As much as it pains me to write it: I finally find myself without grandparents. Thankfully most of them lived to be a ripe old age, and I think of them all often. Especially the ones I really knew as an adult, when (as people do) I started to see the adults in my family as people rather than…adults, in the Charlie Brown sense of the word.
But, seeing as how none of them are still with us, I was hoping you would consider adopting me as your granddaughter.
I know this may seem strange such as we’ve never met. But Betty—and I mean this in the most non-stalkery way—you make me smile whenever I see you. Whether it’s with Tina Fey on SNL or Brian Williams on his new show, I turn the volume up and plunk in front of the TV and grin fondly. I think you make me happy because you’re exactly what I want to be like when I am your age (pushing 90 now, right Betty?). That, and your nearly platinum hair reminds me of my grandmother’s.
First of all, you’re as sharp as a tack. May we all be as blessed as you to have every single wit of ours about us and in tact when we approach our ninth decade on Earth. Though I do crosswords regularly, I think you may be quicker than I am now, or maybe ever was. I like to think you got quicker with age, but that may be because I used to know you only as the slow Rose on The GGs. (Confession: when I was a senior in college, my house of four women used to discuss which of the Golden Girls we’d be. I always wanted to be Dorothy, but now that Bea’s bought the farm and you’re still going strong, I think I’d like to amend my preference. Is that wrong?)
Second, you’ve been voted “the most trusted celebrity” in America. Think about it: a whole country of people want you to be their grandma, or at least listen to you as if you already were. To amass that kind of faith without being a TV evangelist, or Indian, or Oprah—that is truly impressive. There are so many people who would buy that distinction for a gazillion dollars if they could, Betty, and you didn’t even try.
Third, you surround yourself with all things you love and nothing you hate. You won’t go near material that you disapprove of, like that which pokes fun at drugs. You have your rules and you’re so sweet about not breaking them that screenwriters will sacrifice a scene to win your approval. Furthermore, you are an animal person, Betty, and so am I. I will dog-sit your retired seeing-eye golden retriever for you anytime. You advocate for our world’s creatures endlessly, and I only hope to eventually find time to volunteer at a shelter. I have heard that both indulging in your passions and having a furry pet have the power to extend your life. You are a testament to those truisms, and an amalgam of life’s greatest lessons.
Don’t get me wrong—when you adopt me you will not replace the grandparents that I once had. They were awfully good at their jobs, too. Checks every birthday and Christmas, bad jokes, lengthy games of gin rummy—the works. But here’s the thing: the world is moving very quickly these days. We young people (yes, Betty, I still consider myself a young person, relatively speaking) could really benefit from spending continued time with geriatric gems like yourself, rather than ungraciously leaving you behind. I lament the way many of us brash young Americans cast our elders aside. Sometimes I want to hang with those who were around before TVs were in every household and can tell us about that time like it was yesterday; with those who don’t express their humor in 140 characters or less, and are just as funny as those who do. You are timeless goodness, and I would love to keep it real with you. Even if it means you only Skype your Betty Whiteisms to me once a week, I think it should be a—dare I say—duty of you golden oldies to sub in when young, grandparentless adults like myself need a swift kick in the pants or a warm dose of venerable wisdom. My parents may pay the senior price at the movies but really, they aren’t old old, and I don’t even have kids yet, so as far as I’m concerned I’m in limbo here.
What do you say, Betty? Are you up to pinch hit?
your future granddaughter,