Old Is In: A Guide for Aging Boomers


159 pages
ISBN 1-55002-524-4
DDC C818'.5402






Reviewed by Lynne Perras

Lynne Perras teaches communication arts at the University of Calgary.


Despite his proclamation that he is “pretty well retired from
everything except breathing,” award-winning author, playwright, and
newspaper columnist Eric Nicol has produced yet another highly
satirical, amusing, and enjoyable book.

The reason for Old Is In, Nicol maintains, is to provide advice and
encouragement to the baby-boom generation, many of whom will be entering
their twilight years in the near future: “It is the biggest social
question of our time: Will the baby boom generation be able to handle
old age as well as its parents did? Namely, those of us who lived
through the Great Depression and graduated from the School of Hard
Knocks. Summa cum lumps.” Being 86, Nicol has much experience from
which to draw, and his words of wisdom come in the form of 54 short
essays, with intriguing titles such as “The Hair and Now,” “For
Whom the Siren Wails,” “Welcome to the Second (or more)
Childhood!” and “Death Can Be Fatal.”

Much of the book is devoted to the daily trials and physical ailments
of the aged, including thinning hair, short-term memory loss, reduced
libido, and increasingly poor vision. “[A]round fifty or so,” Nicol
writes, “we notice that newsprint has shrunk badly, though the paper
hasn’t got wet. The publisher economizing on ink? Possibly, but just
to check we make our first visit to an optometrist. Who proves to be no
relation to an optimist.” Yet, the author does not ignore some
positive effects of growing old. Women have learned, for example, that
“chivalry, though not dead, is on life support; and the knight in
shining armour has rusted out”; men understand finally that
“personal integrity cannot survive the use of hair dye; and yellow
undershorts don’t need to be laundered as often.”

If the energetic and witty Nicol is considered a role model for someone
nearing his or her later years, then old is definitely in.


Nicol, Eric., “Old Is In: A Guide for Aging Boomers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/14463.