Sunday, July 17, 2016

How Old Are You?

Some recent events have brought the topic of age into sharper focus for me.  

There’s a school of thought that holds that “You’re as old as you feel.”

Well, yes and no. You may feel youthful, but the facts are the facts. At “a certain age,” many of the people you knew are no longer in touch, or are no longer; gravity has played hell with your jowls; and you’re less inclined to laugh at the comedian who says, “Who wants fat hair?” as your own gets thinner. You’re as old as you are.

But there are pluses to that. One friend decided that when he hit 65 he was going to tell everyone exactly what he thought about everything -- no niceties, no tactful evasions. He said it took so much pressure off...

You can dress more comfortably. You can take that all the way back to being a kid if you want. A lot of men around here wear shorts. They look like hell, but they must be comfortable. I don’t do that. It took 12 years to get  my first pair of “longies” and I’m not going back.

You can play golf if you like the game. You can do that when you’re young, too, but now you can do it all day. I don’t do that, either. It has always seemed a silly game and doesn’t have the justification of being exercise. I understand from my wife that in some places and times in the Midwest it was known as “cow pasture pool.”

Travel seems to be the other big leisure activity. Again, it’s a matter of preference. What with big-screen, high-def television and cameras that can show you the glint in a tiger’s eye from 300 yards, I feel I’ve already visited the wonders of the world. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal (in the same evening); I’ve sat in on debate in England’s Parliament; dived on the wreck of the Titanic; seen all the National Parks; peeped into the lives of all kinds of animals; seen the view from the top of Everest. That would satisfy a lot of people’s bucket lists.

I’m just not adventurous. I’d rather sleep in my own bed at night, and exotic food puts me off. As a generality, things that crawl aren’t on my menu, not even dipped in a good sweet-sour sauce. Pretty dull by some standards. I never could handle a bullwhip, though, and on me a fedora would just look 1940s.