I have been writing strident articles lately about the 49ers. Some people don’t like them and some of those people write me personal emails or tweets calling me an old hack — I’m not sure what a hack is — and telling me I’m not a good writer or thinker anymore because I am old and that I should retire. I am old. It’s true. On Nov.1 I turned 70 and that is a very big number I’m still wrapping my aged mind around.
I can’t say the ageist notes surprise me. I can’t say the anti-semitic ones surprise me either. I have gotten anti-semitic mail since I started writing sports in 1979. Lately, some psychopath — I assume this person is a psychopath — wrote he could put all my ancestors in his ashtray. A year ago, someone wrote they should burn me in a German pizza oven. Both were references to the Nazi death camps and certainly were worse than my questioning Jim Tomsula’s competence or making fun of his press conferences, something he himself does.
But I’m used to anti-semitic whack jobs. It’s the age thing that puzzles me. I get a lot of this stuff and I assume some of it comes from normal people, from very nice people. And because I assume most of these people are normal, I feel sad. Putting me down because I am a bad writer is fair game, although I think I’m about the same as I always was. Maybe that is bad.
Putting me down because I am old disrespects an entire population of people — older folks. It is a prejudice like anti-semitism or hatred of blacks or gay people, etc. You get the idea. It is demeaning to all old people — like the parents or grandparents of the people who spurn me for being old, like the writers themselves if they are lucky enough to live 70 years.
I wish nice people wouldn’t find it so easy to demean me or others because we are entering our eighth decade on Earth. Other cultures respect their elders. I’m sounding preachy now and I apologize. I don’t really understand this hatred of old age. Some nut telling me to burn in a German pizza oven makes more sense to me in a weird weird way.