Writins of Weakeyes Cody
Talented and witty writings
Growing Old Ain't For Sissies @2000
A while ago I could jump a four strand batted wire fence, run a mile, walk twenty, and was never bothered by ear aches, headaches, or toothaches. In fact, the only time I ever felt pain was when I ran into something - a wall, a low overhead, a shin buster, or made a fist.
Alas, the years have taken their toll and I'm beginning to feel the affects of old age creeping up on me. But maybe that's the problem? It all creeps up on us. One day we start to move like we once did and our mind renders the orders but the body fails to get the command in time to prevent embarrassment. Once in a blue moon, I used to turn my head quickly and experience one of those pains in my neck that's called a 'burner'. It really hurts and feels rather like a burn. Now, I get them several times a week, among other things.
I wish we came with a service manual that explained the details of how to care for this body and about growing older. Or maybe a warranty. That way we'd know when to start expecting things to go askew. It would sure save a lot of rituals we assume - like frying to hold a newspaper at arms length so we can read it for a year or so before we finally get bifocals. Then after that, how to step off curbs or negotiate uneven ground without stumbling.
This condition is a major source of embarrassment. I find myself running my toe into the surface of a perfectly smooth floor sometimes, thinking it went up or down. Then I look around to see if anyone is watching, with the same expression I have when I step in something out on the lawn.
I don't know about the ladies, but there's just some things that old men shouldn't do. Not and retain any measure of dignity, anyway. Like eat an ice cream cone. Especially with a mustache. A child can delight in eating one and appear perfectly angelic throughout the whole process, but never an old man. And, have you seen anything more miserable than an old man with a cold? When an old man gets a head cold, he gets it throughout his whole being. He's totally woeful, abandoned and disheartened as he tries unsuccessfully to appear self-reliant and undaunted by this attack on his integrity.
Indeed just the simple act of eating gets to be a challenge for old men. I try so diligently to dine without dropping food on my shirt front, but I do. With hands that fail to respond as they once did and eyes impeded by bifocals, the shirt front, protruding as it does, gets put upon by drops of liquid and particles of food, and by the close of the evening my shirt front resembles a map of the battlefield of Gettysburg, replete with blood and rivers running through it.
Oh yes, and through all these shortcomings and misadventures we must keep our sense of humor lest we be regarded by others as grumpy old men. So like the valiant Knights we're not, we press on through aching joints, blurred vision, quaking muscles, and miscalculations, smiling from our rusty spattered armor with the knowledge that it gets no better.
And so, when we see a child with ice cream smeared all over its face, or snot running from its tiny nose, or food on its clothing or with other things about it gone awry, we excuse it and dismiss it with words of love and sympathy and even hold it in our arms and coo to it for a time. But an old man presenting such an appearance is contemptible and justly given ample leeway by people in the malls.
I know the Golden years have arrived! I cannot see, I cannot pee, I cannot chew, I cannot screw, my memory shrinks, my hearing stinks, no sense of smell, I look like hell, my body's drooping, got trouble pooping.
But dear hearts, bear in mind, if you will, that locked in this ancient body behind this wrinkled face, is a playful imp that would like nothing more than to grab one of you unsuspecting people passing by and plant a big wet willy right on your ear!
Growing old is evidently not for sissies. But as Mark Twain once said, "Consider the alternative.
~ Weakeyes Cody