“My views reproduce one very well established view of old age,” warns Miller in his acidly funny history of going gray, “the negative one.” As a law professor and medieval scholar, he taps his expertise on how societies have perceived and supported their elderly through the ages. Currently there’s something of an unspoken mythology around aging, he contends, in which the retired pass from a life of toil into one of leisurely wisdom. But even old Roman statesmen knew that notion was hogwash.
Have something to say? Send a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared in the January-February 2012 issue of Utne Reader.