I’m starting to get paranoid. I find myself routinely surveying the people around me, and looking for someone (anyone!) who might be a little older than I am. And I often come up empty. I’m an old man at this point, and don’t even like to tell people my age. This is a relatively new development, maybe the last three or four years. I never volunteer my age, ’cause the number is frightening to everyone within earshot. Sure, I know all the cliches:
- You’re only as old as you feel
- Age is just a number
- You’re not getting older, you’re getting better
- 60 is the new 40 (or whatever the fuck)
And others that I’m probably too old to remember. Those things can be packed deep. Also: Who cares what people think? That one can be packed, too. It’s not so much what people think, it’s how I’m going to feel about the situation when they recoil in horror. I’m not concerned about them so much, I just don’t need my fears confirmed. Ya know? Here’s another one:
- Well, it’s better than the alternative
That’s certainly true. But it’s true in any situation. “Man, it’s hot in here!” “At least you’re not dead.” “My new shoes keep squeaking.” “It’s better than being in a grave.” “This burger is overcooked.” “I knew somebody who roasted alive in a warehouse fire, and I bet he’d love to be here to eat that overcooked burger.” So… that’s no comfort to me. It can also be packed.
Recently I find myself getting defensive about my age too. Like at the self-checkout stand at the grocery store… It bugs me greatly when one of those zit-spangled little shits comes over and asks if I need assistance. Why me? Why are you asking me in particular? Believe it or not, despite my gray hair, I know how to operate this complex apparatus. I can even successfully navigate the purchase of a Roma tomato — utilizing the convoluted produce lookup tool — if necessary. I’m able to figure it out. So quit hassling me, Adolph Zitler.
The same thing happened at a restaurant over the weekend. It was one of those deals where you have to scan a barcode to bring up the menu, and the over-caffeinated anorexic waitress wanted to hold our hands through the process. I blasted her with my eyes and she scampered away to probably drown her sorrows in a comically-elongated can of Rockstar or whatever. I go on and on about it in the latest podcast, if you’re interested.
Anyway, I’m becoming one of those grouchy old bastards who sees conspiracies around every corner, and in every shadow.
Ready for another cliche?
- I don’t feel old, I feel like I always have.
I guess that’s good, right? But the tiny (but loud) cynic who lives inside my head whispers that it’s all a false sense of comfort. Oh, you’re old, he whisper-shouts, make no mistake about it. I know… And I realize there are lots o’ people actually older than I am who are probably sneering at my concerns. And I do find small comfort in the fact that my parents are 21 years older than I am, and have apparently been having the time of their lives for the past 10 years or so. That makes me feel a little better.
How are you doing with the aging process? Have you reached my level of insanity yet? Bring us up to date on it, won’t you?
And I’ll see you guys again real soon.
Have a great day!
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