Growing old gracefully

Take it from someone who is growing older by the minute: I’m not taking it gracefully. I’m fighting it tooth and nail. I have no idea who came up with the expression of growing old gracefully, but it was probably someone who hasn’t experienced the sudden shock when the fast food clerk announces loudly for all to hear, “You’re qualified for the senior citizen discount!”

For years Dr. Pepper sported a 10, 2 and 4 on its bottles and caps, indicating that was the time of day the body needed an energy boost. One of the first signs of getting older is referred to as the Dr. Pepper time of life, which means that at 10 p.m., 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. you get up and go to the bathroom.

Here’s some solid advice for those of us who are aging. Once you blow out the candles on that 50th birthday cake, stay away from the beach. Those living in Florida will know of what I speak. Ever walk on the beach and see a 70-year-old Italian guy who is eighty pounds overweight, smoking a cigar and wearing nothing but a smile and a male thong? Aged beef is fine but this is not the beef that should be seen among civilized people. What was once firm and lean is now leaning in all different directions.

We learn that gay is now only the last half of a word. Ben is the first half. Shaq is not the only one who needs Icy Hot. We have aches and pains and sore muscles we attribute to too much exercise until we remember we haven’t exercised in the last five years. We stand naked, look straight down and can’t determine if we are male or female. Where did that stomach come from? Wait, my father had one just like that when he was in his sixties. Okay, I inherited it. I didn’t cause it. The problem with losing the large stomach when you’re older is that the body and the fat have become good friends.

The wife says it’s time to go visit her family. In my case, the family is 6,000 miles away. This involves air travel and part of the flight consumes about fifteen hours. As age progresses and you’re on an airplane that long, that’s when you realize that Preparation H is your best friend. You also learn that your shoes are now two sizes smaller than when you left home.

We start out in life without teeth and in a diaper. Some of us will end up in that same position. You reach a point in old age where you’re afraid to sneeze. My grandfather could sneeze and change underwear faster than most people can pour a cup of coffee. He claimed his back went out more than he did.

We drank coffee in the morning when we were young to help with a hangover. Modern science says coffee is good for the memory. We drink it now trying to remember what a hangover was like. If it helps the memory, maybe we can remember where we left out socks last night. We also don’t remember if we should drink our coffee before breakfast, during breakfast or after breakfast. We don’t remember if we had breakfast.

Remember when you were about 4-years-old and your mother bragged that you had successfully quit peeing your pants? At 70-years-old, you’re trying to be successful again. You’re not allowed around dripping faucets or lawn sprinklers.

You and the wife are sitting on the front porch in the late afternoon. A pretty girl in short shorts and a tiny top walks by and your pacemaker makes the garage door go up. Your wife wants to smack you but she can’t get out of her chair. By the time she stands up, she can’t remember why she got up. So, she goes inside and fixes supper. The garage door closes.

There are a lot of changes to endure as we age. Getting older is kind of like boarding an airplane and flying through a thunderstorm with downdrafts and updrafts; there’s nothing you can do about it. You just hang on and hope for the best. When it’s over, you just want to look up and say, “It’s been a hell of a ride.”

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