Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me...

My father used to say that he knew he was getting older when he realized all of the Playboy playmates and police officers were younger than him. My brother says he first noticed he was aging when he caught himself making "harumphing" noises when he sat down. ("Getting up is one thing, but come on," as he puts it.)
There are other telltale signs I've identified (God, it's so tempting to create a Lettermanesque list, but I will resist the urge), like when it occurs to you that the Leader of the Free World was a senior in high school when you were a sophomore. That is, as they say, some shit.

And then there's the general kvetching you try to avoid doing but just can't. My brother and I used to comisserate on the way that our father and his brother, Geoffrey, would spend all of their time comparing what was going wrong with their bodies. "Dueling Maladies," I called it.
Sure enough, nowadays (saying "nowadays" is another sign, by the way), on the too-rare occasion that Mike and I get to talk on the phone, what do you suppose the prevailing topic of conversation is? Yep. Dueling Maladies. Version 2.0, baby!

As painful as it was at the time, the gastrointestinal issues that besieged me in the early 2000's provided for some of the most animated, energetic and energizing kvetch sessions I've ever known, before or since.
"You think that's painful? Try colitis! Now THAT is pain, my friend!"

Then of course there's music. As a kid I found it ridiculous when the parents of a friend of mine would put on their Elvis or Richie Valens or Big Bopper or whoever, instead of listening to Elton, Bowie, Queen, McCartney, and the Jacksons or the other artists I was starting to buy with my paper route money on 45's. Even my father was kind of cool, listening to his Simon & Garfunkle on the 8-track.

Okay, by the way, a number of age-indicators just flagged up in that last paragraph. I'll let you go back and find them as a kind of fun exercise....
Now, of course, with the current technology afforded me in terms of music -- MP3, Pandora and the like -- I have entered the 21st Century. Is this a sign that I am immune to the aging process? It might be, if I weren't STILL listening to the same people I was listening to on vinyl and AM radio all those years ago. Yes, I have become those parents of my friend. Listening to music of 25-plus years ago, with a nostalgic glint in my eye and a beer in my hand. The ridicule I will incur at the hands of my children will come swiftly and soon.

The cliche is that it beats the alternative, which is undeniable. I'd rather be aging than dead. My time on the planet is not nearly over, as I've planned it out in my cosmic datebook. The thing I need to remember, though, is that in the eyes of the Almighty, my cosmic datebook don't mean squat. And He's not about to tell me the real plan. So it's up to me to live my life, live each moment, even if while doing so my limbs sound like a bowl of Rice Crispies, just after you've poured the milk......


  1. OK...I couldn't resist. I finally noticed that I was old when as you say the leader of the free world was my same age or shall I say it? i'm older!!! OMG!! My birthday is January 25, 1961 and his is 7 months later, August 4, 1961.

    Yeah!! I did fret when I went to the Doctor's office for my 40th birthday visit some 10 years ago, I can't believe that it's been 10 years! I go every year in my birthday month. and I got that phone call that I really needed to watch my cholesterol levels. I have learned to apply heat to my joints and to take my regular dose of ibuprofen for all of the inflammation.

    The surest sign that I was getting old came a few months ago when my 4 year old daughter, Rebecca, grunted as she sat down. As you very well know they mimic every single utterance of ours. Then I thought to myself...OMG!!! She's mimicking me and not attempting to be offense but she has obviously heard me grunt so many times that she thinks it's what you're supposed to do when you sit down!!!

    Then there was brief stint of living in Austin, TX. I was "only" 46 the first time I noticed it and actually my wife and I were sitting at the Waterloo Restaurant on Lamar and 6th St. waiting for my interview with the AISD leadership. We drove into Austin because I knew we were going to make some big decisions on that day. We'd ordered our food with iced tea and we were deep in conversation when all of a sudden I stopped.

    "Kris, look around!" she did and I asked, "What do you notice?" She responds, "People are enjoying their food." "Yes," I replied. "What else do you see?" She whispers, "Lots of young people." "yep!!! we're the oldest ones in here having lunch."

    We were the oldest ones in there. There were many times while working in Austin that the vast majority of the people were much younger than I was. Austin compared to Houston, which is my Hometown, is a lot younger.

    OK...I'll stop. Thanks for the space to dialogue.

  2. Yeah, James, you know I guess because Austin is a "University Town" there's this unending stream of 20-somethings. I noticed it more in Boston when I lived there. Here there seem to be enough aging hippies to offset the frat boys....

    Hilarious about Rebecca's grunt...albeit in a scary way.