As usual, Maine is going about it all wrong. We can’t cure the problem of our aging population with feeble programs designed to attract more young people.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Office of Statistical Weirdness, this state is plagued with the largest number of old coots per capita in the United States. I’d tell you our average age, but I seem to have misplaced my reading glasses.
What I do know is that with the exception of Maine College of Art graduates now employed as restaurant workers, investment bankers turned into drunken craft-brewery employees and musicians who are former members of bands that almost made it but didn’t, everybody in the state is legally decrepit.
To correct this situation, politicians keep proposing ideas to lure more young people here, such as free tuition at the Maine College of Art, because we have a desperate shortage of wait staff and dishwashers. Or how about paying off the college loans of new graduates who agree to live as indentured servants in rural Maine, where they would be required to tend pot crops. Housing subsidies for anyone under 40 who’s willing to live in Millinocket. Free health care for millennials who promise not to get sick.
None of this worked. Young people ignored these generous offers and continued to reside elsewhere, while using their fancy “apps,” listening to awful “hip hop” and playing their so-called “video games.” As if you can’t watch “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” right here in Maine.
The answer to their indifference is to abandon our futile attempts to make this state appealing to whippersnappers who believe they’re entitled to high-speed broadband everywhere they go, and don’t appreciate the scenic beauty of decaying paper-mill towns and the social opportunities posed by opioid addicts breaking down the shoddy doors of their substandard apartments.
Instead of trying to attract youthful ne’er-do-wells with no aptitude for cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors, it’s time for a fresh approach:
We need to get rid of the old people.
Sure, that’s harsh, but it doesn’t need to be heartless.
For instance, the upcoming Census in 2020 may well show that Maine no longer has sufficient population to merit two congressional districts. That means either Democrat Chellie Pingree of the 1st District or Republican Bruce Poliquin of the 2nd District will have to go. One codger eliminated.
Even before that can happen, GOP Gov. Paul LePage will be leaving office at the start of 2019. LePage, who currently resides at the publicly owned Blaine House, has sold his only property in Maine, so it seems likely he and his wife will be relocating to their place in Florida. Two more geezers gone.
Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King is heavily favored to win another six-year term in this year’s election. But there’s no reason a senior citizen who spends most of his time in Washington should be counted when we figure out Maine’s average age. Let King’s 70-something years burden the District of Columbia.
Same goes for Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who deserves a cozy retirement abode at the Donald Trump Home for Geriatric GOPers of a Moderate Persuasion, soon to be built in a swampier portion of the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
In the state Legislature, there are numerous examples of politicians mucking up our demographics.
Democratic state Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake was first elected during the Spanish-American War, and survives to this day only by taking annual baths in the blood of political virgins. Prevent him from doing so, and he’ll dissolve into dust.
Republican state Rep. Paul Davis of Sangerville makes his living by selling fossilized pieces of his extremities to tourists. One decent day of sales and most of him will legally reside in Massachusetts and New York.
Democratic state Sen. Bill Diamond of Windham began his legislative service before the advent of computers or even typewriters. We’re overdue for a law preventing him from submitting bills written in cursive.
Once we’ve evicted the doddering class from their fancy condos in Portland and their elegant summer homes on the coast, there’ll be plenty of cheap housing for hipsters and Young Turks. Once we’ve cleared the boardrooms of elderly eccentrics, there’ll be all kinds of openings for clueless youth. Once we’ve gotten rid of everybody with experience, Maine can start wasting its time reinventing the wheel.
And maybe figuring out who’s going to change the oil in our cars, fix the plumbing in our houses and keep the lights on.
You kids get off my lawn, and email your apologies to firstname.lastname@example.org.