I’m not in the habit of reposting things, but this In Praise of Older Women thing popped up again — this time on my Facebook feed. This is something I wrote in 2005:
Speaking of dopey internet stuff, folks, always check out the junk people send you before you forward it, even things from your friends.
How many bogus virus warning have you gotten from people you know? Or ridiculous urban legends? And it’s not just scary stuff. Yesterday, a woman I know quite well (who happens to share my house and parenting duties) sent me an essay called In Praise of Older Women, by Andy Rooney. Maybe you’ve seen it. It’s a wry, self-deprecating appreciation of seasoned ladies that includes lines like this:
An older woman will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think.
Shut your eyes and you can sort of imagine sitting at the Palmer House Cafe and hearing it come out of Andy Rooney’s mouth. But it didn’t.
Like the infamous Kurt Vonnegut Sunscreen Speech, it’s a case of misattribution gone wild. Baltimore Sun writer Susan Reimer asked Rooney about it in 2003:
“It just bugs me that anybody would put my name on something I didn’t write,” said Rooney from his New York office. He’s been the object of this kind of hoax before, and another, he said, had just crossed his desk. I asked him if he shared the author’s affection for older women, and he said, “Not particularly.”
Two years later I’m still getting the email…