the same level as the land. It's just a weird perspective thing because of the horizon. One day some kid says that it's because the island is under sea level.
I'm like wtf bro all of us would be with the fishes. He argues that no that's not true and if I just go upland I'll see. We then spend a good 5 minutes of my time arguing about it until I decided to leave this kid in his stupidity. He even said we shouldn't believe everything adults tell us and sometimes we need to think for ourselves.
This kid was older than me and was going to a good school. Lost my respect for him ever since then.
Someone tried to fight with me over how to spell my name.
Now, my name is in a lot of languages with slightly different spellings. I would have accepted any of those spellings, but this one was just... Not even close. It didn't make any logical sense.
An analogous example is if my name was Thomas and someone was insisting it was spelled Tomash. And not just the name Thomas in general, but that me specifically, on my birth certificate, was named Tomash. I know how to spell my own name.
I swear to god, it went on for like an hour.
Whales Are Mammals
I was in an online chat room one day, and we were talking about whales. I commented on how whales are mammals and the next thing you know, someone was arguing with me and trying to convince me that a whale was a fish.
Stupid microwaves. Having a man child talk down to me about how microwaves work only for him to google it and prove me right. He slept on the sofa that night.
My friend keeps telling me that the norm is that a person should shower once a week. This has been going on for years. I'm almost convinced he's trolling me.
No Balloons For Grandma
My cousin and I argued over a balloon going to Heaven. We were at his big sisters prom send off and he let a balloon go and it went high into the sky.
He then said this balloon will go up past space and go to Heaven and reach grandma (God rest her soul). And I was like no it's not and it's probably not even gonna reach space. Releasing balloons is terrible for the environment and kills/harms so much wildlife.
He got really mad and defensive and started telling me to google it and do my research and I'm like I don't have to google it you idiot. He was mad at me for a good week.
Spontaneous Dolphin ExistenceGiphy
How dolphins reproduced. It took me a few solid minutes of explaining to her that dolphins have reproductive organs and that they did not just pop into existence. The argument began with her saying she wanted to work with sea creatures.
Personally, I hope she was messing with me cause I lost a little faith in humanity that day.
I repeatedly had the argument with a friend over whether roosters were chickens. She was convinced that only the females were chickens (hens). We were 18 at the time.
Me and my friend were drinking underage, we ended up in an argument of whether lightning McQueen's eyes were blue or green. Somehow throughout the whole thing both of us never thought to straight up google a picture.
But ... Ice Floats
Woman wanted ice on the bottom of her drink.
Now read that sentence again and try to imagine arguing with that particular brand of stupid.
Time Zones Exist
Coworker claimed that it was the same time of day and the same season on the whole globe. Had to get 4 coworkers to confirm to him that time zones do in fact exist.
My brother is colorblind. And he CONSTANTLY tries to correct me on what color things are.
"Hey could you hand me that red _____?"
"no, it's red"
"YOU CANT EVEN KNOW"
It is the base of our most common and heated arguments.
I'm late, but I saw this question and instantly remembered that I was booted from a Facebook group because I called someone out on a lie that was not only bull, but extremely pointless. She was friends with the moderator and they made the case that my argument over such a little lie was more of a problem than the lie itself (though they didn't refer to it as a lie.)
The woman said that she used to babysit for Andre 3000 and that his name was Andre 2000 - but he changed it after the year 2000 had passed. This was so easily disproven it was ridiculous. Their debut album came out in 1994 and he was already going by Andre 3000 at that time.
The argument wasn't a huge long drawn out thing, but the fact that either of us were on Facebook at separate times meant that the responses were over a long period of time so this argument lasted a few days.
It was stupid.
Stars Like Our Sun
I was arguing with my grandpa about stars he didn't believe that there are other stars like our sun. Basically he thought there is only the sun, the moon and the earth.
I have a degree in history. I mostly focused on nationalism. Wrote a 50 page paper on it and Richard Nixon with around 50 100 sources. Looked at micro film for hours on end. Part of the paper focused on how Nixon being chair of the house committee of Unamerican Activities was used as a powerful weapon to use against political enemies. It also inspired Joe McCarthy. Have had people tell me I was wrong and Nixon was never elected to a position besides the president and Joe McCarthy came before Nixon. I stopped trying to talk history to people.
I also know quite a bit about the history of the Balkans its amazing how many Serbs refuse to believe Tito did anything wrong.
Wrote 100 page paper on nationalism in Israel. Its frustrating to talk about because for some reason a lot of people think Palestinian firing rockets randomly into Israel is ok but if Israel retaliates the people get up in arms over a targeted air strike that kills 3 people.
Balloon to Heaven
My cousin and I argued over a balloon going to Heaven. We were at his big sisters prom send off and he let a balloon go and it went high into the sky. He then said this balloon will go up past space and go to Heaven and reach grandma (God rest her soul). And I was like no it's not and it's probably not even gonna reach space.
And he got really mad and defensive and started telling me to google it and do my research and I'm like I don't have to google it you idiot. He was mad at me for a good week.
I got into an argument with a co-worker over how we were attaching two pages of a letter together: small binder clips or paper clips.
He felt that paper clips would leave a "dent" in the paper when removed, but binder clips won't. He refused to staple them together. I felt that binder clips would also leave a "dent", so we might as well just use the paper clips.
It ended with him saying: "Do what you want [me], I don't care!" and storming off.
Once got accused of faking being Jewish. Why? I have no clue. We argued over the course of a month, any time I'd bring it up and she heard about it, she'd begin going after me for "faking it".
My mother's side is ethnically Jewish. Grandparents were practicing.
3 friends and I once got into an argument about how to pronounce Nutella. It lasted for about 3-4 months. It was hilarious how serious we took it, it'd get heated but never for real serious.
I think someone even called the company that made it to check, or that may have been for the Cheetos company. We were really bored in high school.
Late to the party, but there it is.
I'm a manager at a small store. We're only 4 working there, so my team and I grew very close and we joke around a lot. Once during a slow shift, my employee and I had an argument because we were looking at the lingerie boxes, and I thought that two specific boxes had the same woman on it, but she was 100% positive they weren't the same person.
Looking back, I don't know why it was such a big deal to us at the time, but we even called another employee who lives across the street to come and tell us what the heck was up with that. Turns out I was right, and she was pretty salty about it. It was a great night.
Wicked Witch of the West
I almost got into an argument with an old girlfriend over Glinda the good witch from Oz. She insisted that Glinda was manipulating Dorothy to assassinate the Wicked Witch of the West and convince the Wizard to leave to create a political void she could fill.
I conceded the issue when I heard the whole premise because I thought it was too damn stupid to get worked up over.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Just the other day I legit got in an argument with my co-workers on why I don't like my butt being grabbed by anyone (I'm a guy). Seriously.
They went on about "I don't mind it. Mike and I do it all the time and we don't care." Yeah, that's nice dude, but I'm not you, and there's something called "Keep your hands to yourself" (which was taught to a good portion of us growing up). Just like how Karen wouldn't like it if I touched her boobs or her grabbing your crotch or frankly ANY area you wouldn't like being grabbed, keep away. In general, you should not be touching me in any areas after I've told you not to several times before.
So unless you're sleeping me or dating me, keep your damn hands off my toosh.
My best friend and I argued over whether or not telekinesis was possible. Her argument was that humans don't yet know what the human brain at 100% usage was capable of, and that telekinesis was inside the possibilities.
I said the brain does use 100%, just at different times.
We didn't speak to each other for four days.
How dolphins reproduced and whether or not ghost existed (back to back with the same person). It took me a few solid minutes of explaining to her that dolphins have reproductive organs and that they did not just pop into existence (the argument began with her saying she wanted to work with sea creatures).
How it shifted to the existence of ghosts is a solid and reasonable question to ask (I don't remember why). I had to then proceed to tell her that ghost hunting TV shows do not constitute as undeniable evidence.
Personally, I hope she was messing with me cause I lost a little faith in humanity that day. This was in high school SO... hopefully she was kidding.
Dogs and ChocolateGiphy
I told this stupid woman that chocolate is toxic to dogs. She went on to tell me how a little bit will just make them hyper and then they will calm down. I told her to google it. Her and her bf shut right up. Now they have a kid. Good luck, Jeremy and Andrea. morons.
I should also add that this argument started because Jeremy was giving his tiny dog chocolate and I told him it was toxic.
Is water wet?
My roommate and I have a recurring argument over whether or not water is wet l, and whether or not a person is considered wet underwater.
For the record, it is no to both questions.
A kid a church telling me about the mission trip I went on. Not only was I not on that trip, but I had never been on any mission trip. We were good friends, so it's not like he would've mistaken someone else for me.
He insisted I was there as if an entire week long trip would just fall out of my memory. He even had stories of things we'd done together. I'm not sure if he thought I was lying, joking, stupid, or crazy, but I was pretty sure he was some combination thereof.
One time I got into a shouting match with my mom and little brother in the car. The issue? The names of the two-headed dragon from the PBS kids afternoon show Dragon Tales. I swore it was Zack and Macie.
It was actually Zak and Wheezie. I don't even remember why we were yelling about it.
Green Or Yellow?
When I was about 15 or so my mother and I spent about 20-30 minutes arguing about the color of a shirt. We agreed it was blue/green, but to me it was just a shade more blue, while to her it was just a bit more green.
Turns out, your eyeballs yellow as you age and hers were 24 years yellower than mine, so I think that skewed her color vision.
Stars In Their MultitudeGiphy
I once got in an argument over whether or not a line from the song "Stars" in Les Mis says "...but mine is the way of the lord" or "mine is the way of the law".
I didn't even really care what he thought but he was so adamant and cocky that it got me heated. By the end of it we were shouting at each other and I had to apologize, which I think is what he wanted the whole time.
My brother is colorblind. And he CONSTANTLY tries to correct me on what color things are.
"Hey could you hand me that red _____?" "that's orange" "no, it's red" "orange" "YOU CANT EVEN KNOW".
It is the base of our most common and heated arguments.
About five years ago, my girlfriend (now wife) once had a very intense argument about whether or not hot water cleaned things better than cold water.
She genuinely believed that water temperature didn't matter. This is someone who has not one, but two masters degrees.
We argued for something like 2 hours, and we seriously almost broke up over the whole thing.
I had an argument with a girl IN THE MIDDLE OF A BIOLOGY CLASS in high school about how humans are not mammals. She thought a human was a human and we are not mammals because "mammals are animals and humans are not animals"
I tried explaining to her the difference between reptiles and mammals and how humans fall under the mammal category to try and educate her... but she just wouldn't listen.
I still have no idea why the BIOLOGY teacher did not get involved...
Solid Or Liquid?
Some classmates and I got into a heated debate as to whether or not the human body could count as a soup, salad, or sandwich. The teacher got mad at us, but hey! All we were doing was watching a movie.
For the record, my logic lays with soup- Liquid contained within a solid, at a hot temperature.