Corby

SUR­REN­DER YOUR LI­CENCE? BALLS TO THAT

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents -

IN WHAT SEEMS LIKE AN ACT DRIVEN BY THE DE­MEN­TIA OF OLD AGE, I RE­CENTLY PAID SOME­ONE TO STAB A HOLE IN MY SCRO­TUM AND SNIP AWAY AT MY ABIL­ITY TO PRO­DUCE CHIL­DREN – QUITE POS­SI­BLY THE ONE THING I’VE PROVEN TO BE ANY GOOD AT.

Luck­ily for you, this is a car mag­a­zine, so I won’t go into the de­tails about how my balls swelled up like two co­conuts in­side a bat­tered black punch­ing bag, nor how bend­ing over felt like a tiny don­key had taken up res­i­dence in my lower stom­ach.

What I will say is that it struck me that hav­ing a va­sec­tomy must be a lot like the day you have to hand your driver’s li­cence in, be­cause you re­alise you’re too old to safely do some­thing you’ve long loved.

Sure, you’ll still get around, and even go in cars, but it’s not go­ing to be quite the same, is it? Men­tally or phys­i­cally.

The mere thought of this prop­erly scared me, more even than the sight of my scro­tum, par­tic­u­larly when I found my­self sit­ting in the pas­sen­ger seat of the new Rolls-royce Cullinan next to a man who’d been in the job so long he filed his first story us­ing a stone tablet rather than an Ap­ple one.

Af­ter mum­bling some­thing about how he’d been to the first Rolls-royce launch ever, which was more fright­en­ing than im­pres­sive, he pro­ceeded to drive in a fash­ion that would be fa­mil­iar to any­one who’s ever been stuck be­hind a bowl­ing hat pi­lot­ing a car.

The fact that he’d clearly lost the abil­ity to de­ter­mine right from left was the first sign of a prob­lem and af­ter a while I just closed my eyes and lis­tened to the pan­icked yet painfully po­lite squawk­ing of the Rolls-royce min­der in the back seat: “No, sir, I’m ter­ri­bly sorry but I meant left, no, the other left, sir, if you don’t mind, no, that’s a one-way street ... no, NO!”

My co-driver was a lovely bloke, as it turned out – looked like Omar Sharif would have, if he’d lived to be 100 – and his tales about “the wars” (I think it was the Napoleonic ones) were fas­ci­nat­ing.

But the fact is, he prob­a­bly shouldn’t be driv­ing any more, and cer­tainly not as en­thu­si­as­ti­cally as he seemed to think he was ca­pa­ble of.

This is, of course, the prob­lem, par­tic­u­larly with men, be­cause it takes a hell of a lot of con­vinc­ing to get us to be­lieve we are not good at things.

As one friend put it while ex­plain­ing to me why he’d never get The Snip, men are hugely op­ti­mistic, which is why we like to keep our op­tions open.

Right up un­til our mid 40s, some part of our brains still be­lieves we might get called up to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia at cricket, or that we could still win Bathurst (“Yes, Lown­desy’s done it at 44, there’s hope for me yet!”).

And per­son­ally, I just can’t imag­ine a mo­ment in time in which I won’t still think I’m a bet­ter driver than most of those bloody young whip­per snap­pers out there, by God.

I’ll have no ex­cuse for my ig­no­rance of course, be­cause I’ve done the re­search and I know that geri­a­tri­cians have found that we all start los­ing the abil­ity to multi-task prop­erly between the ages of 50 and 60.

Some ugly re­search also sug­gests that if you keep driv­ing into your 90s you be­come just as ac­ci­dent prone, but pos­si­bly not as stupid, as a driver in their early 20s. You al­ready know that our pop­u­la­tion is age­ing, of course, but just chew on the fact that the ABS reck­ons the num­ber of driv­ers aged over 60 could al­most quadru­ple by 2050.

On the one hand, I just can’t imag­ine that I’ll ever hand my li­cence in, af­ter all my grand­fa­ther never did, although he wisely drove 10km/h slower for ev­ery year he was on the Earth, up to the point where he’d just sit in the garage and not ac­tu­ally go to town at all.

But then I never thought I’d vol­un­teer to do other things to re­duce my sense of man­li­ness, so any­thing is pos­si­ble.

Hav­ing a va­sec­tomy must be a lot like the day you have to hand your driver’s li­cence in

THE SOUND OF OLD AGE

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