I have another birthday coming up, have been finding a few more gray hairs, and I’m beginning to think about the inevitable march of time, as one more candle is added to my cake. I’m not really afraid of being old – it’s the getting there that’s killing me. I’m actually looking forward to retiring someday, and ending years of working like an animal, worrying about bills, and getting my kids through college, When I do retire, I think I’m going to buy a thousand books, a few extra pairs of reading glasses, and then lay out in the sun until it bakes me to the color of a nice cup of hot chocolate. If someone says,
“You shouldn’t be out in the sun. It’s bad for you,” I’ll reply, “Listen, I’m seventy years old, and I already look like a giant raisin. What more can the sun do to me? Besides, this is the first time in forty years, I’ve actually been warm!”
I’ve noticed one strange thing about getting older. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, parts of my body hurt for no reason at all. It’s like playing musical chairs with my back, neck, legs, and arms. One day one thing hurts and the next day it’s something else. I woke up a few days ago with tennis elbow. Seems pretty normal, huh? Not if you haven’t played tennis in six months. This morning I woke up with a sore and aching back. My wife said,
“Maybe you slept on it the wrong way.”
What do you mean the wrong way? Is there a right way? It’s not like I slept in a corner precariously perched on my head with one leg stretched towards the ceiling while the other was twisted behind my head in a difficult, yet classic Yoga pose. When I was young I was always on the go, and at least had some idea why I was sore, tired and achy. Now I wake up in the morning after having spent the previous day napping under a warm blanket and it takes my wife and son, my dog, Chase, a chiropractor and four cups of strong coffee, just to get me out of bed.
Though, I don’t mind getting old – I do, have a number of requests for my children, and dear friends, as I enjoy my golden years.
—– Please don’t leave me in the car when you’re at the store. Don’t you know, I enjoy wandering around the store aimlessly, and ramming people with my cart. If you must leave me in the car – at least, give me some juice, roll the window down a little, put on some Frank Sinatra music, and put a sign on the window saying,
“Do not disturb. Elderly Gentleman is not dead – He’s just taking a well-deserved nap.”
—– Don’t tell me what to eat. I’m a senior citizen for Heaven’s sake! Do you really think, one more double whopper with cheese is going to do any more damage to my arteries? I made it this far, and I don’t intend to go to my maker, drinking a spinach and oatmeal shake.
—– Don’t buy me clothes. If you have to, then buy simple ones in plain colors like gray, blue and black. Loose fitting Dockers, and over-sized knit polo’s in solid colors are great. Remember, I’m a little forgetful, my eyesight’s not so good, and even in my prime I wasn’t a fashion guru. I don’t want to wander around the neighborhood wearing green golf pants, a garish orange Hawaiian shirt, and a blue hat that says “Grandpa Rocks.” Come on kids. You know I look silly. I also know you’re going to think I look cute, and you’re going to post a picture of me on Facebook.
—– I know you care, but please don’t keep telling me not to forget things. Let me tell you a little secret. I only forget what I want to forget. How do you think I get away with so much? I always remember the important things, like taking my medication, and the date of my wedding anniversary.
—– No, I’m not dead. Don’t shake me and say, “Dad wake up,” or lean close, to see if I’m still breathing. I’m just taking a nap. I love naps as much as I like Hersey chocolate bars. If I could nap, and eat chocolate at the same time, I would.