Cathy Grace, Nederland. “Geezer-Lit has become a booming publishing niche as we readers wrinkle …” Maureen Corrigan on “Fresh Air”, National Public Radio 7/20/17.
“What’s the difference between geezers and tweezers? Tweezers still have a grip on things.” Care Homes Are Murder by Mike Befeler.
Geezer-Lit? That’s a genre now? Apparently it is, although so far I’ve only read one author’s offerings in that department. Mike Befeler (formerly of Boulder, now living in Southern California) has written a series of books following eighty-something Paul Jacobson, a self-described “old fart” who has complete short-term memory loss. Paul wakes up every morning with no memory of the past five years. When reminded, he keeps a journal of the exciting goings-on in his life, and if he reads it every morning, he can get up to speed on the murder and mayhem that he seems to attract. Not only that, but he actually helps the police solve crimes, with the help of his photographic memory, which lasts for the span of a day.
“I dabbed the corner of my eye with my napkin. ‘This whole world of mine that I can’t remember. It’s so sad.’ ‘Now don’t go feeling sorry for yourself,’ Marion said. I chucked her cheek. ‘Only kidding. I have a good life, a beautiful bride and a great family. I need to count my blessings. As long as I don’t have to use any cussed computers.’ “
Hmmm … I’ve developed a rudimentary facility with computers and technology, but I have to say, I can relate to Paul and his aversion toward the same. Like Paul however, I’m good at asking for help. Paul asks his granddaughter, wife, and friends; I ask my co-workers and student library assistants.
Paul the Geezer talks self-deprecatingly about his short temper, his frequent need to pee, his friend’s incontinence, his other friend’s Asperger’s, their heart problems … things that people face as they grow older. Yet this 85-year-old with a very short memory still functions quite well: he’s healthy physically, mentally (except for memory) and emotionally; he’s funny, cranky and human. Despite his age, he’s met and married a “younger, hot chick” (who’s in her 70s). A delightful, naughty quirk of Paul’s is that after he has sex, he enjoys a whole day of restored memory.
Paul’s faulty memory makes him very relatable to readers, along with his world and events that have occurred in previous books. The reader learns right along with Paul, so it’s easy to pick up and enjoy any of the books in the series.
These Geezer-Lit titles show a world of active elders who are very much a part of life and living. Sure, they have problems and obstacles, but they have a lot to live for as well, and a lot to offer with their wealth of experience and wisdom. NCL carries the first two books in the Paul Jacobson series (Retirement Homes are Murder and Living with Your Kids is Murder), and we can obtain the others for you.
Cathy Grace is a library assistant at the Nederland Community Library.