Viva vecchi!

June 26th, 2009

Some weeks ago, my book about the wisdom of old folks, “How to Live”, received a lovely three-page write-up in the magazine section of Italy’s lefty newspaper, La Repubblica, for which I’m entirely grateful. I’ve been remiss in acknowledging the story, though, because it is written in, uh, a language I don’t read or speak. But finally today I realized that– though it is fast and loose and entirely unprofessional to do so–I could plug the article into one of those free online translation sites. The results are, how you say, bracing.

As for my publisher’s decision not to put the picture of an old person on the cover of my book, I tell La Repubblica,

“‘They chose for a dog with the wrinkles. From the birth.'”

We also discuss my book’s title. Given the non-scary, if not rosy, picture of death that some of my interviewees offer–people like “historians tromboni Harold Bloom, or the dramatist Edward Albee, author of cult Who has fear of Virginia Woolf”–I say of the title,

“‘Little it is ironico,’ relieves he, one taken to us in turn of the handbook of self-help, or the aphorisms from paper of chocolates.”

But, my amico, let’s get down to the tacks of brass here:

“It has talked about sex in the interviews? [To which I respond:] ‘Certainly that yes. They do it! In the hostels occupied from the generation of elderly come Viagra there is the new problem of sexual transmission of aids. In the houses of rest they repeat themselves the dynamics of the colleagues.'”

Capisce? And, lest we all labor under the preconception that humor does not translate, let the record show that, when the La Repubblica writer trotted out a term I’d not heard before to describe my peers who face old age reluctantly–Baby Gloomers–I fired back with a witticism that only improves with free online translation:

“The sole pain for them was to burn itself the tongue with the swills of Milk Mocha Starbucks”

–yea, even topping it with the absolutely boffo,

“They should draw the chairs to rollers with the reloading for the iPod.”

The truth, she is universaling.