Name: Dorothy
Form of oppression: Geriatric Community

"The old people criticize me a lot. I think they resent my youth. Once this old lady, I think her hearing aid was turned off, said really loudly, 'Dorothy's getting fatter and fatter and soon she's going to blow up like a balloon!' That bothered me for weeks. I cried every time I thought about it.

"For activities, we do a lot of bus trips or nostalgia exercises, like remembering floor plans of their old houses. We have accordion players come in and play oldies. I once canceled shuffleboard because I couldn't be there to monitor and the old people were cheating. We're doing a carnival, but we have to find hula dancers who aren't too scantily dressed. The boss canceled pajama day because he thought people would show up in negligees. Not the old people--the staff.

"Popcorn time irritates me the most. Once a popcorn kernel in hot oil went down my blouse and burned my nipple. I was so surprised, I lifted up my shirt and all the old people stared and said, 'What is she doing?' I had to fill out worker's comp. Now I'm scared of popcorn.

"The repression makes it hard to do a lot of activities. I just feel like I can't be me. I had this cute little cartoon up in the activity room that said, 'When Jesus has his Second Coming, he'd better schedule it around bingo.' I've had a lot of complaints about it. I've been called a Satanist because I mentioned Harry Potter in the lunch line. I'm afraid of doing anything. I'm afraid of the old people."--ANNA SIMON