Learning to appreciate the joy of agin’
Sunday was my birthday. I’m 69.
I don’t know how this happened. I think I should be about 25, my sense of humor would indicate that I’m ill and my body is somewhere in the 120- to 130-year-old range.
I used to be the youngest one in my high school class. Now when I go somewhere, I’m the oldest one there. I generally only see my former classmates at the hospital, pharmacy or funerals.
Being born between Christmas and New Year’s used to evoke sympathy from people who thought my birthday was “overlooked.” I think the opposite occurred and I received more attention due to the odd circumstances. I never felt the need to share this with anyone, though, and was quite happy — and still am — to whine about being “overlooked.”
Whining is always an excellent tactic in getting your own way; look at Congress.
I share my birthday with Sandy Koufax, Tiger Woods, and LeBron James. Three of us are excellent athletes.
It feels strange being old. I think things started going bad when I turned 40. I had to get up in the middle of the night and, getting out of bed, things started to fall off. This is an unfortunate trend that has continued.
I’m doing all I can not to age poorly. I don’t keep hard candy in dishes for guests. I don’t have multiple cats. I don’t raise either hydrangeas or African violets. I haven’t yet taken to wearing suspenders although I’m afflicted with Eastern Shore Male Body (ESMB), which is no butt and a protruding belly. This makes me choose restaurants with padded seats over any particular food choices.
I have noticed that when I mention places that friends may want to visit my references are 30 years out of date and the charming little out-ofthe-way bar/restaurant has long been demolished, to be replaced with high-rise condominium complexes and chain restaurants.
When I go downtown, I see what used to be there and not what’s there now. This is helpful in giving directions. “Well you go to where the hardware store used to be and take a right, down past where McCrory’s used to be and then take another right at where Price’s Tire Center was and go a couple blocks past the old firehouse and it’s right on the left where the armory was.” This is not helpful to visitors.
Being old gives you a certain right to curmudgeonliness, which I embrace.
Of course, this leaves you open to older people saying, “69? that’s not old.” These are the same people who tell you it’s not cold when it’s 20 degrees below zero.
I don’t understand cell phones. I still think it’s rude to have them up to your ear or to be tapping on them when you’re out to dinner.
I’m not sure who thought of the idea of putting cameras on them. As irritating as going to someone’s house and having to watch home movies of their vacation to “South of the Border” was, it wasn’t as bad as having to stand there while someone flips through 20,000 pictures on their cell phone.
I do like remote controls, though. I remember the first one we ever had. It was a space-age gold color and when you pressed the button, making a satisfying “zzzzt” noise, the screen would go blank and then after a few seconds, a new channel would appear. Amazing.
Also amazing are the new, lightweight kinky hoses that shrink up when you turn the water off. Mine tend to spring leaks over time and I’m now on my fifth incarnation of the “new, improved, kinky hose.”
I also like the indicator lights on my car, which tell me when my tire pressure is low, etc. I wish I’d been implanted with them at birth to help give me an indication what parts of my body were going bad.
Still, all in all, it’s a privilege to get old.