This is an updated version of a column that ran in 2015:
Welcome to the University of Life, where the old learn from the young and vice versa. Here is a list of our upcoming courses:
Offline Shopping: Our veteran instructor will introduce students to the concept of making purchases from local shops. Students will learn how shopping at these businesses recycles revenue back into their community. Some walking, talking and standing required.
Mastering the Smartphone: Our team of teenage instructors provides tutoring to seniors who don’t know what an app is and are constantly taking pictures of their ear. Course only available to students who have completed “Remote Control 101.”
Common Decency: Our professor emeritus will conduct a review of the “magic words” and students will learn how to compose and mail “Thank You” cards. Knowledge of cursive needed. There will also be instruction in Online Etiquette, introducing students to the “Reply” option when they receive an email.
Beyond Bar Soap: Grad students grossed out by the thought of washing with a bar of soap introduce early-seniors to liquid hand soap, body wash and facial scrubs. Students will also receive instruction in the use of a loofah.
Non-Google Research: Retired librarian will lead students to a local library, where they will be introduced to books printed on paper and heavy volumes known as dictionaries and encyclopedias. Note-taking and knowledge of the alphabet a must.
Text Lingo: Advanced-age students will learn chat acronyms such as: BRB (be right back) L8R (later) OIC (Oh, I see) and STBY (sucks to be you). This will enable them, to understand what their kids are texting and may cause them to laugh out loud (LOL!).
Commuting Unplugged: Classes will be conducted on buses and trains. Students not allowed to have any electronic devices. They will learn alternatives such as newspaper reading, staring out the window and chatting with their seatmate. This exercise can lead to students booting their personal super computer, previously known as the brain.
Eating Well: Seniors accustomed to cooking with corn oil will experience the wonders of gluten-free, organic and vegetarian cooking. They will learn the value of choosing free-range chicken and socially conscious lettuce. Course especially challenging for those living on fixed incomes.
Seeking Human Interaction: Veteran professor will show students the value of walking past the ATM to the teller window and going into restaurants instead of driving thru. Conversation coaches available to teach eye contact, gestures and ice-breakers, such as, “I really like your uniform.”
Exploring Social Media: Young instructors living virtual lives will introduce seniors to the matrix of social media. Students will learn how to post photos, send invitations, and gather a group for a smash-and-grab. Emphasis will be on leaving no thought unexpressed and showing friends and family we have a better life than they do.
Fresh Air Fun: After undergoing extensive background checks, seniors will lead kids in outdoor exercises such as playing sports, hide-and-seek and snowman-building. They will also experiment with free-range activities, allowing age-appropriate children to walk to the store, the park and the library. Some knowledge of kick-the-can, hopscotch and double-jump required.
We urge young and old to register soon. Otherwise, we might have to cancel “Non-Google Research.”